The first and most difficult thing about wedding planning is deciding on the budget. Even the most expensive weddings have a budget (at least to start with anyway).
Strangely enough in my experience it hasn't been the brides who've been the biggest spenders either. The parents of the Bride (or even the Groom) tend to want to give their child the "best wedding ever" and they quickly loose sight of the costs until they start dramatically adding up.
I was privy to a wedding where the Bride and the Father of the Bride were arguing over the price of chair covers. Chair covers, for those of you who aren't sure what I'm talking about, are those silky fabrics draped over chairs and tied off in a beautiful bow to make the seating arrangements more appealing to the eye. In this instance the price was $4.50 per chair and their guest list was totaling around 150. So, even if only 100 guests RSVP'd yes, that would total to $450 for chair covers.
Some of you might be surprised that it was actually the Father of the Bride who was in favor of this expense. Some of you might also be surprised that the Bride was arguing against this addition. After all, the chair covers do add an elegant touch and many can be downright gorgeous. Plus everyone wants their wedding photos to look fantastic and the chair covers would help with that....right? But how much are we spending on the photographer?
According to the Wedding Wire couples on average spend $2,000 for their wedding photographer.
Most Wedding Planners would agree with me when I say that the photographer should be one of the bigger priorities in your budget, but not everyone can afford a $30,000 wedding so you really have to be careful when considering how you want to allocate your budget.
I suggest you and your fiance sit down and decide what percent of your budget you want to allocate to each area of the wedding (i.e. venue, photographer, entertainment, food, etc). Then discuss this with whomever is paying for your wedding.
Make sure everyone involved financially understands how you're breaking down your budget before you start making a single wedding purchase.
That way when arguments like the one I mentioned before inevitably come up you can refer back to the budget you've already created.
Not sure how to breakdown your budget? The Knot is a great source of information to get you started, but remember that it is your wedding and these are just suggestions to help you decide.
Here is a basic breakdown from The Knot of what you can expect to pay: Reception: 48%–50% Ceremony: 2%–3% Attire: 8%–10% Flowers: 8%–10% Entertainment/Music: 8%–10% Photography/Videography: 10%–12% Stationery: 2%–3% Wedding Rings: 2%–3% Parking/Transportation: 2%–3% Gifts: 2%–3% Miscellaneous: 8% To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a "just-in-case" fund. And definitely don't forget to budget for your honeymoon if you're covering it yourselves.
Your Wedding is a celebration of the love the two of you share but you're going to have a lot of opinions about it along the way.
Planning a wedding is hard work and sticking to your budget is even harder. This is where a wedding planner comes in handy! Wedding Planners will help you stick to your budget and help take out some of the stress of planning your big day. After all, planning your special day should be FUN!
Meg's Do's and Don'ts for your wedding budget:
Do Put The Budget First - plan ahead before any spending and refer back to your budget as you go along
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff - not every wedding is going to have a $30,000 budget so if you can't afford the pretty chair covers don't spring for them. Perhaps try to find a more budget friendly DIY version.
Do Allocate Funds Based On YOUR Priorities - If your dream is to have a big beautiful ceremony don't spend half your budget on the reception. If your dream is to have a big party after the ceremony don't skimp on the entertainment allocations.
Don't Forget To Have Fun - wedding planners can help make sure you don't stress too much about your wedding budget, but if you can't afford one just make sure you don't forget to put in that budget cushion for those things you just can't live without on your special day. Trust me, they will pop up!