As promised in the last blog post “What is a Full-Service Wedding Planner?”, we are diving into the nitty gritty of how a full-service wedding planner can take your stress levels from 100 to 1 in the matter of signing that dotted line. Wedding Budget Tips edition!
Up first is Money Money Money! Excuse me for a moment while I reminisce on some NSYNC now…… “Thank god it’s Friday night, And I just-just-just-just-just…Got paid! Get money, money, money, money (Oh)– Just got paid, Friday night. Party hoppin’, feelin’ right “
Okay but in all seriousness, the money talk is one of the most important conversations you can have when it comes to dreaming up your Wedding Day and setting the expectations for success in the overall process and execution. More importantly, this conversation also helps prepare you for a solid foundation for you and your future husband on one of the most intricate pieces of a marriage. So, with no time to waste- Let’s dive right in! I hope you enjoy and find value in these top-budget tips from your favorite Wilmington NC Full-Service Wedding Planner. 😉
When you start to come off the high of saying “yes” to the man of your dreams, you are likely having one or more of the below thoughts:
· How much does a wedding even cost?
· How much do I budget for and are others contributing?
· What is included in the budget numbers?
· What does the payment process look like?
· Should I allocate a certain amount for a specific vendor category?
So! Are you ready for some intentional wedding budget tips? Keep reading, friend!
How much does a wedding even cost?
This can be a loaded question. The world wide web is happy to provide you with averages of what the average couple spends, but I like to advise you to take that with a grain of salt. What you see on sites like ‘The Knot’ and ‘Wedding Wire’ is average across allll wedding types. That is like saying everyone spends X and X only on their car payment every month. That would not be a fair average for every buyer as the costs would depend on the type of lifestyle the buyer lives; aka; do you drive a Range Rover, or do you drive a Prius? The monthly payments here are going to vary greatly based on your preferences.
So, what do you think about this in a real-life situation such as your Wedding? First, consider all of the variables involved and then weigh them against your priorities. To kick you off on the right thought track, here are some thoughts to consider. . .
Are you planning a destination wedding? Will your guests be traveling in? Are you planning to host your wedding at a resort/or hotel-style venue? What is your rough guest count number? Are you planning on getting married on a weekend or a Holiday? Are you a floral fanatic? Do you prefer a 5-course plated dinner or a family-style buffet? Are you into a fifteen-piece band or do you want to opt for a DJ at your reception? So many moving pieces here, I know!
My biggest advice is to encourage you to sit down with your fiancé and make a list of your priorities. What are your:
- “I must have” wedding elements
- “I really want” wedding elements
- “I can live without” wedding elements
Lastly, keep in mind that your guest count is arguably one of the biggest factors in your overall budget sustainability. On average, our clients spend between $500-$1500 per guest on their overall wedding budget. Having a full-service wedding planner who works directly with you on your budget creation and your budget allocations is a key value that I encourage you to take advantage of to ensure you spend your dollars wisely. The insight a on wedding budget tips a full-service wedding planner can bring to the table regarding current market costs, vendor partners that align with YOUR wedding vision, and knowledge regarding who will deliver above and beyond on their offerings will really serve you in a big way.
How much do I budget for and are others contributing?
I will be very frank with you here; You should only budget for what you are comfortable with as a bride and groom-to-be. Do not skip this step and walk into your marriage on the wrong foot because you avoided the money talk, overspent, and are now in debt.
Weddings are costly and if you do not set a budget, it is easy to steer away from the path you intended to go down. Just like anything in life, don’t spend what you cannot afford. Have the hard conversation at the beginning with your fiancé so that you are not burned later when your guest count came in 50 people over, which in turn costs you an additional 30 grand.
The mother and father of the bride traditionally have a major role in the budget contribution. As traditions change, so does this rule of thumb. In today’s age, we often see the parents of the groom contributing to the budget overall or contributing to other weekend events such as the Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party or the farewell Brunch.
It is also becoming more common today that the couple themselves are interested in contributing to their day as they feel it is a way of saying thank you to your guests for making the time to celebrate with them.
Essentially, there is no black-and-white, right or wrong way. The most important concept of this question is to just have the conversation. Think about people on both the bride’s and groom’s side of the family who has made a valuable impact in your life. (IE; Grandparents, God Parents, Step Parents).
What is included in these budget numbers?
When you are thinking of your overall budget spend, things to consider are what is included. Do you incorporate the wedding gown and tuxedo? What about the hair and makeup for yourself and your bridesmaids? Are you including the wedding rings? Are you traveling and is that cost part of the wedding budget? Will you have a separate honeymoon budget, or will this fall under the Wedding umbrella?
It is also beneficial to consider all of your pre-wedding festivities. Do you plan on paying for your wedding shower, your engagement party, and the bachelor/bachelorette events?
These events, and the travel involved, can quickly add up so I encourage you to allocate some thought to these events as to if they will be considered in your overall budget numbers.
What does the payment process look like?
This is different for every different vendor.
In the wedding Industry, paying a retainer fee to get your services started is standard practice. Retainer fees can vary from 10-50% but I would say that you should expect to put at least 50% of your spend down when you kick off your services with the said vendor. This will hold your date for the vendor and allow them to kick off pre-production.
Upon working with your vendor, you will then likely pay out the remainder of your overall due balance through installments leading up to the wedding day. Essentially, your balance is split into installments based on the vendor’s policies.
Again, every vendor has their practices and will work with you on custom specifics, but this is a good rule of thumb for common practice in the Wedding Industry.
Should I allocate a certain amount for a specific vendor category?
This is where a wedding planner can be really impactful in your budget advisory and spending. It is important to think about the big picture at the get-go of planning for your budget. I advise that you establish a number that is comfortable to you and your fiancé based on who is contributing to your budget. Then work backward from that number to allocate a certain amount per vendor category. This allows you to have a threshold that you don’t wander from but also parameters to work within while sourcing your vendors. Having a wedding planner with insight into the market and a true picture of current market costs are, is key to making a proactive allocation of your spending.
The key here is to not start the other way around (determining the spend per vendor/category first). If you work that way, as the categories begin to stack up into an overall number, you are basically letting them tell you what your overall wedding spend is.
Tell your budget what it is, don’t let it tell you.
By thinking through these questions with the intention, I am confident that you will come out on the other side of the initial budget overwhelm with grace. Budgets shouldn’t be this big ugly scary term everyone avoids. You should instead move forward with confidence as you determine what is important to you and your soon-to-be husband. It is so important to understand your priorities from the get-go. This helps guide you to making smart spending choices but not just that, it also means you are making decisions that will be super impactful and important to you as a couple on your Wedding Day and your future life together.
Wedding Budget Top Tips
- Give yourself some cushion in the budget. Sometimes guest count changes, inflation happens, and rain plans are needed. You can’t prepare for every single ‘what if’, but when you have a budget cushion you are in a safe place when the what ifs become reality.
- Choose a date of significance to you, not just a date because it is a Saturday. You can often save by having a weekday or Fri/Sun Wedding.
- Really consider your guest list. Is there a way that you can reduce your headcount? No children? Select Plus ones?
I hope this week’s wedding budget tips help guide you in the right direction to get out of the budget overwhelm and into best practices when thinking about your wedding budget. If you are over this already and need some guidance in the right direction, let’s chat through my calendar link here. We can work through your budget together to ditch the overwhelm and bring back the joy in wedding planning!