Ok, I get it. No one likes giving a “budget” because just the “feel” of the word implies “restriction”. And when you see how much things cost when planning a wedding, one’s dreams can quickly deflate and one can feel especially restricted. Especially if you do not have a professional wedding planner who can help you at the onset with maximizing your budget and helping you “marry” (sorry, couldn’t resist) your dreams with a realistic “spending plan”. And that’s the phrase I prefer: “spending plan“. Everyone has one. Even the multi-million dollar weddings have a plan for their money. And with a professional wedding consultant on your side, they know the tricks to make sure your spending plan is extended as far as possible.
If you have not hired a professional wedding consultant, and find yourself over-committed in your spending plan, one of the secrets to helping get yourself out of trouble financially is to cut your guest list (assuming you haven’t already sent out invitations or save the date cards).
Here are my top tips to starting off on the right foot with your wedding spending plan:
1. Before anything else: Hire a professional wedding planner to help you determine how your overall budget breaks down in each category and how to shift designated funds to certain categories based on your goals and wedding vision dream. This helps ensure you don’t get off track from the start.
2. Base everything on the total amount you can afford. Do not sign a single contract with any venue or event partner (vendor) until you know your budget – and how it breaks down for each spending category. There is nothing more damaging to a wedding than when a couple sees a venue that they fall in love with, book it at the $10k rental fee, only to really realize that their total wedding budget is $25,000, and almost half their entire budget for their 300 guests was spent on a rental fee that included nothing but the site fee.
3. Know what has value to you so you can make financial choices. Example: a venue who includes printed cocktail napkins and matchbook favors may have no appeal to you because these particular items have no value to you; similarly, a venue who charges a bit more but includes tables, chairs, linen, china, flatware and glassware all in a pattern/design you love may be worth it to you for the nominal extra fee. A videographer who includes your wedding film ready to view during your reception and on display for you and guests may not be worth the extra $2K they are charging if it doesn’t matter to you to see your wedding the night of, or months downstream.
4. Buffer in 30% over your initial budget/spending plan estimate. Whether it’s a last minute inclement weather plan that forces you to rent tenting or other unexpected items, they do tend to happen and they do creep up.
By giving just a little thought to your spending plan in advance, you can stay in control of your wedding and not necessarily have to continue paying for it long after it is over. With a professional wedding planner working with you, you can be assured that you can achieve your dream wedding (or close to it) on almost any spending plan, as long as you are clear what is important to you, what you can sacrifice and what “must” stay. If we can help, give us a shout out!