Ah the B word…budgeting. But who said it has to be a scary process and that your budget will definitely be blown? Not necessarily.
Your wedding budget can often be blown because:
– (Like most couples) This is your first time and you don’t know how much things costs or what you need to organise
– Budgeting? Who does that? You don’t know how to actually use a budget spreadsheet or you have never budgeted before
– You start getting ideas or requests from family and friends like “you must do this…” or “you absolutely need to have that…”, therefore more requests = more $$ to spend
– You implemented a budget spreadsheet but you’ve stopped following it after the second day
These may all be valid reasons and happen more often than people think. If you are reading this early enough, there is time for your budget to be saved!!
Just follow my simple tips to stay under budget, stick to them… AND MEAN IT!
First things first…
Sit down with your fiancé with:
– 2 notepads and pens
– A calculator
– Access to the internet
Then go on to these next steps…
1. Questions: Answer the following questions (write down the answers in separate notepads and feel free to write “I don’t know” “or I don’t mind” for some BUT not all questions. Be honest – this is no time to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings)…
(a) Where will you want to get married (locally, interstate or overseas)? – this may also affect any family travelling from overseas etc.
(b) Will you have a priest, celebrant or Rabbi at your ceremony?
(c) How traditional or untraditional do you want your wedding to be?
(d) Do you want your wedding themed? – This can be a particular colour scheme or even a particular style (such as Art Deco or Circus theme), but not a necessity
(e) The reception, will it be breakfast, brunch, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner?
(f) What style of food service will you want (write down a 2 options each)? 3-course, cocktail, etc.
(g) Will you want to invite everyone you’ve ever met or just family and close friends? – Now really ask yourselves this question. Most people understand that these things costs money and your parent’s neighbour’s sister Rose may not be as upset if she doesn’t get an invite as you might think
(h) Will you want to decorate the venue/s with flowers, fabrics or other pieces? Or will be it be simple with no decorations?
(i) And finally, write down 2 most important aspects of your wedding – this may be the photography and food or the attire and the entertainment
2. Compare: Now that you have both finished and answered honestly, compare your answers. Don’t spend too long on this. If you have different answers, don’t get too hung up on your differences (this is not what this is about, so compare and move on)
3. Accept: If you have different answers or you had “I don’t know” or “I don’t mind” against any answers, that’s perfectly ok. The important thing to remember here is that you need to be ok with having different opinions, better early on, rather than discovering this closer to the date.
Ideally, you want to tackle the foreseeable problems or hiccups now which result from difference of opinions. It also helps you both accept that no two people are the same and you will have different perspective on little details about your wedding. In the grand scheme of things, this is one day that doesn’t define who you are as a couple. A lot of couples take it as far as doubting the relationship, so you need to put this way of thinking in its place early on before you start making big decisions.
Acceptance of different opinions is key here.
If you cannot compromise on a choice of flowers etc, then ask your florist for an alternative option that has a little from column A and column B and go with that.
4. Let go: This is a particularly hard one to tackle for most couples, but once you do, it will save you A LOT of money! Forget the idea of what a wedding is meant to have and not have. There is no right or wrong thing to do or items to include (unless your wedding has to follow certain religious themes etc). The sooner you let go of the thinking, the more money that you will save.
Also looking back to your answers for question “(i)” above, this is a time to keep your ultimate priorities on the horizon. Your answers here will define what you will be willing to let go of and what is important to you both. Collectively, you should have 2 – 4 priorities to stick to.
5. Time to start: Now you know what your main priorities are, it’s time to set a budget. Remember there is no right or wrong here and please know that this is not as daunting as you may think it is.
Again there is no accurate percentage to follow for how much things cost. The costs of wedding products and service are heavily based on the quality of that item and how high up they sit on your priorities list. It varies from country to country as well as from vendor to vendor, but that’s another article for another date.
Setting your budget all comes down to your priorities. I’ll say it again… setting your budget all comes down to your priorities! Now, for example, unless you’re having your wedding at a family or friend’s property (or venue where there is no venue hire) you may want to consider a venue that’s all inclusive of food and beverage. In most cases, the venue hire will take anywhere up to 40% of your overall budget. Again this is heavily dependant on the area you’re getting married in and their inclusions.
“But how will you know how much things cost?” I hear you ask. Well, there are no set rules here. So, the best thing to do is choose some vendors that you absolutely love, place an enquiry with them and use their prices as a guide to get you started.
Once you have a general idea of how much things costs you can have a look at those items that are at the top of your priorities list, and sort see what the damage would be (if money was no object).
Here is an example of a priorities budget (in percentages), of a particular couple:
Tony and Ben have decided to hire an all inclusive venue that has in-house catering/bar for their 80 friends and family (including them). They work in the food industry so food and beverage is extremely important, as is photography and music. While they have made a great emphasis on their top 3 priorities being the most expensive against other categories, they are prepared to DIY their secondary and tertiary priorities.
They have a handful of venue/food vendors who they know and have obtained their price from. In their area, they range between $120 – $150 per person (inclusive of venue hire, main furniture, food beverage and wait/kitchen staff). Everything else such as styling, cake, etc will be at an additional cost to Tony and Ben. This gives the boys a ball park figure of cost per person to start with.
The boys’ main priorities are as follows, in order of preference:
(a) venue, amazing food/beverages
(b) quality photography
(c) live band/entertainment
Tony and Ben’s overall budget is $40,000, therefore:
Venue and food/beverages = 40% (or $16,000)
Photographer 20% (or $8,000)
Entertainment 10% (or $4,000)
= 70% of the overall budget spent so far (or $28,000)
They are currently left with 30% (or $12,000) of their overall budget to spend on the remaining items. From this remaining amount, they will cover their secondary and tertiary priorities list and allocate funds accordingly.
By allocating 70% of their budget on their primary priorities, Tony and Ben know that they won’t need to compromised on their top picks. This also means less arguments as they can always skim on their secondary or tertiary priorities.
Remember, that although you’ve allocated $6,000 for a wedding photographer, you may find one you love for half the cost. So, awesome, you can now put the remaining $3,000 of the photography budget into something else or save it for the honeymoon!
6. The finish line: if you want to stay as close to your budget as possible, update and FOLLOW a budget spreadsheet! Your budget will quickly spiral out of control and you may be faced with a very hard decisions to cut down on your main priorities – which you don’t want to do.
Fill it in at every purchase so that you can take responsibility for how much you have spent and how much is left to spend, keeping you in control of your spending. Once you have used funds from a category, do not dip into other areas unless savings from those categories have been made. Period!
Just to recap, as I know I’ve said too much, here’s the low down:
1. Write down your primary wedding priorities (choose 2 each)
2. Compare your priorities list
3. Accept each other’s priorities list
4. Let go of what a wedding should look like! It’s your wedding, not anyone else’s, so don’t be afraid to say no to outside influences
5. Set your priorities budget percentages
6. Use and follow a budget spreadsheet, USE AND FOLLOW A BUDGET SPREADSHEET!
Now, get budgeting and take control of your wedding.
On the next episode of ‘Weddinging with Ms. Luz-Vegas’…the infamous budget spreadsheet – with formulas, tables and shit. Yesssssssss!!!!