Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially when it comes to budgeting. Whether you're working with $5000 or $50,000, there are some steps that can help you navigate what you can save or splurge on. Use this guide to help you plan the perfect wedding within your budget!
Determine your overall budget
The first step in budgeting for your wedding is to figure out how much money you have to work with. This will help you determine what is feasible and what isn't. Consider the money you have saved, any contributions from family members, and any loans or financing options you may be considering. Try to calculate how much each party will spend or what aspect of the wedding they want to take care of. Your Aunt may want to pay for the bridal shower or your father may want to only pay your wedding dress and open bar tab.
Once you realize how much assistance you'll receive, focus on what you and your fiancé can contribute. You should base this on:
Then ask yourself: How much can we realistically afford to spend given our expenses.
Approximate your wedding budget based on the answer to the above question. Add your family contributions and you have your budget!
Make a list of your priorities
Next, think about what is most important to you and your partner when it comes to your wedding. Do you want a lavish event with all the bells and whistles, or are you looking for something more intimate and low-key? Make a list of your top priorities and use this as a guide as you start to allocate your budget.
Once you decide your top priorities, you can allot a bigger percentage of the budget to them—which will also nail down how much you'll have left for the other wedding expenses that aren't as important to you.
Determine your guest list
The number of guests you have will have a big impact on your budget, so it's important to figure out how many people you want to invite. The size of your list will likely determine your venue and food and beverage requirements. Keep in mind that the larger the guest list, the more expensive the wedding will be.
Looking at your wedding as a per person expense will help you put costs into context. Your guest list will populate the number of items you'll need to pay for-- including wedding favors, thank you cards, chairs and invitations.
Choose your venue and vendors
Once you have an idea of your budget and your priorities, start looking for venues and vendors that fit within your price range. Consider factors like the cost of the venue, the price of catering, and any additional services you might need, such as flowers, music, and photography. Use keywords like "affordable wedding venues" or "cheap wedding catering" to help you find the best options for your budget. Remember to allot of additional costs like cake and cutting fees. There also may be setup and breakdown fees at your venue you need to allocate.
Keep track of your spending
Once your estimated budget and your ideal wedding come pretty close to each other, create a spreadsheet and allot a certain dollar amount to each aspect of the event. Google Sheets is great because it can easily be shared. Utilize their spreadsheet and share with your fiancé, parents, and anyone else who is contributing or helping you stay on budget.
Don't start with debt
The number 1 reason for divorce revolves around money. If you can't afford it, you don't need it. Remember that it's not about how much money you spend, it's how much joy you feel. At the end of the day, even if you get married at the court, it will be an incredibly beautiful, memorable, and meaningful wedding.
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