The Wedding Budget

Budgets are a funny thing. They are practical and boring, yet so important to the wedding planning process. On the other hand, they can be intimidating and uncomfortable, especially if you come from a family that does not discuss financial matters. The truth is that, no matter the size, weddings are expensive and costs add up quickly – after all, when was the last time you took 60 people out to a nice dinner and footed the bill? Setting up a budget at the beginning of the planning process will help you spend and allocate your wedding dollars wisely. Here are some tips to help you stay in your budget and still have a wedding you’ll love:

Communicate Honestly and Accurately
Knowing your real budget is crucial to your wedding vendors. A good florist, a good planner, a good designer will all be able to work within your monetary parameters, so be sure to give them an accurate number when you meet with them. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised at the number of couples who inflate their budget or dance around the subject because they are embarrassed to talk about.

Whenever a client tells me they don’t have a budget, I reply “Really? Because we can spend your money.” I’ve found in my career as a wedding and event planner that everyone has a budget, even the richest people in the world. After all, wealthy people didn’t amass their wealth by thoughtlessly frittering it away. Everyone has an amount they are comfortable spending, or a “magic number” as my friend Saundra calls it. Whatever your budget, there is no need to be embarrassed by it. It is what it is and a professional vendor will not judge or think any less of you because of your financial situation.

Cut 10% of your budget
Take 10% of your budget and erase it. If your budget is $30,000, you now have $27,000 to work with. If it’s $50k, it’s really $45k. Forget that extra 10% even exists and do not let its memory affect any of your purchase decisions. This allows you to have a little cushion should unexpected expenses come up as they so often do with weddings (and to clarify: a second pair of wedding shoes is not an unexpected expense; your cousin bringing an uninvited date is). If you don’t go over, then you that extra money to spend on your honeymoon, put towards your mortgage, sock away for an anniversary trip, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Think of it like taxes – you may get it back, you may not.

Cut the Guilt
Aside from cutting the guest list, the number one way to cut your wedding budget is to rid yourself of the guilt trip that your wedding may not be up to par. Your wedding does not have to look like the weddings you see in style blogs or magazines. You do not have to incorporate every new idea and trend or even create a wedding that is 100% different than everyone else’s. Should your wedding be unique and personalized? Absolutely. But know your limits and don’t make the desire to be different your wedding idol.

There are 2.2 million weddings in the United States alone every year so chances are very high that some of your ideas are probably going to be done at another wedding or that they’ve been done before. So if you really want to use the Fotofalls trees as escort card holders or serve gelato cones with dessert, even though you’ve seen it at another wedding, then do it. Your wedding is a celebration of finding the person you want to spend your life with, not a celebration of how well you can keep up with the Joneses.