When you have dreamed of planning your wedding, chances are, budgeting wasn’t at the forefront of your fantasies. As important as it is, budgeting can be a tedious, overwhelming, and stressful process, and many couples don’t spend as much time and energy on it as necessary.
However, it’s imperative to prioritize your budget as one of the first things you do during this process. Ultimately, having a practical and well-thought-out budget makes wedding planning less stressful because you know exactly where your money is coming from and where it is going.
To help you with the process, we have compiled this list of tips to help you create a budget that is within your means and enough for the wedding of your dreams.
Determine How Much Money You Have to Spend
The first step to budgeting is understanding how much money you have to work with. Start with your savings account. Of course, you want to discount your emergency funds from your wedding budget, so make sure you leave enough in there for three months worth of expenses. Anything after that can be used towards your wedding.
Then, you can direct some of your income towards your wedding budget. Make sure to prioritize your current debts, but after you have paid for those, you can set aside up to 10 percent of your income towards your wedding. Many couples choose to set up a separate savings accounts for their wedding expenses, and you can have this amount automatically taken out every month.
Finally, factor in any money you are receiving from your parents or other family members or loved ones. You shouldn’t assume that they will help you, but many families do, so ask before making any assumptions either way.
This is where spreadsheets come in handy. Create one where you can track your spending. Begin by collecting estimates of your different costs. Then, you can track what you actually end up spending. For example, you can collect estimates from each of the potential venues. Then, whichever you decide on, figure out exactly how much you will spend on for that location specifically.
Don’t forget to include taxes and tips. It’s helpful to break each of these into a separate column to keep track of what vendors include gratuity and tax oninto their prices.
Additionally, make sure to leave room for things that you may have forgotten or didn’t anticipate accounting for. Allow 15 percent of your budget for these expenses for any incidentals that come up. This is essential to ensuring you don’t go over budget.
Expect the Unexpected
Anticipate that there will be expenses that you may not have expected. For example, if you are hiring an out-of-town band, you might have to pay for their transportation. Some photographers will charge you more for online access to your wedding photos. Even stationers can charge for envelope stuffing! There are a variety of different types of expenses that can be hidden, so make sure to thoroughly read and understand any contracts you sign.
Avoid Credit Cards
It can be tempting to swipe away your problems for your future self to figure out, but this can get you in a lot of trouble down the road. Avoid dealing with copious amounts of debt right as you’re starting your marriage by using credit cards wisely. Never charge anything you won’t be able to pay back in 30 days.
Search for Savings
There are plenty of ways to save money on your wedding if you’re willing.
- Changing your venue. Your venue is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to your wedding budget, and many couples make the mistake of thinking that a raw space like a barn will save them money. Factor in all the expenses associated with making your space wedding-ready, and consider choosing a different venue that offers more bang for your buck.
- Trimming the guest list. The cost of each guest to a wedding is significant; inviting 15 fewer people can save you $1,300. If you need to save money on your wedding, consider trimming your guest list.
- Have a winter wedding. Having your event outside of the normal “wedding season” can save you a significant amount of money. You could also opt for a Friday or Sunday wedding.
- Go for a DJ. A live band can be quite expensive, while a DJ is usually a more affordable option.
At Thomas’s Catering, we are happy to work within your budget to provide the wedding catering of your dreams. Contact us today to begin planning your big day in Livonia!