There was a time when the bride’s parents would pay for the wedding, including budgeting and planning. However, times have changed a lot, and you, the couple wanting to get married, will have to do the budgeting yourself. For some, this would be the first financial decision they have to plan and execute together.
A wedding budget does not always have to be expensive. You can always make it reasonable depending on the resources you have. Sometimes a grand wedding is not what you need but one you will be happy about and remember too.
This guide focuses more on building a budget that can actually make the wedding fun and memorable. However, let us first look at a reasonable budget for most people.
What Is a Reasonable Budget for a Wedding?
According to various reports, a typical wedding in 2020 would cost an average of $28,964. With this budget in mind, what is important is having a proper plan in place. Sometimes you might get that it is still possible to get the cost lower or higher based on several factors.
The wedding cost is influenced mainly by:
- Where you live. If you live in a big city, expect the cost to be higher. Also, sometimes you have to get some supplies from far, increasing the cost.
- Choosing between a local or destination wedding. Of course, a destination wedding would be more expensive.
- The number of guests you invite will affect the budget you set for the wedding. As much as the more, the merrier, you will still have to spend on them.
- If you have any wedding traditions to uphold, they might also determine the budget.
Lately, there has been a trend of people now doing micro-wedding. Such weddings would have less than 50 guests. This would mean that they spend less money on the wedding. Some have even had only ten people, and the wedding had a budget of $2,000.
As you can see, whichever budget you might have, it is possible to find the right sweet spot for coming up with the right plan and still make the wedding fun.
How to Build a Wedding Budget
Below is a quick step-by-step process you can take for building a working wedding budget.
Count your cash
A cash tally should help with your current financial situation and make it deliver a good wedding.
One of the sources would be individual savings. Of course, you and your partner must have saved up some money you can use for the wedding. It is key that you contribute the largest amount of the wedding budget.
Other than what you have for savings, there is the option of getting some amount from the current income you have both. It can be 10 to 15% of your income to be set aside for a few months as part of the wedding kitty.
Another option would be getting contributions from loved ones and friends. Depending on how early you tell your friends and family, some would often consider adding some money to your kitty.
If you have rich parents, they might also pay for the whole wedding.
Know what to have on the budget list
One thing determining the budget would be what to include on the list. So, what would be the list of things to consider for a wedding? Here is a quick list:
- Wedding cake
- Marriage license
- Rehearsal dinner
- Wedding bands and more
Sometimes you might be able to save a lot more depending on if you have other options to consider. An example is when you get flower vases from your mother or have a wedding on your grandfather’s farm with some good views.
Also, you can get a friend who can do the hairstyles for you and your bridal party. So, it is always possible to find yourself saving from one thing to another.
Set the spending limit for each item
A budget will only work if you can cap your spending limit. That is why you have the budget in the first place.
A spreadsheet can do a good job of helping you track your spending. You can have columns such as estimated price, modified, and the actual price upon research.
The estimated column is for budgeting purposes initially. It is possible that you may experience changes due to a few factors. One of them is when you get feedback from vendors. Then you have to change the figures in the modified section and come up with the actual amount you expect to spend.
Sometimes the estimate done a few months ago can change along the way. That is why you always have to budget for them.
Once the vendors have given you all the estimates, you can know how to share the budget appropriately and make changes where necessary.
An example is when you can consider reducing the number of guests or flowers you want for decorations. A bit of sacrifice here and there can help manage the budget within the right limit.
You also need 15% of your total budget to be set aside to cushion several things that might come up along the way. You could have forgotten about invitation postage, plating fees, parking valets, and more.
This money should not be spent in advance. You only have to release it if the need arises.
Prepare for potential surprises
It is important to always read the contract when hiring a venue, vendor, or anything that requires signing a contract.
Some people have had to incur vendor transportation just because they wanted a photographer out of town. This meant paying for their plane ticket and hotel room. Just make sure this is not something included in the contract.
Talk about the setup and take-down fees. There are times when the reception might take a longer time than expected. So, will you be charged for the extra hours? Talk about the overtime rates so that you have the budget for them.
Custom cocktails can also quickly add up during a wedding. Ensure the alcohol price is also properly indicated to avoid surprise charges later.
Working with event planners is great, but they can also be too expensive for some people. Some full-service event planners can charge as much as $25,000 for everything. However, once you understand their changes, it is now easier to bargain and avoid any issues later on.
Find ways to save
Are you over the budget? It might just be time to save more on your wedding budget.
The first thing would be to change the venue. Getting raw spaces such as lofts and barns can seem like a steal, but you might spend more to make it a good venue for your wedding. So, you can sometimes opt for a venue with almost everything set up already.
If your wedding list is too long, consider editing it. This is because you have to cater to every person attending. An example is shaving the guest list by 15 people can save you over $1,300.
Consider the off-peak season for weddings. An example is having a winter wedding on Friday or Sunday would be cheaper.
You have seen that it is possible to end up with a budget within your means when you want to hold a wedding. It is always important to consider budgeting as a process where you can add and remove things depending on various scenarios. If you can get help from someone with experience, the better. As always, there is room for improvement where necessary.