By Erin Killingsworth, Founder of Wedding Under Control
Creating a budget for your wedding is the most important thing you can do as an engaged couple. Why? Being a financially responsible married couple is one of the most important things you can do together. You need to start being financially responsible together for your wedding. Even if your budget is $100K, you need to manage it so that you won’t accidentally spend $150K! Starting your marriage off in debt is not a good way to start. Let me give you 5 tips for creating a budget and sticking to it, so that you can have a happy jump-start to your marriage.
1. Figure out what your budget will be
Who is contributing to your wedding fund? Bride’s parents? A set of grandparents? The bride and groom? A combination of people? This can be an uncomfortable conversation for some people, but it’s necessary. Find out who is going to contribute, and try to get the best estimate of the amounts that will go towards the wedding. Then, you’ll know what your budget is!
2. Break down the budget by percentages
I’m not going to say that you should spend 50% of your budget on this and 10% on that because everyone’s wedding is different and unique. I will, however, give you a rough estimate. Remember, this may not work for your wedding, so keep this in mind when referring to this list.
45% – 50% – Reception
This includes your catering, venue, décor, alcohol, cakes, rentals, parking and almost all expenses that will be part of your reception. Start with your venue and caterer. Then fill in the holes of this budget with the other aspects of your reception.
10% – Photography
This includes any prints, engagement shoots, and wedding videography.
5% – 10% – Attire
This includes the bride’s dress, shoes, jewelry, veil and alterations. This also includes the groom’s attire.
10% – 12% – Flowers
Bouquets, centerpieces, and other floral décor makes up this category.
5% – 10% – Entertainment
The reception DJ or band makes up this category, as well as your ceremony musicians.
10% – 20% – Miscellaneous
This includes wedding planning, wedding rings, stationery, gifts and any other additional items you’ll want to personalize your wedding.
5% – Cushion
This is a MUST, no matter what your wedding budget is. You need a little wiggle room in your budget, so make sure you budget for 5% of a cushion.
This list does not include any expenses related to the Rehearsal Dinner, Honeymoon, or any other wedding related events like showers or luncheons.
3. Re-evaluate after you’ve booked your venue
For some of your wedding professionals, you will need to include a tip. Budget to spend an additional 5% to 10% for those vendors. These vendors could be your florist, caterer, waitstaff, entertainers, and others.
Since the venue is probably your largest expenditure, you’ll want to review your other budget categories before you go dress shopping, cake tasting, and sample catering.
You may have to change some of your plans. That’s OK! If your dream wedding consisted of elaborate and ornate floral arrangements, but your wedding budget won’t allow these ideas, work with your florist to find a happy medium that fits in your budget. Spend less on your bouquets or have your wedding party carry single stem flowers to allow for more ornate floral centerpieces. Find alternative ways to make your dreams come true. Pinterest can become your best friend for finding cost effective alternatives.
4. As you spend, keep track of your wedding expenses
Creating a budget is great. But what good is it if you don’t know how well you stay on track? As you spend for your wedding, keep a log of your expenses. If you want to have a pen and paper, go for it! If your style is more electronic, do what works for you!
Log your expenses as you go. Waiting until the month of your wedding to see how well you’re staying on budget could be a scary moment! It may seem tedious at times, but you will thank yourself when it’s all said and done.
5. Use Wedding Under Control which has the template you need!
Did you know that there is a company out there that provides a budgeting tool and it helps keep track of your expenses? And it will show you how well you’re staying on budget at any given time. You don’t have to recreate the wheel and try to figure out a template! Head on over to Wedding Under Control and see which affordable package will be right for you and your wedding.
At the end of the day, your wedding is the jumpstart of your happy marriage. Finances can seem unromantic, but how romantic will you feel when you know that you aren’t starting your marriage off in debit or feeling stressed financially? Stick to these 5 tips, and you’ll be able t have a wonderful wedding without feeling the weight of stress from overspending!