Wedding Series

Wedding Series: Creating a Budget

Happy Sunday!! I don’t have a small business Sunday post for today, so I decided to post about the wedding planning process as I said I would before. If you didn’t see the first post in the series definitely check that out here. The topic for today, as you’ve already seen, is “The Budget”. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing appealing about making a budget to some people. But for me a budget keeps me from looking at my bank account like


There is a budget line item for pretty much everything wedding related and WeddingWire really keeps me organized. Food for the reception has a budget line item,  my dress, his tux, our rings, flowers, and so many other things have a budget line item. But the problem I found with making this budget is figuring out what is a reasonable number for me to target. On average people in the US spend about $26,000 on their wedding not including honeymoon. Initially we priced everything we wanted in our wedding and the total came to just over $27,000, but we got good deals on some of our services and venues so we will definitely be spending less than that. How much less than that is still up in the air. These are literally the top 3 things I’ve had to keep in mind to keep me focused on the goal:

  1. Set Your Priorities – There are just some things that aren’t necessary. A $4,500 dress or a $15,000 venue isn’t necessary, nor is it a smart investment. I’m only wearing this dress once and the venue well…it all depends on what you prioritize. We put food over everything else. We like to eat. We wanted incredible food and a decent scenery for pictures. The rehearsal dinner food had to be next and then my dress. I’m not one of those girls who has been dreaming of this big wedding my whole life. I have, however, been dreaming of being debt free and trying to go all out for this wedding isn’t conducive to my goal (see Student Loan Chronicles).
  2. Ask for exactly what YOU want and negotiate around your price target – There are some things you can negotiate with your venue or service providers to get exactly what you want. Our venue is going to let us customize our own menu. We have been in constant communications via email and had multiple taste testings. Being able to have non-traditional appetizers and food that is seasoned and cooked just the way we specify has been wonderful for us. We really are getting a gourmet meal with this food at a more than decent price.
  3. Try to keep your partner engaged – I’m super fortunate to have a fiancé who actually wanted to be involved. He helped pick colors, the videographer, the venue for the ceremony and he booked the photographer himself. I’m proud of him for his efforts…especially getting his family’s names and address in our online guest list. But having him locked in to the budget has kept me accountable. For example, I went about $125 over for my dress because of taxes and I literally had a gut wrenching feeling before I told him. He simply said “…my tux was under budget so I think it balances out..” If I didn’t love him already, I loved him even more for being mindful of the big picture when I got lost in the details. Because not only did that price include the dress, but ALL the accessories for the day too.

I know others of you have planned a wedding or in the process of planning weddings so I definitely hope this is useful for some bride-to-be. And in all honesty these tips can be applied to making ANY type of budget. Like if you’re buying a house, figure out what you prioritize; distance from work, live within city limits or even the homeowners association fee. Then negotiate with builders/real estate agents about fixing the house to your specifications and set a price on how much you’re willing to spend. And then it always helps to have an accountability partner in every big decision. Find someone you trust to help you bounce ideas and keep you within your own means.

Until next post folks…

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