Creating your wedding budget is truly a daunting task. Since you have never planned a wedding before, how are you supposed to know how much everything costs and what the average couple spends? As tempting as it can be to dive into the planning process without setting an accurate wedding budget, I strongly urge you against it. After all, it is going to be MUCH more difficult to keep your costs down if you skip this step. In order to make your life easier, we can created a list on 10 expert tips on how to create your wedding budget, and how to stick to it throughout the planning process. Keep on reading to learn how to save yourself some money!
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before you and your fiancé sit down and pick a random number out of a hat, you need to have an idea of what a wedding actually costs. How much are those flowers you are picture going to cost? How much are your going to need to invest in a killer photographer? Having the answers to questions like this is going to help you set a realistic budget from the beginning, and in turn, will allow you to actually stick to your budget throughout the process.
Now, I know what you are wondering, where do I go to figure out how much everything costs? Am I right?! I suggest heading on over to www.costofwedding.com. Here you will be able to enter your zip code, and it will give you the average cost of everything wedding related in your area. Sounds helpful doesn't it?!
2. CREATE AN ALL-INCLUSIVE BUDGET
After you do your research, set your budget! Take that number you found on Cost Of Wedding, and adjust it for your expectations. For example, if you are you planning on having an interactive wedding with lots of details you will need to increase your wedding budget.
3. ACCOUNT FOR WIGGLE ROOM
After you finally decide on your budget, decrease that number by about 10%. I can guarantee you that there will be a few items here and there that you did not budget for, and chances are, one of the vendors you fall in love with is going to be out of budget. Added this wiggle room in your budget will allow you to splurge on a few things here and there, and will prevent you from going too far over budget.
4. CREATE A BREAKDOWN
Once you set that budget, you need to create a breakdown of what you plan on spending on EACH wedding vendor. Feel free to use Cost Of Wedding here as well, as it will give you an idea of what each vendor costs. Once you have this information, you will be able to start allocating money into each vendor category. The more detailed this breakdown is, the better!
5. SET PRIORITIES
Sit down with you fiancé and pick 2-3 vendors that you cannot live without. Figure out what is MOST important to you, and increase your budget in these categories. On the flip side, also make a list of 2-3 vendors that aren't as important to you. (I know they are ALL important, but what to you care the LEAST about). Go back to your wedding budget, and decrease the amount you have allocated in these categories.
6. ONLY BOOK WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
As tempting as it will be, ONLY book vendors that are within your budget. You are going to find lots of vendors that are out of your price point, and I don't want this to get you down. Keep on researching and I promise you will find someone who fits your budget, and who will be the right fit for you and your wedding.
7. ONLY SPLURGE ON TOP PRIORITIES
If you DO fall in love with a vendor who is out of your price point, only splurge on them if they are one of your top priorities. If it is a top priority, then it is important to you, and is worth the splurge. Also, do you remember that extra 'splurge' fund that we accounted for? Even by book ONE vendor out of your price range, you are still likely to stay on budget!
8. BE UPFRONT ABOUT YOUR BUDGET
When you begin reaching out to vendors, tell them your budget! Let them know what type of service you are looking for and how much you can afford to spend. This will allow potential vendors to customize a package that is going to be the perfect fit for you and your fiancé. Believe it or not, by approaching vendors like this, you are going to be more apt to maintain your wedding planning budget.
9. DON'T BUY LOTS OF WEDDING ITEMS
I can't tell you how many couples go out and purchase TONS of wedding related items just for the sake of buying them. For example, adorable Mr. and Mrs. signs, a cute banner, or a fun wooden sign. These items are going to add up quicker than you expect. Before you purchase anything, be sure it has a specific purchase and you know EXACTLY where it is going to be placed at your wedding.
10. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
Creating and sticking to a budget can be a very difficult task. By bringing in a professional, you will have guidance on EXACTLY how to allocate your money and your wedding planner with have many ideas on how to stick to your budget. Not only that, but a wedding planner should have connections to vendors in each price point, and should be able to get you in touch with vendors that will fit your budget.