Getting Married? Learn How to Budget for Your Wedding

That fairy tale dress, that buffet of bountiful food, that charming venue; these are all just some of the things that couples hope will be perfect on their wedding days. However, once they start doing some research, they will begin to realize that the expenses involved will cause their wallets to take a major hit.

Those that budget a few thousand dollars for their weddings may see that number begin to double and even triple much faster than they would expect. 

If you are planning a wedding, and you want to avoid out of hand expenses, here are some tips on what you can do to keep things under control.

Think of the Kind of Wedding You Want

The first step to budgeting will be thinking about the kind of wedding you want. Do you want to go all out with a fancy wedding in a luxury venue? Or would you rather have a backyard wedding at a friend or family member’s house? Perhaps a picnic in the park is more your style. 

While you don’t need to get too specific about what you’re looking for, having a vague idea will get you pointed in the right direction when it comes to budgeting.

Start Thinking About Budgeting

Now that you have an idea of the kind of wedding you want, you can start thinking about how much you are willing to spend. Couples should get together and talk about the amount of money they want to put into their celebration. 

They should also consider whether parents and in-laws would be able to contribute. If so, this would be a good time to talk to them to find out how much they can afford to give you.

Now is also a good time to think about guest count. The number of guests you invite will drastically affect your bottom line. So decide, how hurt will Aunt Sheila feel if she’s left out? And do you really want Cousin Curtis making a public scene…again?

Prioritize What’s Important

Next each member of the couple should pick three things they want to prioritize for the wedding. These could include a live band, an open bar, great food, a terrific venue and so on. Compare lists to see what’s important to both of you so you can decide on a final list of three. 

This will help you decide what you want to devote your budget to and determine things that you are prepared to forgo or skimp on when it comes to finances.

Working on a Real Plan

Now that you have a basic outline for your wedding, it’s time to really start crunching those numbers. Start shopping around to see what things cost. You may find that certain things are still exceeding your budget. If this is the case, you may have to do some re-evaluating. 

Can you DIY certain aspects of your event? Can you move into a more affordable venue? These are all steps you may be able to take to cut down on expenses.

Create a Worksheet

A worksheet is a great way to keep track of your expenses. 

To create a worksheet, start by entering the total amount you would like to spend on your wedding. Then break down everything that will add to expenses including the venue, live band, food, photography and so on. 

Next, start entering values. Start with estimates of what you think you will spend. Go from there to enter the estimates you are getting from the vendors. Keep track of your deposits, balances due and final payments. 

An accurate worksheet will be the best way to keep track of your bottom line. 

How to Cut Costs

If you are still finding your wedding is coming in over budget, here are some things you can do to cut back:

  • Limit Your Guest List: Making a ‘close family and friends’ wedding is a great way to save money and if you explain that your wedding has a limited guest list, it’s likely those who weren’t invited won’t feel left out.  
  • Find an Inexpensive Venue: A venue is one of the biggest wedding expenses. You can minimize or even eliminate this expense by having your wedding at a park or in someone’s backyard.
  • Ask Family and Friends for Help: Do you have friends or family members who can bake a cake? Take pictures? Arrange bouquets? If so, see if they are willing to volunteer their services in lieu of a wedding gift.
  • DIY When You Can: Take on any jobs you are able to. If you can do the decorations yourself, do them. If you can cook, provide your own food. 
  • Timing is Everything: Weddings that take place during prime wedding season (mostly the spring or fall) will be more expensive. Cut costs by planning a wedding during the off seasons. You can also save money by having a wedding on a weekday.

A wedding can be a major expense but with the right budgeting, you can keep your finances under control. We wish the best of luck moving forward with this next stage of your life.