Figuring out your wedding budget is not an easy feat. More than likely your wedding will be the biggest party you’ve ever hosted and the most expensive. For most couples, a wedding is the first time you’ll ever think about planning a huge event, let alone creating a wedding budget.
When budgeting for a wedding, it helps to first understand the total dollar amount you want to spend or can afford to spend. Have an in depth conversation with your partner about what aspects of your wedding are vital to you both. Are you a couple that cares about the experience of your guests (think top shelf open bar and a phenomenal menu) or are you the couple that cares about the aesthetics (think jaw dropping flowers and decor), or are you a couple that cares about both and wants an all around grand affair immersed in beautiful details. Identifying your priorities reduces the stress and anxiety of creating the wedding budget because you now have better insight on the breakdown and how much you should allocate to each item.
While your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, key word “one” there will be many more amazing memories in the future, so it’s not worth going into debt. It is important to remember that you can still have an unforgettable wedding filled with wow moments on a budget. Even clients who have a six figure or more wedding budget will still have to make decisions to control their budget and expenditures. No matter your budget, here are some ideas where you can spend less in a meaningful way:
Decrease your guest count.
The amount of guests at your wedding directly affects your food and beverage portion of your budget. Food and beverage almost always accounts for the largest part of any wedding budget. On average, food and beverage accounts for about 40% of your overall budget. When you consider your overall cost per guest, each guest costs more than his or her meal when you consider invitations, favors, transportation, flowers, etc. For example, more guests means more tables, and the more tables you have the more centerpieces you need. Centerpieces can range anywhere from $100 – $400 per table. Multiply these numbers x 20, 30, or 40 and you will quickly see just how much the number of people and tables quickly add up. The same goes for specialty linens, chargers, plates, and flatware. Simply put, the more people you have, the more money you will spend. The easiest way to save is by reducing your guest count.
Think off Season
Another way to save is having an “off season” wedding. Wedding season starts in late spring and continues through early fall, with peak wedding months in June and September. However, you can still have a beautiful fall or winter wedding. The holidays are a lovely time for a wedding. Choosing a Friday or Sunday can also save your budget some, especially if the next day is a national holiday.
Choose Your Venue Wisely.
Your venue dictates so much of your wedding aesthetic and your budget. When selecting your venue it is important to consider what items are included with the rental cost. There are a number of venues who provide tables and luxury or specialty chairs with the rental. If you are renting a venue alone, keep in mind that you will have to pay an outside vendor and caterer to bring in outside rentals and equipment, which can significantly affect your budget.
Likewise, if you know you want a unique wedding design choose a venue that is flexible and allows you to select third-party vendors that you prefer. Avoid getting locked into a contract with a venue that limits you to certain options and vendors. This not only limits your design and creativity, it can cause you to incur additional fees to bring in outside vendors to execute your vision. Wedding venues should be accommodating and helpful.
Have the ceremony and reception in one location.
The cost of transportation can quickly get pricey. By having everything at one location you immediately eliminate having to provide transportation for your guests and bridal party.
Consolidate Order and Vendors.
When building your dream vendor team, consider vendors who provide other items you need. For instance, if you need lighting, it is wise to select a company who provides lighting, decor, dance floors, and other custom items. When selecting a florist, select a florist who includes candles, centerpieces, and vases so you avoid having to rent those from another vendor. Likewise, if your DJ has lightning options for the dance floor, consider using them as well. You always want to avoid paying additional delivery and setup charges if you can.
Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it should also be fun.Think of the wedding planning process as an important way to develop skills in discussing and negotiating the important money decisions that are sure to be part of your future together.
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