Wedding Budget Planning – Tips and Tricks
Planning a wedding can be a very hectic ordeal, especially if you don’t know where to start. Many women choose to hire a wedding planner to help them get organized, make phone calls, arrange appointments, find venues and vendors, and so on. But do you spend enough time on wedding budget planning? Even if you plan on hiring a wedding planner, you must first figure out a reasonable budget that is affordable for you or whoever will be paying for your wedding. Don’t worry about the details of your ceremony, reception, wedding attire, food, seating, guests, favors, travel, and accommodations. Once you have a budget set, you will be able to work in all of the details.
First, you should talk to your partner and find out who will be paying for the wedding. It is not uncommon these days for the wedding costs to be split among both sets of parents and the couple. After you figure out who will be paying for the wedding you can then talk to your partner and come up with an overall total amount that you (or the parents) can afford to spend on the wedding. Once you have a total, you can then start to do a breakdown and assign certain percentages to certain categories of your wedding.
It will probably be easier for you if you make a budget worksheet. This way you will be able to put it in your wedding planning checklist or notebook so that it will be handy whenever you need it. Below, you will find a basic outline of what a wedding budget planning worksheet might look like. Remember that you can always change the worksheet to suit your needs.
Overall Budget Total: ____________________
Wedding Category % of Total Your Estimate Actual
Budget of Spending Amount Spent
Ceremony 3% ___________ ___________
officiator fee, location fee,
marriage license fee
Reception 40% ___________ ____________
venue fee, food, drinks, cake,
favors, rentals, games
Wedding Attire 10% ___________ ____________
wedding gown, veil, shoes, jewelry
undergarments, hair and makeup
groom’s attire, shoes
Rings 3% ___________ ____________
wedding bands, engraving
Music 6% ___________ ____________
ceremony music fee, reception
music fee (DJ or live band and
Flowers 6% ___________ ____________
bride’s bouquet, maid-of-honor
bouquet, boutonnieres, center
pieces, flower girl basket, ceremony
and reception flowers (if extra décor)
Photography and Videography 10% ____________ ____________
disposable cameras, extra prints,
photographer fee, videographer fee,
extra prints, albums
Transportation 2% ____________ ____________
limo cost, transportation
for guests and wedding
Stationary 2% ____________ ____________
invitations, placement cards,
programs, postage, guest book,
thank you cards
Gifts 2% ____________ ____________
groomsmen and bridesmaids,
groom’s parents, bride’s parents
Planner or Coordinator 6% ____________ ____________
Cushion 10% ____________ ____________
You should always have a certain percentage set aside in case you run into troubles or monetary discrepancies during your wedding budget planning. A safe cushion to set would be between five and fifteen percent. Remember that you can change the list to suit your wedding needs. For instance, if you have a friend who is a professional photographer who will shoot your wedding for little or no money then you can use that percentage for another category for your wedding. If you are planning to have a smaller or simpler wedding and do not intend to hire a wedding planner, you can use that percentage for other categories as well. Not every wedding is the same. However, the categories and percentages listed above are average and meant to give you a general idea that you can work off of.
There are many ways that you can save money on your wedding as well. If you happen to be a crafty sort of gal, then you can make some of the decorations, favors, bouquets, stationary, and even wedding attire yourself! If you have friends that have certain talents, you may want to think about asking them to help you as well! Many women nowadays are throwing parties or get-togethers with their close friends to make invitations by hand, put together centerpieces and make party favors.
Wedding Budget No-Nos
Now that you have a general idea of how you might plan your wedding budget, there are a few things that you should know about wedding budget no-nos.
Don’t Go Into Debt!
Of course you want to have the perfect wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon. However, if you absolutely can’t afford the lavish wedding that you want right now, it’s okay to have a smaller gathering of close friends and family. You can save the lavish reception for a few years down the line.
Lock Up Your Credit Cards!
The fastest way to put yourself into debt for your wedding is by paying for everything with your credit cards. The interest rate on credit cards is astronomical. If you can, try to pay for everything with checks or cash. If you absolutely have to use your credit cards for a few things, make sure you can pay off the bill as soon as you get it in the mail.
Budget for More Guests!
You should always budget for more guests than you think will come. Chances are, not everyone on your guest list will be able to make the date of your wedding, but it’s better to overestimate.
Don’t Be Shy!
When it comes to dealing with vendors, always be sure to ask if upgrades cost extra. If you are offered colored table clothes and napkins when you only budgeted for white, you will be in for a surprise when you receive a bill that is higher than you planned. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking if upgrades cost more.
Now that you are armed with your wedding budget planning worksheet and a few wedding budget no-nos, you can start planning the details of your wedding with your partner!
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Thanks for reading!