Budgeting for weddings is an ugly task, especially cause you want to get to the ‘fun’ stuff. There are a lot of hidden costs, also sneaky ways to save money. Secondly, don’t be fooled by wedding blogs who post things on Pinterest. There is a cost behind every perfect post.
Before you start picking out the dress and getting the guest list ready here are my tips. It’s a piece of “CAKE”
- CLEARLY IDENTIFY WHO IS PAYING FOR THE WEDDING AND HOW THE FUNDS ARE TO BE ACCESSED.
- ADD 10% TO YOUR FINAL BUDGET, I KNOW A LOT OF GUIDES SAY 5% BUT IN MY EXPERIENCE, IT IS 10%
- KEEP YOUR MUST HAVES NARROWED DOWN TO 3
- ESTIMATE THAT ONLY 85% OF YOUR GUESTS WILL ATTEND, BUT INVITE 100%
Clearly identify who is paying for the wedding and how the funds are to be accessed.
Are mom and dad footing the bill for everything? Are his mom and dad okay with paying for things?
How much of your personal money is going into this?
If both sets of parents are paying- make sure to word the invite accordingly as they are the hosts
If you are paying for some and parents are paying for some, make sure to clear it with the folks on how to word the invitation.
If you are paying for all of it with your partner- you are the hosts.
The Brides parents pay for about 80% of the costs of the wedding. The Grooms side about 20%. there are traditional ways outlined but to make it easy, the Grooms Parents pay for the rehearsal dinner (it could go either way on the dinner), grooms attire, groomsmen’s attire and gifts, marriage license fees, officiate fees and the brides bouquet, all the boutonnieres, and if the bride wants corsages instead of bouquets for her bridesmaids, traditionally the grooms family will pay for corsages.
Also, understand how all the funds will be accessed. is it a pool to draw from with a debit card? Will parents need to write checks out? Make sure everyone is on the same table so that when it comes time to pay- there’s no issues or waiting. Especially where deposits are concerned. you don’t want to lose that perfect venue cause you were waiting for Mom to get to the bank.
Add 10% to your final budget, I know a lot of guides say 5% but in my experience, it is 10%
There is always a percentage to add to the final budget once you know how much you have to spend. My advice is to add 10%. I say this from experience. The extra buffer will account for tips, service fees, delivery fees, last minute things like umbrellas or a canopy for an outdoor wedding or emergency fees if a vendor backs out, some vendors may charge a premium for short notice. Continually revisit your budget so that if you saved some where, you can update it.
Keep your MUST HAVES narrowed down to 3
I’ve had Brides fight me on this and its because they get overwhelmed with all the options and ideas out there. Truly, keep your must haves narrowed down to 3. It could be photography, flowers, and music – if those are the most important event must haves then that’s where you can spend the bulk of your time researching and honing it down to make it special and know your budget is accounted for. Your top 3 could be the venue, the food, and the dress- again spend your time on those things to get it right for your big day. (if food is a priority, make sure you have an estimated headcount to help with your budgeting.) Once you have those top 3 items contracted and in the books, deposits paid, the rest of the wedding will be pretty easy cause now you know 1) how much of your budget is left 2) you got in the items you wanted most. YOU wanted..not your parents, not your friends, not even your Groom. YOU. 3) It will be easier to manage your budget and make cuts in the budget after you have what you want locked down. Be mindful that you keep your expenses reasonable so that you do have money left over for the other items needed.
Estimate that only 85% of your guests will attend, but invite 100%
It is rare to have 100% of your invited list come to your wedding. So plan on 85%. this will help you with your headcount to your caterer. Also the amount of invitations you send, does not mean the amount of people that are invited. One invitation could go to a household of 5. So be clear on your guest list how many would be actually coming from that household. The more guests you invite, the more it adds to the cost of the wedding( meals, tables, chairs, centerpieces, cake) So when looking to manage the budget, cut your guest list. This may even include your wedding party like bridesmaids and groomsmen.
I hope my little guide will help you out for your wedding. Let me know if you need more information or costs on hiring me as your Planner, Muyly@muylymillerweddings.com.