Your wedding is most likely going to be the biggest party you’ve ever hosted. It’s expected that you’ll want to include everything you envisioned since you were a little girl. However, now that you have some adulting experience under your belt, you know that fairy god mothers don’t exist, and you’ll need money to make this magical event happen.
Create a budget
After you said “Yes!” you and your partner probably had a discussion of what season you both expect the wedding to take place. The two of you will decide where you want for the perfect wedding venue. Moving forward, it’s important to stay true to your initial vision. Don’t prolong setting a budget of how much you’re willing to spend to bring your ideas to life.
It’s easy to get caught up looking through different DIY wedding blogs. You’ll find yourself pinning your dreams to a vision board. Let it be known that the more realistic your budget is, the easier it is to find the right resources to help make your fantasy become a reality.
The average U.S. wedding costs $26,522 for 135 guests, according to Brides American Wedding Study. While 25 percent of couples get help, nearly 50 percent cover the entire expense themselves. One in three couples go over their budget. Yes, one in three. When setting a budget the most important thing is to stick with it!
How do you make a wedding budget? Tally up all of your current savings and available funds. After researching some things you would like to include in the wedding, decide on a total amount you and your partner feel comfortable spending. Make a spreadsheet that includes:
- Estimated Cost
- Actual Cost
- Deposit Due Date
- Deposit Paid
- Balance Due
- Details About Payment
Even though you haven’t made any calls or appointments yet, setting up a spreadsheet allows you to know what you’ll expect to spend in an organized manner.
Once you begin making calls and receiving quotes, update the spreadsheet. Subtract the money you’re spending from the total available wedding funds. Try to make as few exceptions as possible.
The amount you have to spend on your wedding should be directly proportional to three sources: you and your fiancé’s individual savings, the amount you set aside from your current incomes, plus any contributions from parents or loved ones.
In addition, you two should have an emergency fund. The research doesn’t lie, life throws unexpected curve balls. You won’t want to dip into your wedding funds to pay for life events like car repairs, or an untimely hospital bill. Avoid the stress and make sure you’re setting up an emergency fund. A realistic target for an emergency fund is anywhere from three to six months of expenses put aside. Although it might be tight with your wedding, having at least a few months of cushioning can save you from dipping into the wedding funds for life expenses.
Establish your priorities
As you plan your wedding, skip anything that isn’t of importance to you. There are many different kinds of weddings out there. Don’t limit yourself to the traditions of your family, or what the latest celebrity trends are. Stay true to what makes sense for you and your loved one. It doesn’t take a fortune to fill your day with little sentiments that honors the relationship you and your significant other share together.
Focus on things like the feel, mood, and style you want to create. Fun and fancy can co-exist, but what is more important? If you want to have a low-key ceremony and a fine dining reception, look to spend more on your dinner and reception. Find ways to save on the initial ceremony. Maybe you want to have a luxury ceremony and a upbeat care-free reception, so you can save money on the food.
Get the basics and upgrade afterward. Avoid upgrading anything with the vendors until you have most of the day planned and paid for. Once everything is in order if you have left over funds, splurge in an area you initially were conservative in.
You and your partner should pick your top three priorities for the wedding day. These could be just about anything: Live music, an open bar, or that expensive photographer your friend used for their wedding day. Either way, make a point to work out what matters most to you as a couple then plan everything around those key pieces.
Because you and your partner are most likely footing the bill, the smartest thing you can do is to research ways to get the most out of the funds you have. Never be afraid to ask if vendors offer discounts during certain seasons, or if they have packages that cut the cost of their services. These provide you more value for the money you’re spending.
There are a lot of financing options that allow you to access the money you need without going into debt. If you have displayed a history of using credit with discipline, look into cash back credit cards. These cards are considered resourceful tools for weddings in that offer somewhere usually between a one to six percent discount on most purchases. These cards can compliment your budget as you’ll earn money back on all your wedding expenses.In return you’ll get money credited to your bank account and avoid going over budget.
In addition to any rewards you’ll earn, credit cards offer many types of return protections. If any of your wedding decor or items become lost, damaged, or stolen, you’re not at a loss for the money that has been spent. This provides another way to reduce any pre-wedding anxiety and save money.
Get the right tools
There are countless blogs that give great advice in terms of hiring a wedding planner to reduce stress. Yet, with today’s technology, there’s no reason to pay someone for what you can do yourself with a website or app. Gone are the days of toting around three ring binders of details with sample fabrics pinned to the pages. Though not all resources are free, they’re cheaper than the cost of a wedding planner. You don’t necessarily have to be tech-savvy to figure them out. You just need a will, and internet connection to provide the way.
Here are a few of the top sites for all your wedding planning needs:
- Appy Couple – With a app and website, Appy Couple lets you manage your budget, keep track of timelines, find inspiration for décor, and consult a travel and destination guideline to help make hotel arrangements for out-of-town guests.
- Wedding Planner by The Knot – Offers a personalized checklist of things to do, along with budgeting options. It offers the ability to search through over 250,000 wedding vendors before contacting them through the app. You can set up tours of potential wedding venues, and have access to top recommendations for flowers and dresses.
- WedHappy – Lets you know what tasks need to be done when, and sends notifications when tasks are due or vendor payments need to be made. Manage your vendors, and even assign tasks to bridesmaids or friends. You don’t need a network connection to access the app, so plan on the go even without wifi.
- Thumbtack – Use the app to find a hairstylist, makeup artist, floral designer, DJ, band, and many other wedding-related vendors.
Last but not least
Don’t be afraid to ask friends for help. Even though it’s you and your sweetheart’s big day, your loved ones and close friends don’t have to be excluded when it comes to getting things done. It’s okay to delegate some tasks to the ones you trust. You don’t have to be involved in every detail. Ask advice for ways to save money, or tips your friends used to upcycle gifts and make DIY projects that don’t take much money, effort, or time. You’d be surprised what people know and are more than willing to offer when it comes to making your wedding day the celebration of a lifetime!