A wedding budget is something every engaged couple needs to consider. Even if you have a large budget to work with, expenses can get out of hand real quick if you are both not on the same page! Creating a wedding budget may not be the most fun part of the wedding planning process, but it’s definitely one of the most practical. Talking to your fiance about finances, making lists, and doing the math will save you time and money in the long run. Plus, staying on budget will save you from tons of stress after it’s all said and done. Questions like, “Have we overspent? Can we afford this? How much debt are we in?” won’t be an issue because you will have already worked it all out upfront.
Photo via Confetti
Wedding Budget Planning
The main thing to remember is that planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t have to be a total drag and it doesn’t mean that your wedding has to suffer. There’s no need to go in debt and you don’t have to DIY every wedding detail. In fact, there are plenty of ways to stay within budget and still create the beautiful wedding you’ve always dreamed of. It just takes a little forethought, some dedication, and creativity. Here are some budget wedding ideas to help you plan your expenses and stay on track every step of the way.
First you’ll want to sit down with your fiance and hash out some financial details. Talk about the things you both want, what kind of wedding you envision, and make a list of all the expenses you can think of. That means everything from invitations and attire to wedding cakes, rentals, and transportation. Put these items in a notebook or start a wedding budget worksheet or spreadsheet. Then, when you’re ready, talk to family about who’s going to pay for what. How much will you and your fiance put in? Will parents from both sides be splitting costs? It’s important to know how much everyone will be contributing and what the total budget will be.
The best part about planning out your wedding budget is that is gives you a very clear picture of each line item you need to budget. It also allows for you to prioritize those items in your budget that are most important to you and your fiance . After you’ve talked it out, make your list, and star those things that are priorities (and possible splurge items) and set realistic budgets for each list item. Maybe splurging on your wedding dress or a favorite photographer can be achieved if you cut back in other areas. You will only know until you start calculating each line item.Having individual budgets for each item will help you allocate costs and stay on track. Record all the money going in and out and what you owe on your spreadsheet/notebook or use a wedding budget tracker, which you can find on many wedding websites.
Figure out what is important to you as a couple and then prioritize accordingly. We have some clients at My Bridal Pix that will spend upwards of 30% of their overall wedding budget on photography as that is what is most important to them. Each couple will be different and there is no right or wrong. It’s what is important to you.
Photo via Wedding Salon
Plan on Going Over Budget
A simple trick to keep yourself within budget is to give yourself a buffer. If your total budget is $25,000, spend as if it’s $20,000. Having this mentality will help when it comes to unforeseen expenses and unexpected splurges. Giving yourself just 5% of a buffer will guarantee you don’t actually go over budget when all those little details (stamps, fees, overtime costs, tips) end up on your expenses sheet.
It helps to do your research when it comes to choosing wedding vendors, what specific services cost, and how much you can afford. When you talk with a vendor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unclear about anything, speak up. And definitely let vendors know beforehand how much money you’re working with.
If there’s a particular vendor you’re dying to work with, but they’re just a bit over your budget, ask if they’re able to work with you. That doesn’t mean demanding a huge discount or using aggressive negotiating tactics. If there’s no wiggle room, the vendor might be able to point you to a fellow vendor who is within your budget. The point is, be kind, be respectful, and meet the vendor halfway.
Pay Off Debt
It may seem like common sense, but it’s easy to get whisked away during wedding planning and forget what you’ve purchased and how much you owe. As soon as you’re able to, pay off vendors and credit card expenses. Using your wedding buget spreadsheet or wedding budget tool, keep track of what you’ve paid off and what you still owe. Doing so will give you a clear picture of how much you have left to spend.
Wedding Ideas on a Budget
- Find the perfect photographer by posting a request on the My Bridal Pix photography job board and let the photographer candidates come to you. You’ll be able to network with each one, find the photographer that works best for you, save a ton of time and stay on budget!
- Choose a wedding date that’s outside of the popular months (and during the weekday). Not only will you save money, but you’ll likely have a better chance at picking the venue of your dreams.
- Consider a small wedding. Invite only your closest friends and family for a truly personal experience.
- Holding your ceremony and reception at the same place will cut down on transportation fees.
- Instead of a sit-down dinner, have a cocktail reception. Set up small cocktail tables and serve drinks and finger foods.
- Buy flowers in bulk and have someone put together simple arrangements.
- Venues will often charge you to cut and serve the wedding cake. Consider setting up a dessert table instead and let guest serve themselves.
- Make your own wedding album and prints and you will save big time! Put the money you would save on these items towards hiring the best photographer you can budget. My Bridal Pix offers free book making software and gorgeous DIY wedding albums that you can make your own.
We hope these tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget have been helpful. The best advise we can give is plan your budget then work your plan to stay on budget. Have fun and stay debt free!