As a wedding planner, it didn’t take me long to realize that there are some unromantic, but inevitable, aspects of planning a wedding: one being the wedding budget. I’m going to attempt to lay out steps that can turn everyone’s least favorite topic into an intentional process that will have you, your fiancé, and your family feeling confident and comfortable. Most of us cringe at the thought of developing a wedding budget. It can make a bride feel hindered, discouraged, or worried. I want to reassure you that with the right planning and a little creativity, you can have the wedding of your dreams at any budget.
Start by developing a total budget
Seems a little backwards, right? Let me say this, adding up the sums from everything you buy throughout the wedding planning season gives you a total, but it does not leave you with a total budget. That is why it makes sense to start big (the total budget) and get smaller (budget categories).
Prioritize your budget categories
Start by asking yourself, “What is important to me when it comes to my wedding day?” I’ll list some budget categories to get you thinking. This is not a complete list, but you get the idea. This is also just one example of a categorical list. You may find a different way of organizing that works better for you, and if so, by all means use those categories. In your thought process, it is also entirely possible that you realize there is one thing that is an absolute must for you. The venue, the dress – it could be anything. Each bride is unique, which is why there isn’t one correct way to create a wedding budget.
Documentation: photographer, videographer, bridal portraits
Aesthetics: florals, table linens, table settings
Personal: Dress, hair, make-up, shoes, jewelry, garter, veil
The “experience”: thank you gifts, caterer, DJ, photobooth
Don’t rush through the step of prioritizing your budget categories. Include your fiancé so that you can both feel confident about your budget. Spending time to develop a thoughtful budget will save you from an uncomfortable feeling of going over budget later on.
Allocate your budget
When allocating your budget to different categories, there are two things to remember. The first, be realistic. Chances are, your venue space will inevitably cost more than the vases you’re using for the table setting. Second, it is a give and take. Look back at your prioritized list of categories. You may have decided that documentation is most important to you. Therefore, you decide to allocate a larger portion of your budget to that category and take away from a category that is less important to you. If you add to one budget category, you must subtract from another. This is the safest way to ensure you are staying on budget throughout planning. The costs add up quickly, and by staying organized and sticking to budget categories, you are sure to remain within your budget.
Ready to start working on your wedding budget? Download my free Budget Brainstorm Worksheet!