One of the most important aspects to planning any successful wedding is establishing your budget. Money can become a major stressor in the planning process so it’s best if you can determine your budget ahead of time and work hard to stay in the confines of it. Setting your wedding budget may seem like an overwhelming task, but it really can be easy and virtually painless by asking these simple questions…
Before you can begin to work up a wedding budget, you need to know who will be footing the bill. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the entire wedding, but these days many couples are opting to pay for all or most of the event themselves. In many cases, the groom’s family may also like to contribute financially as well. Before you establish a budget, sit down with all parties involve and find out what their financial contributions (if any) will be. Once you know how much will be given from your families, you and the groom need to determine how much of your own money (if any) you will be adding. For more detail on who pays for what, click here.
Typically, the allocation of funds for the wedding are divided as so: Reception (48-50%), Ceremony (2-3%), Attire (8-10%), Flowers (8-10%), Entertainment/Music (8-10%), Photography/Videography (10-12%), Stationery (2-3%), Wedding Rings (2-3%), Parking/Transportation (2-3%), Miscellaneous (8%). Just because this is the standard breakdown of finances doesn’t mean your wedding has to be the same. Feel free to set aside more or less money on areas that are more or less important to you. If you or your partner’s families would like to contribute but aren’t sure of a specific dollar amount, ask them to take full financial responsibility for one area of the wedding such as booking the photographer, paying for the rehearsal dinner, or purchasing the flowers.
What’s most important?
There are certain elements of the wedding details that will be of more value to you than others. Maybe there is a reception location you can’t live without or an expensive dream photographer you’re dying to book. Understand that the allocation of the wedding budget doesn’t have to fit exactly into the breakdown mentioned above. Figure out ways to cut corners in some areas so you can have the things that are most important. If you’ve spent too much on your reception location, try opting for a less expensive food option. Instead of a sit-down dinner, consider serving hors d’oeuvres and cocktails or a classy brunch instead. They’re more cost-effective options that will allow you to stay within the confines of your predetermined budget.
There are a number of ways you can save money on your wedding, without sacrificing style. Hire a personal friend or family member to assemble the bouquets, design and print the invitations at home, or borrow a friend’s classic car instead of renting a limo. Figure out areas that you can cut costs and adjust your budget accordingly. By saving money in one area, you’ll be able to put those funds toward something more important.