One of the most unpleasant parts of wedding planning is setting your budget and tracking your spending. According to this 2016 BRIDES study, more couples are contributing their own dollars to have the wedding they want. And we all know that money can be a source of tension in a relationship. To help avoid conflict and overspending, here are some things to think about when setting your wedding budget.
Decide on what is important to you. Sit down together and individually write down one thing that is non-negotiable to you. Whether it is a certain venue you have your heart set on, a certain food item, or a videographer to capture your day, it doesn’t matter. If it is important to you, your fiancé should respect that. Find common ground. Take strips of paper and on each one, write down something you want. Then when you both have five or more things, compare. You may find that you have more items in common than you thought. Prioritize your wants. Now that you have your must-haves and your wants, put them in order of importance. With your non-negotiable items at the top, list your common ground items, then your individual wants with the least important things last. These are the items that you are willing to live without, if your budget doesn’t allow for it.
Trim your guest list. You don’t have to invite everyone you have ever met or offer every singleton a plus one (see my blog about plus one’s here.) But, a smaller guest list means you can do more for each guest with the same amount of money.
Don’t be fooled by Pinterest. I love Pinterest, don’t get me wrong, but you can easily start to fall in love with a flower arrangement or other decor item that probably costs way more than you think. Most companies and magazines only show their most elaborate, and most expensive, weddings. Don’t forget the small stuff. Signs, candles, jewelry and other decor items can really add up. Also, don’t overlook tips for your vendors (where appropriate) and possible taxes and delivery fees. Take your final number and add 20% to mitigate unplanned expenditures. Find an organizational method that works for both of you. I do almost everything in spreadsheets, but if Excel is not your friend, pen and paper works just as well. Keep track of your deposits and payment schedules. Get a binder or folder to store all your contracts and receipts. Record everything you spend, even if it is just a few dollars. Be realistic. This 2016 study cites that the average cost of a wedding is a little over $32,000. Remember, this is an average which includes people who spend very little on an elopement, as well as couples who spend $100,000 or more. The purpose of developing a budget is to find the amount that is right for you.
Setting a budget should be the first step in your wedding planning process. Even though it can be stressful, imagine how much more freaked out you will be if you find yourself overspending and your bank account dwindling. Be honest with yourselves about what you really want and what you don’t need, and take the time to formulate a plan so that you can enjoy your engagement stress-free.