My advice in the beginning of the process is to enjoy the little butterflies that form when you first get engaged, take in the happiness, and remember no matter where your wedding plans take you, it is not worth losing sleep or fighting with your loved ones. A wedding day is a day to celebrate your love with your closest family and friends, never forget that.
I preface this chapter with this paragraph because it’s always a nice reminder, especially when talking about money with family, that at the end of the day the wedding is one day and it’s not worth sacrificing relationships with family and friends.
Try to also keep this in mind when attending friend’s weddings or when you have family members consistently calling/texting asking wedding questions that frankly don’t need an immediate answer because the wedding is nowhere near in time and the family can wait until you update your wedding website with helpful wedding information...
So now the wedding budget. I highly suggest pairing this chapter with a nice glass of wine or favorite beverage and prepare for one of the harder parts of a wedding...the budget.
Every single wedding is different and every single wedding wants different things so I tried to break it down as simply as I can in three steps (continued on next page).
Three Steps to Planning Your Budget
1. Create a wedding email account with your names and use that solely for the wedding planning. You’ll thank me later for doing this but it’s so important to create a separation between your personal/business life and your wedding life. If you elect to use a certain domain for your email, sometimes they will include an excel sheet and I recommend using that excel sheet and listing every item I have put here:
2. *Use Reference Exel Below*
3. In this budget sheet, I’ve added as many items you can have for a wedding but you do not necessarily HAVE to have a Photo Booth or Welcome Bags for example, so remove any of the categories that do not apply to your wedding. If you want to add vendors like fireworks or afterparty, please do so. Also, to note, we are a service based industry so tips are always appreciated but not always a necessity. Think of us like servers in a restaurant, they provide a service, do you provide a tip? If you are going to provide a tip, definitely be sure to allocate an amount, how much? We”ll go over that amount on a different page but allocate about $100-$200 per big vendor if you want to have an idea. Big vendors are: photography, videography, planner, entertainment, officiant, and hair and make up. Some vendors require a tip (as part of their fee) and this should be stated in their contracts so it all really depends on who you hire for your wedding but it’s good to start compiling all the numbers now.
You’re probably thinking, Ok...I have my excel but how much do I allocate for each vendor? Allocating funds before reaching out to vendors is challenging and we discuss this in the next few chapters but for right now focus on:
Not a problem, our next chapter goes over family talk but for now, look over this excel document, know which categories will apply to your wedding (if including tipping) and be sure to always remember the budget.
Also think about your WANTS versus NEEDS for budgeting purposes. You really “want” a photo booth but you “need” a photographer. You really “want” nice linens but you “need” a standard in house linen.
My number one priority as a wedding planner is to always keep my clients within budget but a lot of planners allow about 10% leeway over budget just in case a few guests don’t show up...one item I always mention is DO NOT go into debt over your wedding...it’s a day to celebrate your love, not a day to create massive debt in the beginning parts of your marriage.
Another item to consider for your wedding and depending which state you’re in is wedding insurance. Unfortunately wedding insurance does not cover the pandemic but it does cover other very apparent problems in the wedding industry so definitely look into insurance for your wedding, I have a whole chapter on this as well and it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive insurance plan but I highly recommend keeping it in the budget.
Included in your budget sheet are two important categories that might not pertain to your wedding: REHEARSAL DINNER/DAY AFTER BRUNCH. Those categories can be pretty big numbers in comparison to other vendors so be sure to clarify if that is included in the total wedding budget or not. It’s also a great item for parents or family to cover as part of the wedding help fund.