Talking about the wedding budget; how much and how to come up with it isn’t something sexy to think about right? I mean, in the midst of looking at that bling and imagining how stunning your wedding would look, who wants to be reminding a bride of what she can afford and what she can’t?
Well this discussion might not be a favorite for some, but it sure is one of the most important for everyone who desires to have the wedding of their dreams and not go into debt or have to look back and think of it as a waste or mismanagement of funds. So it’s truly sad when I imagine some couples don’t take the time and effort to sit down to map their wedding planning dollars before they start choosing dates or booking halls.
For my wedding I was pretty anal about staying within my budget, in fact I secretly crush on/brag along with couples who can say they didn’t go over their budget by 1 cent. To me, that stinks of good wedding planning budgeting and ain’t nothing cooler in my books. Because topics like these get me going, I decided to share a bit of what helped me and of course add some more to help couples of today and the future.
This post is my quick step by step wedding planning budgeting process which if couples would take seriously, they’d never look back on their wedding day and immediately think of wasted funds. Here are my easy steps to managing your finances while wedding planning, I’d suggest before you begin active planning, to go over these in detail as a couple.
If you happen to snag a good wedding planner, he/she should already have this conversation with you and have this in a template which you can customize to your own wedding vision and available expenses. If not, you’re welcome 🙂
Setting and Sticking to Your Wedding Budget – Wedding Planning and Money Management
The Amount: Know your budget amount, set it and stick to it. This has to be a number you both are comfortable with. It either already exists or there is a set plan to come up with it before the wedding date, preferably 2-3 months before.
Miscellaneous: Leave room for Miscellaneous expenses, ideally 5-10% of the total budget is a safe number. For example if you are aiming for a $30,000 wedding (the budget), $1,500 – $3,000 is safe to keep aside for miscellaneous expenses. For this post, we’d refer to the remaining $27,000 (budget – miscellaneous) as the disposable budget.
The Expense Items: List out ALL the expense items that would be involved in your wedding. Are you planning on having a photographer? Add Photography to the list. Would the wedding be in one location and you would not require transportation? Then leave transportation off the list. Be very detailed initially, the list would be long at first then later you can group them. For example, you can list out Wedding Dress, Wedding Veil, Shoes, Reception flats, Jewelry, and when categorizing, all of these can be grouped under Attire.
Rank/Prioritize: Rearrange every line item (or category, this would be much easier) according to priority/importance. For example, if it’s a total of 10 categories with Photography your most important and Favors your least, you can have photography at the top pf the list and favors at the very end. Or if you are a ranking kinda girl/guy, you can use the 10/10 rank to indicate most important and the 1/10, least important. This allows you to rearrange or restructure things if a shortage of funds requires that.
Min and Max $$: Allocate a minimum and maximum amount for each line item. This step should be done very carefully as it would involve lots of research to arrive at reasonable and realistic amounts. Remember these amounts vary drastically depending on a lot of factors especially location. So if photography is an average of $2000 in a small town, best believe it won’t be that in a city like Toronto. Your minimum should be the lowest your research has pulled up and the maximum, an amount you are 100% sure you won’t want to go over, that research has shown is realistic and can still afford.
Calculate: Once you have the minimums and maximums for each item, using the maximums, calculate the total and see if you fall within the disposable budget or outside the disposable budget. While the ideal situation is that you wouldn’t be spending the maximum amount for each an every item (except you did horrible job at the research and used unreasonable numbers), it is always better to plan using maximums, so you’re not hit with unexpected expenses at the end; it’s better to be left with a surplus than a deficit.
Adjust Accordingly: Should your calculations from the above step result in a total amount outside the disposable budget, understand it may be time to make adjustments. You can either Re-Rank (ask yourself is a reception dress really that important, or is that rank number of 7/10 negotiable?), or Reduce your maximum amount to something more affordable (perhaps drop your $4K dress to $1.5K), or totally Remove an item you think you can do without (how about you totally lose the fog machine/dry ice on the dance floor for your first dance).
While there would be so many nuances with wedding planning and budgeting, and it would hardly ever be the same for every single couple, I am confident these steps listed here would serve as a great start for every couple who desires to have a wedding that doesn’t run them into debt. Feel free to shoot me an email if you need further help, because I enjoy stuff like this, I might just find the time to help ya 🙂