Let's talk Budget! Now, even though the word "budget" can sometimes be a scary word or be an uncomfortable conversation, it does not always have to be. Today, we have broken down our approach to Budgeting in 6 easy steps for you.
Step 1: Determine Who is Contributing
The first step is extremely important to determining your overall wedding budget. This is the step where you will figure out all the people who will be contributing money to your wedding . This could be the bride's parents and the groom's parents, or maybe just one side is contributing. There may even be grandparents or another family member who wants to help pay for some portion of the wedding costs. Once you have determined who will be contributing, it is important to determine also, how much each party will be contributing to the wedding budget. Determine a dollar amount that each party will contribute, and write it down or start an excel spreadsheet that can be shared with family members.
Step 2: Establish How Much You + Your Fiancé Will Contribute
In this step, you and your fiancé will decide on a dollar amount that you will want to/ will be putting towards the wedding budget, if any. Once you decide the maximum amount of money that you both will be contributing to your wedding budget, you will combine all parties contributions to configure an estimated budget amount(key word being "estimated"). Now, just because you have arrived at a combined total number, this does not mean this is necessarily your total budget number. The rest of the steps are equally as important and could change your budget slightly, whether it be an increase or a decrease.
Step 3: Estimate Your Guest Count
Now, step 3 is possibly one of the most important steps to consider! I cannot stress this enough- the cost of your wedding for the most part, is determined by your guest count! Some of the vendors that you will spend the most money on for your wedding are the vendors that their cost revolves around your guest count. These vendors include: Catering, Cake, Chairs + Table Rentals, alcohol/bar, and sometimes even florals depending on your design. For instance, if you have decided on having a floral centerpiece for every table at your reception, and you will have 25 tables at your reception due to the guest count size- then, you will be spending a lot more money on flowers vs. having 12 tables at your reception. There are so many connections to your guest count and your budget, more than some might realize. If you come to a realization that you might be spending way more than you want to because of your guest count, it might be best to try and cut back on your guest list as much as possible.
Step 4: Define You + Your Fiancé's Priorities
Step 4 is the step where you and your fiancé will really want to sit down and discuss what is truly important to you both for your wedding day. This is where you will discuss which vendors are the top priorities for your wedding day. These will be the vendors that you are willing to splurge on when it comes to money because it is something that is a priority to you both. Say for instance, that a couple are huge foodies, then they may want Catering to be at the top of their priority list. Therefore, putting catering at the top of your priority list generally means they will spend the most money on this vendor. Once you know which vendors are the most important to you both, it is easier to go back through your budget and mark which ones have some wiggle room on money, and which ones you can budget a little less for.
Step 5: Do all your Research for Hidden Costs
One thing to know is, if you have a wedding planner, they will be able to help you identify these hidden or unexpected costs. More than likely, your wedding planner will already know which hidden costs to identify for you and will know what additions there will be to certain vendor costs. For instance, there may be an additional fee added on to your catering bill for them to cut your wedding cake. Another example could be having an open bar because you will more than likely be paying the total bill for the bar after your wedding has happened. This step can also be achieved when you are reading through vendor contracts, which is why hiring a wedding planner is such an asset because they will be the one to review all your vendor contracts for you!
Step 6: Create Your Budget Breakdown in Writing
Last but not least, the final step is to combine all the previous steps to create a budget breakdown in writing or organize it into an excel spreadsheet. In this step, you will list each vendor category out , and you will put your top 3 vendors from step 4 at the top of the list. Next to each vendor, list out a maximum dollar amount that you are budgeting for each particular vendor. This will be the maximum amount you want to spend on this particular vendor, and it will be a reference for your budget when starting to book your wedding vendors. If you have a wedding planner, you will create this type of budget plan with your planner and they will help you stay on track! If you do not have a planner, this will be a handy tool in order to stay on track with the budget you have set out for yourself in the beginning stages of planning. Sometimes I find that it's easier for brides and their families to organize their budget in percentages versus stating a maximum dollar amount. Your top priorities for your wedding day should obviously be your higher percentage amounts. In general, the highest percentage of your budget will more than likely go towards your reception as a whole (including each vendor that plays a part in your reception). For instance, your reception percentage will include the cake, bar/beverage, band/DJ, catering, transportation, and sometimes the venue can be categorized under reception as well.
When it comes to a wedding budget, every single wedding will be completely different. When creating and discussing your budget, it is extremely important to have realistic expectations on the amount that you will probably spend and the amount that you can afford to spend. If you are realistic about both, you will more than likely have the best chance of staying on track with your budget that you have created. These steps will not determine your exact budget amount for you, but it is my hope that these steps will help guide you when beginning to plan your wedding and starting to build a realistic budget for you and your fiancé!
I hope these steps help you budget for your wedding day and will guide you tremendously! If you want to learn more or discuss more details regarding building a wedding budget, please reach out or get in touch with Lauryn E. Weddings! We are here to help serve you, and help your wedding planning be as easy and stress free as possible! Also, remember that Lauryn E. Weddings now offers consulting/planning sessions for brides who just need a little help getting started, or for the bride who needs help with vendor recommendations, layout planning, or just wants to discuss design details! Email us today to book a session!
Xoxo from your wedding bff,
Lauryn E. Weddings