Photo credit: Picotte Photography
You’re engaged. Visions of gowns, flowers, cakes fill your head. You spend hours searching for ideas on Pinterest and The Knot. You’re feeling creative, dreaming of beauty, and relishing in being in love. How long have you been starring at that rock on your finger? The last thing you want to think about is money.
Photo credit: Photojenic
But wait! Before any of those visions can become reality, you must set a wedding budget. It allows you to understand what you can and can’t afford. The budget will be the roadmap for every single decision you make. Would you take a road trip without a GPS? Of course you wouldn’t. Don’t plan a wedding without a budget, or you could end up on a long road to stress and debt.
Whether you’re paying for your wedding yourself, or getting support from your family members, you must decide what the overall budget is. You must sit down with your fiancé and family, if they are contributing. It’s a subject that has to be addressed. Do it early, and get that uncomfortable situation behind you. Only then, can you begin choosing venues, vendors, and even your wedding gown. Don’t visit venues or vendors until you’ve done this. Once contracts are signed, there is no turning back. This is especially true where venues are concerned. Most require food and beverage minimums.
A multitude of wedding planning websites, offer a free budget planning tool. They use a standard formula based on the national average to break down your budget, by categories and percentages. Sounds like a useful tool doesn’t it? It can be, if you’re exactly like the millions of other brides using it. But you’re not like everyone else. I haven’t met one couple, whose budget is exactly the same as another. Your priorities are unique to your life and style. Budget tools don’t know this about you. A couple who considers themselves foodies will put a priority on food and beverage. Another couple may place a higher priority on design and décor. If you take advantage of these free tools, be prepared to make adjustments based on your priorities. Better yet, hire a professional wedding planner who is an expert in identifying your priorities, tailoring it to your needs, and ensuring that every hard earned dollar is used wisely.
Photo credit: Imagery Immaculate
Now that your armed with you road map, you’re ready to visit prospective venues and vendors. Every vendor will ask you “what is your budget”. It allows them to give you an accurate proposal. If you can’t answer this question, you risk being overcharged. Many wedding professionals will do their best to meet your budget. By knowing your number, they can come up with creative packaging, and you can reach a happy medium.
Planning a dream wedding should be fun. When you’re in a beautiful salon, being presented with stunning gowns, you shouldn’t be worried about money. At your food tasting, when the chef serves a culinary masterpiece, you don’t want to ask him what you can cut out because you’ve blown your budget.
Every experience you have during your planning should be memorable and enjoyable. It can be. By knowing what you can spend before you make any decision, you’ll never feel stress. Instead you’ll be confident and joyous. Get the money issues out of the way and let the fun begin.
Author: Jeannie Ward.
Jeannie is the owner of The Wedding Jeannie. She and her team have successfully planned and designed hundreds of wedding throughout Southern California. Wedding Jeannie is considered a leader and trendsetter in the wedding industry. Their work is consistently featured in bridal publications and blogs.
All photos from The Wedding Jeannie Blog