Let’s be real. Budgeting is a far less fun topic than cake tasting. But it needs to happen—and it needs to happen before you start booking dates and placing deposits. Whether you’re “richer or poorer,” everyone needs a little wedding budget help. The wedding experts from Wedgewood Weddings are here to help!
First Thing’s First
Decide how you’re going to cover costs. Is it just the two of you? Are you getting help from generous friends and relatives? If you’re receiving financial support, plan a time for you and your fiancé to meet your helpers face-to-face and go over everyone’s expectations for the big day. Chances are most of you don't know how much wedding services typically cost and it's important to remember that times have drastically changed since your parents' wedding day. Getting on the same page with all of the financial stakeholders is a key step!
In 2018, the average wedding in the United States was over $33,000. At Wedgewood Weddings, our all-inclusive weddings range anywhere from $8,000 to $40,000. A wedding is doable on almost any budget, but having an upper limit in mind should help when talking numbers with your wedding coordinator.
5 Questions to Help You Prepare A Budget
- What are your top priorities and expectations for the wedding?
- What other financial priorities are on your mind? Buying a house? Honeymoon?
- Who would you like to invite? (Ask this question to all financial stakeholders)
- How much, if any, will be contributed by friends or family?
- If so, how and when will the money be given? One big sum, or small installments?
Beyond knowing how much money will be spent on the wedding, it’s extremely important to know when that money is coming in. Are those funds sitting in a savings account somewhere, or will you be saving and spending as you go? Will your parents/helpers be writing one big check upfront or offering multiple, smaller checks as things come up?
“There are a ton of areas where you can save money that guests won’t notice. Get advice and always ask yourselves if an expense is necessary. If you won’t remember it, it doesn’t make people smile, or you’re doing it just because of ‘tradition’ you can probably cut it!”
Setting Your Budget
1) Figure out What You Can Realistically Afford
It’s easy to talk numbers and assume it’ll all work out somehow, but that can lead to major upset later down the road. The smartest thing to do is create a detailed budget and plan. Really plan out how much money you’re able to set aside per month, consider how much time you have to save up, factor in whatever money you’ve already saved or is being contributed by other people, and then see what overall number that leads you to.
2) Figure out Your Top Priorities
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to what will make or break a perfect wedding. Some might insist on having a videographer, others might obsess over having the finest food. Talk to your fiancé and figure out what aspects are most important to each of you—these are where you prioritize your budget, the rest can be less extravagant.
3) See How Your Budget Translates to Your Guest Count
More guests can increase the wedding budget quickly, so consider what’s more important to you: having a super lavish wedding even if it means having to cut down your guest list, or having a huge party with all your family, friends, and neighbors. If you can afford everything you want and all the people you’d love to be there, awesome! However, most of us have to face a “this or that” decision—upgraded chairs, or mom's best friend from college?
4) Round-Up the Numbers
When figuring numbers, always round on the higher side to allow yourself some wiggle room. Few budgets are 100% accurate in the end, so it’s smart to assume you’ll go over a little. In fact, couples typically spend about $7,000 over what they originally anticipated.
“A quick way to keep wedding costs manageable is to take a good look at your guest list. If you haven’t seen them in five (or more) years, they probably don’t need to come to your wedding”
When Will You Need the Money?
Keep in mind that, when you book with Wedgewood Weddings, we take 25% of your proposal at the time you book, another 25% four months before your wedding, then the rest (based on your final headcount) ten days before your wedding. This should help you determine when, exactly, you need to have the money available.
And if you’re wishing you could just take out a loan for your wedding, you’re definitely not alone. Plenty of loan companies will set up a personal loan for you ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000+. And yes, some couples opt to pull out the plastic too. In fact, in a team poll, we found that it’s common to throw a few last-minute wedding expenses on a credit card rather than paying direct.
Keeping Your Wedding Budget on Track
The absolute best way to stay on track is to keep your spending in written format somewhere. Trying to store everything in your head can lead to major overspending.
You can follow “average” wedding budgets for guidance. However, every couple spends their budget differently—it all depends on how they prioritize which details are most important and, therefore, will take up a bigger percentage of the overall budget. The one truth to this though, is that you can expect the venue and the catering to be the largest portions of the overall cost (taking up about 50%).
Pro Tip: Think back on weddings you’ve been to in the past… What aspects or details do you still remember about them? Do you remember how beautiful the venue was, or the personalized cocktail napkins? Do you remember the ‘welcome’ sign, or how much fun you had in the photo booth? Do you remember how touching the ceremony was, or what the groomsmen’s boutonnieres looked like?
It’s SO easy to get sucked into the perfection of every tiny detail (thanks Pinterest), but when you’re feeling overwhelmed about your wedding budget, remember what actually matters to you and your fiancé. You’ve got this!
“Lots of the couples I meet are surprised about how affordable a wedding can be. With a little help from friends and family it doesn’t break the bank and is absolutely worth it!”
- Alyssa, San Clemente by Wedgewood Weddings