You’re engaged! Now what? One of the first tasks as a newly engage couple (besides shouting your engagement news from the rooftops) is determining your budget. This comes before any other decisions are made regarding the wedding. It can feel daunting to put a price tag to one of the most important days of your life. It comes down to planning, prioritizing, and being realistic with yourself, and we’re here to break it all down into specific steps that will ensure your wedding budget is the perfect combination of saving and splurging.
Who’s paying for what?
Whether you’re paying for wedding yourself or you have help from family/friends, determining who’s contributing what is a great first step to figure out a ballpark estimate of your total budget. Many times the parents will help cover the costs of the rehearsal dinner or morning after brunch, but it’s always good to check with all contributors before making any big decisions regarding the wedding.
Crunch the numbers
Before you put an actual value to your budget, think about your wedding day. What do you envision? An elaborate, luxurious wedding or a backyard bbq? Obviously one of those options is less pressure on your wallet, but if having a larger, more expensive wedding is something that you want, start thinking about the number of guests you’d like, if you want an open bar, a buffet vs. plated dinner, etc. Thinking about these details will help give you a realistic look at your minimum budget.
You don’t want to overexert your finances, but you also don’t want to have too high of expectations for your budget. When you set your budget, be realistic with your expectations and understand what you can and can’t achieve with it. If you’re wanting an open bar, plated dinner, passed apps, a photobooth, a mountain of flowers, and your dream photographer, but only set your budget to realistically include half of that, you’ll end up disappointed on your special day.
Prioritize what’s important
A great way to be realistic with your budget is to start prioritizing. What is the most important aspect of your wedding day? The venue? Flowers? Photography? Depending on your answer, you can allocate more of your funds to important items and take away funds from items that you could do without or scale back on.
Keep yourself accountable
Once you’ve decided on a budget, make a spreadsheet! We use Google Docs because it’s super easy to share and manage with multiple users viewing/making edits. We’ve found this is the BEST way to keep everyone accountable and in the loop about what the budget is and where funds are being allocated. Once you make your spreadsheet…STICK TO IT! It can be extremely difficult to stick to your original budget, so it’s ok to plan for some small fluctuation. What’s most important to keeping track of your expenses and not making any large decisions without first consulting the budget.