Setting a budget for your wedding day is one of the biggest, and most important, decisions that you will make while planning your dream event. Your budget sets the tone for almost every decision you’ll make along the way, including what venue you choose, your vendor team, your overall style, and more! That’s why your budget should be the FIRST decision you make!
We get it – setting a budget can be a daunting and overwhelming task. That’s why we pulled together our best tips and tricks for setting a wedding budget to help you pin down exactly what you’ll need to make your dream day a reality!
What do you picture your wedding looking like? What does it feel like? Start by thinking about the type of wedding you want to have. Think about your dream location, the formality level, and the overall vibes of the day. Pinning this down will help you and your partner figure out the approximate cost of your perfect day and be honest with yourself about if that fits into your bottom line; and don’t let the word ‘pinning’ fool you. Although Pinterest is a very trusted and resourceful way to visualize your overall design and desired aesthetic, it is not necessarily obtainable. Sometimes we have couples who will request an illusion ceiling of hanging roses for the ceremony via a photo they’ve pinned, but then they have a total floral budget of $1,000. This is not realistic if you also want bridal bouquets, cascading garland, cascading staircase floral, etc. So basically, it’s as if you have caviar taste on a champagne budget; you get the gist! Be realistic, and understand that everything costs money and must be reflected in your budget to ensure you’re following what’s within your means.
Make a list of what is most important to you on your big day and allocate your budget accordingly. Making sure that your priorities are aligned with your wedding budget will help you plan a day that you (and your wallet!) will be happy with! Once you have these established, you can then seek out other ways to save money that aren’t as important or pressing to you. For example, favors are not a necessity; and honestly, they’re an item that often gets overlooked and left behind on wedding days. Unless you have an extreme sentimental reason for having a particular favor for each guest, consider not doing favors to save yourself money, save your guests from one less coaster or koozie, and save on the thrown-out favors that often get tossed due to so many being left behind.
We understand how uncomfortable talking about finances with others can feel, but trust us when we say that it is a MUST for determining your budget and planning a low-stress day. Jot down how much each party is willing and able to contribute, or which particular aspect of the wedding they’d like to take care of. Once you have an accurate idea of how much financial assistance you’ll receive, turn your focus to your own contribution. How much can you and your fiance realistically and comfortably afford to spend? How much can you both reasonably afford to save between now and the wedding? Once you have these numbers narrowed down, the uncomfortable discussion will be out of the way and you can focus on planning your dream day!
The truth is, the cost of any wedding is swayed tremendously by the guest count. Here’s what we mean – the number of guests in attendance will determine everything from how much food and drinks you’ll have to provide to how many invitations you’ll need to order and more. Think about it – the more guests you have, the more tables you have to decorate with floral, dinnerware, placecards, etc. Your guest count will sway how much you spend in one area vs. another, so it is important to either plan your budget accordingly or be strategic about who you add to your guest list. In our opinion, base your projected budget on how many you’re inviting, total! Not just how many you ‘think’ will come. If your guest count comes up short in the end, you can either utilize that money on a discretionary ‘want’ from a waitlisted item you may have cut in the beginning OR save it for that honeymoon or house fund! Also another way to mitigate larger guest counts which mean more money, is to have an “A list” and a “B list.” Your “A List” folks get invitations 1st, and then as they begin to “decline” their invitation you can send an invite out to someone from the “B list.” This way there are no hurt feelings, and if you plan ahead enough you can end up inviting a wider range of people within having necessarily a higher guest count. PRO TIP: be sure that the “B list” people are people who you are okay with not inviting at all, if it were to come to that (meaning everyone from the “A List” RSVP’s with a “yes.”)
Trust us when we say that your budget NEEDS to be the first decision you and your partner make. If you choose to tour a venue, meet with a photographer, or even test different cake flavors you’ll be wasting a lot of time and energy if you don’t have a budget set in place. We get that jumping into planning is exciting (we get giddy about it, too!), but take a breath, establish your budget, and THEN make all of the fun decisions!
The most important thing to remember when starting to discuss a budget with your partner is that you are a TEAM. This is a day to celebrate your love for each other! Decide on a wedding budget that works for BOTH of you, and stick with it. Remember that the most treasured moments of the day are exchanging your vows with your partner and dancing the night away with the ones you love the most. Setting a realistic budget for your wedding that fits within your financial needs will allow you to do just that – stress, guilt, and debt free!