Budget is one of the toughest parts when it comes to wedding planning. Unlike planning from years gone by, there typically isn’t any one person responsible for financing today’s event. Parents and family often contribute, but I am seeing more couples footing the bill for the Big Day.
It’s a hard conversation to have up front but one that we must face before moving on to any other planning. Often I find that couples are reluctant to commit to a budget because they are not sure what is realistic and what things actually cost, especially when planning in a different region than they live, which is the case for most of my clients
We start by setting a tentative budget at the beginning of planning. We use that to narrow down the list of venues since that will be the biggest expense. One service that we offer our clients is creating comparison budgets for their top 3 choices of venues once we’ve figured out which ones hold the most interest. This is important because it allows you to see everything on paper. These are some questions that can be a factor from venue to venue and can affect your overall budget:
-What’s included for the venue in terms of decor (chairs, linens, tables)? Will you need to rent additional items? How much decor do you need to fill the space?
-Will you need to provide transportation for bridal party/guests?
-What are the food and beverage minimums and any other associated rental costs?
-What gratuity, tax and additional fees are required?
-Are there any other hidden fees you may not be aware (permits, security detail, etc)?
Once we see these amounts on paper the choice sometimes becomes more evident. It isn’t always the most inexpensive option, but the one where clients feel like they will be getting the most value in terms of their overall expectations.
The next question I ask is, “What’s most important to you? What is the overall feel and expectations of your wedding day?” Is it amazing food? Music? Beautiful flowers and the aesthetic? When creating our more firm budget based on the venue, I know to allocate more money in these areas. This is definitely where I recommend you splurge.
Make a list of the things that really matter to you and the things that you know you’ll need but that you care about less. This varies for everyone and is completely personal, but it gives a good indication of where you should spend your money. Beyond my clients “must have list”, we also spend time talking about guest experience and being sure that we budget all of the little touches that will make their events not only unique but surprising and fun for those that attend.
One way that I believe budgets get out of control is by all of the little purchases along the way that you don’t take into account in the beginning...the impulse buys along the way!! These are a lot harder to say no to when they are so easily accessible on Etsy LOL. I understand the struggle! But I always like to focus on the things that really make a difference first and then have a set budget for those other miscellaneous details...trust me they add up fast and as much as we love them, they usually have little impact on the overall experience.
My best overall advice, regardless of which category we’re talking about is to remember what this day is about and why it’s important to you! Don’t put yourself in a budget situation where you feel stressed or where there is tension between you and family members, or more importantly you and your future spouse.
Photo Credit in Order:
Starling and Sage
Bray Danielle Photography
Ariel Renae Photography