You've just said yes to your forever, and let's be honest, your wedding Pinterest board was well finalized long before your significant other even began thinking about rings: now comes the fun part, you finally get to turn your Pinterest board into reality, woohoo! But, how much will that actually cost, and how do you stop from going over a set budget?
Many couples begin the wedding planning process, not even certain exactly where to start, full of questions: the wedding industry is overwhelming with options and choices for vendors, decor, and more. As a couple beginning their planning process, the incoming $ numbers can be extremely overwhelming, and sometimes difficult to understand where, and why.
So today, we are giving you our top four tips we think you definitely should consider when beginning your planning process and setting your wedding budget.
1. Find out who is contributing to the wedding.
How much you spend depends on who will be contributing to the wedding:
You and your fiance: income + savings, subtracting your payments, emergency funds, etc. Set aside 10% of your income towards your wedding - it might even help to set-up a separate account to transfer to.
Parents: never expect parents to contribute, but it doesn't hurt to ask
From this point, figure out how much realistically you want to spend on your wedding. This online calculator is one of our favorites: it is exceptionally thorough in asking questions about your upcoming day, and pretty realistic when it comes to estimating the amount you'll spend on your wedding, which gives you a great starting point for your budget (or if you need to adjust, and where to do it).
2. Prioritize what is most important.
Once you have an initial idea of what your "dream" wedding may look like in terms of $, you'll want to set your priorities: what is most important to you for your wedding day? Is it the photos, the food, or the florals? When you're working with a budget, no matter big or small, you'll never have regrets if you focus on what's truly important to you.
3. Breakdown your budget per category and vendor.
Create your very own vendor tracking spreadsheet: you're able to use an online tracker from many different well-known blogs, such as: The Knot, WeddingWire, and Brideside. For a complete list, you can check out this blog here.
Florist / Floral Designer
Catering: Food + Beverage
Bakery: Cake + Desserts
Hair + Makeup
Invitations + Stationery: Includes RSVP postage
DJ and/or Live Band
Hotel Room Night-of Wedding
Prepare for "surprise" vendors and needs: what else do you really need, and what else might pop up for your wedding that you'll need to spend additional money on?
Decor + Rentals
The most important thing to remember is to track your spending, so that you can stay on budget per category. We have a fabulous vendor budget tracking spreadsheet available for all of our clients: interested? Contact us and we'll be happy to help with planning!
4. Find mini ways to save!
Last but not least, there are always ways to find little ways to save. Below, are some of our favorites:
Prolong your Engagement! Truly, this is most likely your best bet! My husband and I actually had a two year engagement, and we have never once regretted it. We were able to plan our "dream" wedding without stress, and book any/every vendor we wanted at their 2-year out pricing (which is significantly lower!). Also, negotiating is a lot more difficult when vendors know you're on a time crunch.
Go off-peak: Not into waiting? That's OK. October - April. This is your prime time - most venues / all vendors have off-season pricing for bookings, so you'll be able to save $. Not quite sure about this idea or what colors to use? Check out our NYE Elopement shoot for something you might be interested in!
Stationery + Calligraphy: while absolutely stunning and truly a work of art, calligraphy and custom invites are not cheap. Consider purchasing your own supplies and either purchasing a calligraphy font online and printing on your envelopes, or practice makes perfect! For invites and save the dates, consider websites like Vistaprint or Ann's Bridal Bargain, where you're able to order 1/per less than $1.
Skip the Rentals / Upgrades: most venues provide a standard linen (white), tables/chairs, etc., and if it doesn't go with your theme/you're not feeling the quality, etc., couples may tend to reach out to rentals to upgrade the overall ambiance. Skip this step, and you'll be saving upwards of at least $1,000.
Have questions? Still need a little more help! Reach out: we're more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Mary + Liz