You’re engaged! It’s all so exciting – you’ve said yes, set the date, picked the color scheme and maybe even the venue, but now comes the dreaded talk of money and budgets. Whether you’re on a tight budget or have unlimited funds for your big day, budgets are necessary to keep realistic expectations of what things cost and what your priorities are. There are a lot of things to account for, and it's important to make sure that you've planned for everything. Here are a few tips that will help make budgeting for your wedding day a little bit easier.
1. Write it out.
In order to get a good idea of what you have to spend, you're going to have to crunch some numbers. Sit down for an hour and make a list of everything you have to pay for (be detailed!) and how much money you have to spend on the whole thing. This way, you'll know EXACTLY what you've budgeted for and there won't be any surprises.
2. Set priorities.
Decide what's important to you. What are your "must-haves"? Is it great food, incredible pictures, or do you have to have the best DJ in town? Whatever it is, put it at the top of the list. List those things that are most important to you, and then put everything else below them.
3. Distribute funds.
Now that you know what you have to pay for, how much you have to spend, and what's most important to you, it's time to put those numbers to use. Are you budgeting the most money for the things you listed as most important? If not, you should be, so adjust your budget accordingly. Make sure you've done your research and are being realistic about what things cost, so that there are no surprises later.
4. Emphasize guest experience.
You want your guests to have an amazing time. These are the people that came out to celebrate with you (and who probably paid for a gift!), so you want to make sure they're staying entertained. What are they going to remember the most when they leave? Make sure that there are some things on your priority list that are going to give your guests the best possible experience, and make them wish the night wouldn't end!
So now you’ve made your list of “must-haves” and figured out what you have to spend, but did you actually think of everything? Weddings have TONS of aspects to plan, so it’s easy to forget some things until they come up. Make sure you’re checking your budget to know that you’ve included these easily forgotten items.
Sure, you’ll pick out the perfect invitations, the matching RSVP cards, and the colorful envelopes that match oh-so-perfectly. Maybe you even hired a calligrapher. It’s easy to forget the not-so-pretty stamps though, even though they’ll be pretty important when it comes time to mail those out!
You may just know this as “tips.” You wouldn’t go to an upscale restaurant and not tip your server, right? So don’t come to your own upscale party and not tip the people who have gone above and beyond to make your day absolutely perfect. Most people think to tip their vendors that did an amazing job, but did you actually remember to budget for it?
Tastings and Trial Runs
Yes, you’ve budgeted for the catering, the cake, and your hair and makeup, but practice makes perfect! You’ll want to taste your menu items and desserts before making final selections, and you’ll definitely want a run through of your wedding day look. Sure, some vendors add these trials into their costs, but some don’t, and you need to make sure you’ve budgeted enough money to be able to do them.
Small Reception Decor and Stationery
When you’re envisioning floral chandeliers, draped walls, and the perfect centerpieces, you may have overlooked the small things like candles or table runners or whatever those decor pieces are that accent the big statement pieces you’re dreaming of. It’s also easy to forget things like place cards, escort cards, and menus, but these smaller stationery pieces will really tie your vision together.
Transportation TO the Venue
I’m sure you’ve already run through all of the ideas of what you can ride off into the night in, but have you thought of how you’re actually getting TO the venue? Or how your family and bridal party are getting there? To make sure everyone finds the venue and arrives on time, you’ll probably want to schedule transportation for everyone, especially if you aren’t getting ready at the venue, and this will cost a pretty penny.
Thank You Notes
When it’s all said and done, your guests (and especially your bridal party) probably spent a little bit of money attending your wedding, and some of them may have spent quite a bit (like Aunt Sally who bought you that $500 cookware set). You want to thank them appropriately and everyone knows a thank you note in the mail is the way to do it. Thank you notes typically aren’t very expensive, but they do cost something, so they should be in your budget.
And there you have it! Following these simple tips will have you the fast track to a wedding budget that's reliable and realistic, and best of all, DONE. As long as you stick to it, you should have no problem. Want more help with wedding budgets? Give us a call! We'd love to help!