When you attend a friend or family member’s wedding, you’re often blissfully unaware of how much planning—and money—went into the various components and overall aesthetic of the nuptials. This naivate quickly disappears when you begin to plan a wedding all your own. Suddenly, you become an expert on finding deals, saving cash, and asking your friends which one of them are secretly experts in arts and crafts and which ones have a hook up with the local beer and wine distributor.
Everyone has to craft a wedding budget that is finely tuned to their very specific type of event. Remember, no two weddings are the same, so what’s financially important to one couple might mean precisely nothing to another. However, as you cut through the wedding-planning complications, you begin to realize that there are more than a few universal truths when it comes to constructing and building a wedding budget for an event that’s beautiful, exciting, and emotionally evocative.
Of course, anything involving money has the potential to be loaded with anxiety—especially a wedding, which can often send you fretting over unanswered questions and unmet expectations. In an effort to quell that angst and soothe any anxious moments, we present these excessively simple steps to creating a wedding budget that can help you reach your nuptials in one piece.
Know How Much You Have To Spend
This first step is so obvious, but that’s precisely why it often gets overlooked. You cannot start planning a wedding if you don’t know how much money you have or what your financial situation will look like in the very near future. And we’re talking real dollars and cents here, not a fanciful bundle of money that’s far beyond the realm of possibility.
The reality is lots of people planning a wedding dive right in hiring vendors and writing checks without having a sense of those invisible financial boundaries. While that type of willy-nilly planning might get you some semblance of a wedding day, it will also saddle you with plenty of debt that you’ll still be reckoning with years into your marriage. Having an actual, total dollar amount in mind will help you to know which monetary commitments you can take on with minimal consequences. When you keep tabs on your finances in this way, it eliminates uncertainty, clears the brain fog, and reduces anxiety. Having complete control of your money also boosts your confidence—placing you in exactly the frame of mind you want heading into your wedding day!
Sketch A List Of Wedding Categories
When you begin to jot down all the different spending categories there are in a wedding, it’s likely you’ll find yourself surprised by the sheer number of different components. You think it’s going to be simple, with basics like a wedding dress, wedding venue, photographer, and food. But when you delve deeper, those incidental expenses begin to pop up. Things like guest transportation, rehearsal dinner, thank-you cards, welcome bags, save the dates, invitations, floral arrangements, wedding favors, a DJ, alcohol, tips for vendors—there’s seemingly no end in sight!
The trick to reining in the stress of all those moving monetary parts is to get them out of your head and onto a tool like Wedding Wire’s money tracker. If those expenses only exist in your mind, you’ll find yourself with no other recourse beyond a total breakdown. Getting those figures into an app or a website program that helps you organize everything into a manageable scheme will help you take charge of the decision-making process.
Prioritize Wedding Expenses
Nobody is handed a blank check when it’s time to plan their wedding—nobody outside of the British royal family, anyway. Weddings should be planned in accordance with your budget (and the budget of whomever might be lending you a financial hand) and this means prioritizing all of the varied elements of a wedding. With this in mind, remember that you should focus on the things that are most important to you and the wedding elements that you’re sure to remember.
For starters, the wedding venue. This is the setting of the wedding and will likely dictate the look and feel of the nuptials, while almost certainly being one of the things your guests will remember years down the line. The wedding venue should be exactly what you want, with the perfect atmosphere, an elegant style, memorable cuisine, and an attentive and professional staff. The wedding venue is your wedding and should reside at the top of your priority list. That’s why the wedding venue is typically where most of the wedding budget is directed towards.
Keep An Emergency Fund
Even the most mundane tasks in life have a tendency veer off the intended path from time to time. In weddings, when something doesn’t go quite as planned, the devastating effects are amplified because of the stressful nature of the event itself. That’s why having money set aside in a dedicated emergency fund is one of the best things you can do for your future self, as it keeps unforeseen wedding expenses from destroying your finances.
A wedding emergency fund can be utilized when at the last minute, at the end of the event, you decide that you want to treat everyone to transportation so that everyone gets home safely. This extra bit of money can also help when you decide days before the wedding that you want all of the menu enhancements your wedding venue makes available, while it also gives you the option to fly in a family member who can’t pay their own way. The emergency fund can help you get what you want, without causing you extra anxiety.
Yes, the wedding is your celebration—it’s a party that honors you and your partner’s romantic devotion to one another, but it’s also a grand event that involves many other people and lots of moving parts. With something as complicated as wedding planning, constant communication with all of the major players is key to a successful, memorable wedding day.
The main person you need to be open and honest with is your partner, of course. If you are feeling the pressure from your mother-in-law to include a distant cousin in your wedding party, you need to communicate that uneasiness with your partner because every request made by an in-law or a relative will end up costing you money in one way or another. If your partner can fix the situation, they need to know ASAP.
Communication is also crucial with your wedding venue and vendors. They need to know exactly what you want and how you want it—and if you maintain open and friendly lines of communication with these entities, there’s a good chance they might see fit to throw in an extra feature that would otherwise cost you money!