Recently, we’ve noticed a number of brides planning their own weddings without a budget in place. With a budget in place, you have the opportunity to know exactly what your money is going towards and how much you can afford for each wedding area or aspect. While shopping, looking at venues, searching for dresses & rings are exciting, not having a good budget in place can cause problems later on in the process.
For example, recently we were contracted to do Brian and Angela’s wedding. Angela had already gone ahead and secured a venue before contacting us. She didn’t have all of the information she needed and unfortunately with fees and hidden costs spent nearly 70% of what they ultimately had available as a budget. This didn’t allow her to do the types of things she would like to have done for the rest of her wedding. She and Brian ended up scrimping in other areas… The dress, the rings, a good DJ, a talented photographer, and the beautiful floral arrangements she wanted. Instead they were left with the minimum in all those areas; which not only was disappointing for her, but for Brian as well since they weren’t able to do some of the items on his list for the reception either.
While having a solid wedding budget in place doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get everything you want, it does guarantee that you will get the greatest majority of things you like. Having a plan in place gives you the opportunity to identify the areas that are most important to you and your fiancé. It gives you the ability to know what type of money you have to work with and be able to negotiate for the highest quality vendors with the price that you can afford.
By placing a budget in place before you start shopping, you have the opportunity to decide what’s most important to you and what areas you can do without or less of. When you know where you are in your budget, it’s easier to track your purchases and make decisions along the way. You can choose to spend more money in one area and cut expenses in other area that may not be as important.
Planning a budget can appear as “work,” but the time spent organizing your resources is well worth what you are up to. You are planning a once in a lifetime event. Everything will not always go by the plan, so discussions between you and your fiancé (before making commitments) are vital. Make and take the time to plan out a budget and you may find an opportunity to actually end up with more than you thought you could!
Below is a brief list and breakdown of how a good wedding budget should be laid out, giving you the percentages of where your money should go. You can certainly adjust these numbers to your specific needs, however you’ll find that these are pretty much spot on for most budget amounts. There will be areas on this work list that you don’t feel you need or are important to you and of course you can get rid of them.
(The worksheet below is from our published book “Now and Forever”)
Your Personal Wedding Budget Worksheet
When it comes to spending your (or your parents’) hard earned money, the power you have vested in you is not to be taken lightly. Use these suggested percentages as a guideline to figure out how much to allot to each component. We have placed them in order of the percentage of your budget that will be used to fulfill them.
This may not be in order of what you are focused on personally, but this will be pretty close to where you will spend your money. So, keeping to a budget, (any budget) is vital to keep on track and not run out of money before all of the pieces are in place! “If you can work your budget your budget will work for you” .
(Adjust the numbers as you wish; just make sure the total adds up to 100%)
Reception 45%- Venue, rentals, food service, beverages
Clothing 5-10 %- Gown and accessories, tuxes and accessories
Flowers &Decorations 5-10%
Photographs & Video 5-10%
Favors and Gifts 2%
Wedding Rings 2 %
Wedding Planner 10-15%