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  • Writer's pictureAmy Laskye

Your Wedding Budget - My 2 Cents

No one wants to talk about money. You are entering a marriage where you will have to talk about money; now is the time to start. This conversation is an important one to have with your finance and together, agree to stick to your budget.

It’s fair to ask both sets of parents if they are planning on contributing to the cost of the wedding. My suggestion is to ask to speak to each set separately to remove tension between families; often they won’t contribute the same amount. If they are contributing, have them commit a dollar amount. Add their contributions together with what you are willing to spend and you have an overall dollar figure you can spend.

Many couples take their collective funds and create a budget with that number. This is how much your wedding will are willing to spend . It is imperative to determine who is paying for what and how much. Maybe one set of parents want to pay for the venue & catering while another wants to help with attire & flowers. Writing a budget will keep your expenses from getting out of control. Knowing what you value will help you to know where you are allocating your funds.

Some things to consider before settling your budget. What is important to YOU?

  • If you want a Cinderella wedding in a fancy ballroom with a plated dinner and full orchestra your budget will be much more than if you are hosting a barn wedding and informal BBQ on the farm. In general, there are several major factors that will really affect what you’ll need to set aside. The more formal the affair, the more expensive it will be. A plated dinner is usually more expensive than a buffet, and adding a steak or seafood option will increase your cost. A nice afternoon wedding with hors d’oeuvres will most certainly be less than a plated dinner. Consider the time of your wedding; it will help dictate if a meal is suggested.

  • Most reception caterers and venues charge a per-head cost for food and liquor. This is typically the largest expense of your wedding and changing the guest list size is one way to increase or decrease your cost. The smaller the wedding, the less you will spend on other details as well, including decor, stationery, favors, and rentals. Venues come in all shapes and sizes. Choosing a luxury hotel in the city is going to cost more than a city park, church, or mid-range hotel in the suburbs. Many venues have a per-head minimum and may have additional fees for using their space. Some venues will only allow their kitchen to provide the food while others may let you bring in your own. This is certainly something to ask.

  • Your wedding date and time may affect the cost. Most venues book Saturday’s and holidays first. If you are open something different you can save money by having your wedding on another day of the week. An evening reception is more expensive than an afternoon brunch; not only does dinner cost more, may people tend to drink more in the evening.

  • That brings up the question of alcohol and whether you will host a bar at a wedding. This is YOUR wedding; if you don’t want alcohol on your day, it is alright. If you can not afford it and still want to have it available you may choose a cash bar; your guests will understand.

  • Your florals are another to consider. If you aren’t getting married in the summer when most of the blooms are available you may need to alter what flowers you should use. Some are not available or cost more off-season.

So how are you going to finance your wedding? Determine what you will spend on each item and set your expectations accordingly! The average wedding in 2019 cost $23,000 (excluding the honeymoon). Please add a bonus 5% for contingency; undoubtably there will be items you didn’t budget for but will want.

As soon as you are engaged, start setting aside as much of your income as you can. Saving up to 20% of your monthly income is a lofty goal but totally doable. Remember your priorities and make any sacrifices now verses having to change your budget. The longer your engagement, the more you will be able to save.

Average Cost of Wedding Vendors

Of course, how much wedding pros charge varies—a lot. It's always best to research wedding vendors in your area and ask them about their specific rates (and what those rates include). There are many websites that provide averages but the one I’ll share with you a fabulous tool online to find your regions average pricing. It takes a few minute to complete the information but the results will be worth your time. The Wedding Report.

One final thought

This is YOUR wedding and you should spend your dollars on what matters the most to you. If it is important that your guests have fun you may spend more money on entertainment, catering, and alcohol. After the wedding what remains are your memories and your photographs/video. There are no rights and wrongs so go with your heart.

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