Are we talking about money?! (nervous laughter…someone drops a teacup for dramatic effect) Why, yes we are.
The “Wedding Budget” is one of the most important, and yet one of the most neglected conversations happening with Brides and their families! Whether it is with your parents, your fiance, or yourself, the conversation needs to be had so you know where to begin! Would you plan a trip across the world without knowing how much $$ you have set aside for it? NO WAY! You would find yourself overspending, possibly getting into major financial trouble after just booking the flights! The conversation may be uncomfortable (especially when it’s someone else’s $$ you are asking about!!) but push through the wall of awkwardness, ok? It will SAVE YOU in the long run!
Money is often an emotional issue, but I encourage brides and their families that during wedding planning, just make it as black and white as possible. It will make deciding whether or not you can afford the tent 3 months before your wedding a guilt-free conversation! Either it’s in the budget, or its not. You don’t spend money you don’t have, right?
So I’ve put together my top tips for creating a wedding budget and sticking to it!
#1 Have the conversation.
Tips for starting up the $$ convo:
If your parents are giving you most of the money for your wedding, maybe have the discussion while doing something nice for them. NO. This is not to manipulate them into giving you MORE. It’s to show some gratitude.
“Hey Mom! I’m bringing over wine tonight; let’s nail down our wedding budget!”
or “Mom and Dad, let’s find time to talk about our wedding budget and priorities this week! Dinner is on me!”
If the conversation is with your fiance, then plan a fun date night to talk it through!
** My first budget conversation with Joe was unfortunately after we were already married, and let’s just say, it involved taco bell and lots of tears…
If you and you alone are paying for the wedding, then grab some coffee, a calculator and an excel spreadsheet and settle in for some back and forth with yourself and a few pro’s and con’s lists.
#2 DON’T COMPARE.
There is more than one way to get married. The thing is, everyone’s priorities vary! The bride who is on a $10,000 budget might make her priorities different than the Bride on a $40,000 budget! Make your priorities to scale-don’t try to have a $40,000 wedding on a $10,000 budget, or a $100,000 wedding on a $40,000 budget. Do what you realistically can well. It’s not about keeping up with anyone else.
What are some examples of priorities, you ask?
All my brides this year are SO different, ya’ll! So I can give you great examples.
Violet is getting married in the Spring. She is on a budget that allows her to do 1 big thing really well. What has she chosen? AMAZING FOOD! Think 4 course, highest quality, memorable morsels. What is she saving $$ on? Venue, flowers and decor!
Sarah is getting married in May. Her number one priority is spending time with friends and family and staying on budget! She is investing most of her $$ into food and decor, but is still saving by doing an afternoon ceremony and reception with appetizers, getting her venue for free (family church) and having lots of help from family and friends to pull off her dream!
Alise is getting married in late Summer. She knew from the start her #1 priority was having her event in a hotel so guests wouldn’t even have to leave the building at the end of the night! Guest experience is what she wants to invest in most! Great food, great drinks, and partying literally all night long. Where is she saving? She is doing elegant, but minimalist decor and flowers.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your budget is. Just know it, and prioritize according to it, and you can pull the big sha-bang off!
#3 Guest count and wedding cost are directly correlated!
Want to know the easiest way to stay on budget? Keep your guest list small! I had a bride tell me last year that she wanted to plan a reception for $6,000. When I asked her how many people she wanted to invite she said 250! Food alone was going to be more than $6,000…So she had to either adjust her budget or her guest count. The moral of this story might be to make your guest count and budget match, just as much as educating yourself about how much things actually cost.
Which brings me to….
#4 Know how much things cost
I see it every time. Brides and their families are shocked at how much a wedding costs. I still feel shocked sometimes!! I mean a lot of people cannot afford to drop more than $20,000 on a wedding, but you can’t feed 150 people dinner at your dream venue with lush centerpieces, and the designer chairs, and open bar and all the things you might think you can for that amount.
So do your research! It’s ok to figure out how much a vendor costs, but please do them the courtesy of getting back to them if their cost is not the right fit for you. Another idea is talking to friends of yours who have gotten married to see what they spent in each category! Most friends are totally willing to share!
I work in this conversation at the very beginning of our planning process! I give you average costs based on # of guests, and help you find the vendor that is the best fit for you based on your budget and priorities. Making a realistic budget that reflects your priorities is the most vital part of the whole process, because it sets you up for success, and we all want success! Cheers! (clink)
Want to do a budgeting workshop with me? Drop me a hello to find out how!