Nothing can suck the romance out of planning a wedding faster than the mention of the dreaded topic of budget. Weddings are typically an expensive soiree, with every little detail adding up quickly, so it is advisable to track where your money is going, whether you and your future spouse are footing the bill yourselves or if your families are contributing.
Pick a Number
It is a wise move to outline a general wedding budget as you plan your wedding so you have an approximate idea of what you are spending, regardless of the amount of money you have to work with. It is smart to work backwards when you have a limited budget, basing your allocations on the amount you are able to spend. No matter your wedding budget, compiling a list of all of the experiences you want to share on your big day, however trivial they may seem, will help you prioritize and eliminate the items you deem unessential, especially once you look at their estimated costs.
A wedding binder is a popular tool to help you gather ideas and will allow you to create a concept long before you say “I do”. Collecting images from magazines and online will present a fabulous opportunity to begin visualizing your big day and zero in on the styles you are drawn to. Just as looking at wedding budget numbers will help you decide on what features are indispensable on your wedding day, visual cues may also help you decide what is or isn’t crucial.
One of the most effective approaches to a wedding budget is working with percentages, where you can designate how much of the budget each element is worth to you. These amounts will vary greatly depending on each couple’s priorities and guest list, among other things. Be aware that typically the reception consumes the largest slice of the overall budget. Below is an example of how a wedding budget might be broken down:
50% Reception – Venue, cake, drinks, food,
10% Clothing – Bride’s dress, groom’s suit, makeup and hair
10% Decoration and flowers
10% Music and entertainment – Ceremony music, musicians/bands, DJ
10% Photographs – Photographer, prints, video
3% Favors and gifts
2% Ceremony – documentation, legal costs, judge
2% Stationery – invites, seating and place names, thank you cards
While the above does not include honeymoon costs, a destination wedding may curb the need for a separate trip. The percentages for your wedding budget will differ if you choose to marry at a resort that provides complimentary ceremony packages or discounted rates for guests who opt for an all-inclusive stay. Although hiring a wedding planner or coordinator can keep one’s sanity intact, it is not listed above because so many people choose to do without; however, many hotels offer these services for free.