Congratulations! You just got engaged. Oh the bliss, the elation...the COST! After the cloud9 feeling you get in the first few weeks of the engagement, you’ll want to dive into the planning head first. You’ll pin anything and everything you love and with little idea of how much it costs.
Here’s the problem with that: how do you know what to plan for or who to hire if you're not sure what your budget is? I often hear this from couples when I’m sitting with them for a consulting session, "Oh we've already booked our venue." Okay, so what's your budget and their response is typically, “well we don’t know yet.” One of two things happened here,
The couple booked a venue that may or may have not been within their budget and will either have to cancel and lose their deposit OR they’ll have to sacrifice important elements of their wedding to pay the final venue fee.
Or, they picked the venue because it was cheap compared to the others they called, which in turn may or may not fit with their style and already off to a bad start in having the wedding of their dreams.
Here's your 5-step guide to help you figure out how to pay for the whole shebang.
Set a date night where you can both be present to brainstorm wedding ideas and plans.
Set a budget: Most of the couples I work with are paying for the wedding themselves with a little help from parents or family. The first order of business during my consults is the budget. This is going to be a huge goal especially when you’re planning a $50k + wedding.
Pick your wedding date so you know what time frame you have to work with on your budget plan. The average timeline couples are using to plan is 8-10 months.
Discuss amongst yourselves what you can realistically set aside from your checks each month to make that goal happen. Whatever budget you come up with add an emergency fund 5 - 10% of the overall budget. After factoring out your emergency budget, that’s what your true budget is.
Keep track of all expenses and balances using this free wedding budget spreadsheet I made to help with this process or an app like Clarity Money. Depending on what’s realistic with your schedule, you can update the budget bi-weekly or on a monthly basis to view your budget in real time. Before you make the decision to hire someone or execute on a plan, always look at the budget.
Last but not least, to help you get an idea of what we just talked about, here are 2 real-world examples using this budget guide.
Couple 1 saved $60,000 each and every month for 10 months. So they were putting in $6000 a month to save up $60,000 for their 100 person wedding.
Budget: $6000 x 10 = $60,000.00
Emergency fund: 7% = $4,200.00
True budget: $60,000 - $4,200 = $55,800.00
Per person: $558.00
Couple 2 were a little more limited on their wedding contributions so they agreed to have a longer engagement and finance the remainder of their budget as necessary. This couple has agreed to save $4,000 per month for the next 14 months for their 100 guest wedding.
Budget: $4500 x 14 = $63,000.00
Emergency fund: 5% = $3,150.00
True budget: $63,000 - $3,150 = $59,850.00
Per person: 598.50
To help my couples understand the investment I typically parcel out the budget in ‘per person’ format because the majority of vendors like catering, beverages, bar services, or dessert are calculated on a per person basis.
Budgeting is my favorite topic and also the most gratifying part to the planning process. With a budget in place there is a clear understanding of what your obligations and limitations are. This will greatly save you time, money and prevent stress. Also once that’s in place, a real plan will begin to take form. Have you already figured out your budget and ready for the next step? Check out what to do next in my post about how to parcel out your budget or if you’re even further than that you can check out how to find the perfect wedding venue.
Have any questions or need assistance? I'm available for consultations a few times per month. Find out more about consulting services by contact us now.