Making a wedding budget is like cutting up a big huge pie. It has to be shared with every single person involved or attending your wedding. Budgeting helps you figure out how big that pie is going to be, and most importantly the best way to slice it so that everyone is happy. Follow the steps below and download our sheet to help you get through the first steps of planning.
1. Have a good talk with your partner about what kind of wedding they are looking for.
Start by asking each other what you expect out of your wedding. Did they want to invite every person important in their life or more of a small quiet one? Talk about what you actually imagined your wedding to be like and bring up what you may be worried about. Lay it all out on the table, and then rank the pieces of your wedding by importance. This is really important and can be difficult so we made a little activity sheet to help you and your partner to rank this quick and easy. Save this sheet, and use it when you need to cut costs.
2. How much are the two of you willing to contribute?
Let’s face it, the times have changed and weddings continue to become more lavish and pricey. Consider coming together with two numbers, a high amount and a low amount, that the both of you are able to contribute together. These numbers matter and are unavoidable when it comes to the many minor expenses that will pop-up and giving yourself room in this area will save you a ton of headache later. In the end, it may not matter after the next step.
3. Here is how to ask the families in a polite, respectful way.
Ask and be sure to understand what each family is expecting out of your wedding before accepting any contributions. Some parents may want to plan the whole thing if they are paying for everything, while others want you to be sure that family traditions are upheld and that your distant grandma’s aunt-in-law twice removed is invited. Understanding how helpful and involved they want to be in the planning is good to know when you make the big ask. Before asking them to see the checkbook, your best bet is to give them a heads up and give them time to check their finances. Asking them out to dinner and asking for the dollar amount is like proposing on the first date. Make a phone call and drop a hint along the lines of “This Tuesday at dinner, we wanted to talk about planning and budgeting for the wedding.” Give them a few days to let that sink in and give them time to talk to each other about it. Then at dinner time, start the discussion by saying, “Handsome and I have beginning to plan out the wedding and we wanted to know how you wanted to be involved!” Hear them out and ask questions and share what you and your fiance have come up with. Then comes the budget question. “Handsome and I are putting together a budget, and we wanted to ask if you were planning on contributing?” Typically a family will give a bit of a vague answer but it is pretty important to know the “let’s try to keep it under $____” number. We all know that when it comes to dollar amounts, a small amount of money to some may be small to others.
Now that you know the budget, consider these areas to cut cost and budget for.
Cutting down the guest list can be tough, but it ends up being one of the biggest expenses. Reducing the guest list saves on the catering, bar, and even the cost of flowers (center pieces), and the type of reception hall you need.
The bar can be another one of those big expenses that can be reduced dramatically by opting into another package. Ask if your venue to limit the bar to beer, wine, and a signature cocktail which can save you thousands.
Pick a great looking venue that has a bunch of built in decor. The more decor at your venue the less you need to spend on jazzing it up.
Reuse the flowers from the ceremony to the reception. Asking your florist to work with you on creating arrangements that can be reused at the ceremony and reception can cut your costs by a quarter to a half.
Do a fall wedding. Typically, after September places have off-peak prices and are willing to work with budgets around the fall months. It helps that black tuxedos are a 50 degrees cooler and the trees are colorful
Don’t forget to think about these very common budget breaking mistakes.
Taxes. A $25,000 wedding with 8% in taxes can create an additional $2000 in additional costs!
Delivery, Set-up, Break Down fees. Yup! They won’t tell you but they will charge you for it. Be sure you ask about these fees with every vendor you work with.
Overtime fees. If you rent a venue till 11:00 that may mean you have to end the festivities at 10:30 so your clean-up crew can go through the venue.
Service charges and tips. Most venues will add these service charges and tips but be absolutely sure to ask what the amounts will be and if they add it on.