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Wedding Planning - Build The Perfect Wedding Budget First In 2022

Figuring out how much your wedding budget will be is not easy. Your wedding will probably be the biggest party you will ever throw in your life and the most expensive.

This is why in this article entitled "Wedding Planning - Build The Perfect Wedding Budget First," we will guide you on how to make make a budget, add up your savings, and keep a detailed spreadsheet so you don't go over during the planning process.

Be ready for unexpected costs, and make meaningful cuts if you go over your total budget. We know it's hard work, but putting in the time and effort now makes sure you'll live happily ever after and wedding-debt free.

Here's exactly how to make a wedding budget you can stick to.

Average Cost Of A Wedding

Before we go to the list, it is good to be aware of the average cost of a wedding. According to data from Brides, the average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $28,964. This shows how important it is to plan a wedding budget.

Without a budget, you may be more likely to spend too much or go into debt to pay for your wedding. How much you end up spending on a wedding may depend on:

  • Whether you decide to have a local or international wedding
  • How many guests you're inviting
  • Which wedding customs will you uphold? (or new ones you introduce)

The ceremony may cost more depending on how big it is. Micro-weddings, usually with no more than 50 guests, are becoming more popular, according to a 2020 research from Brides.

In addition, 42 percent of couples surveyed by The Knot decided against having a traditional wedding in favor of an even smaller "minimony" with up to 10 guests. It just cost $1,400 on average for a minimony.

Wedding Budget List

A miniature couple sitting on a stack of coins with paper money
A miniature couple sitting on a stack of coins with paper money

These suggestions can help reduce some of the stress involved in the process of planning your wedding budget, so keep them in mind when the time comes.

Step 1 - Check How Much Money You Have

The amount of money available for the wedding is directly related to three sources:

Your own and your fiance's savings: Not as straightforward as checking your bank account. Ideally, you and your spouse have three months' worth of living expenses saved in the event of a job loss or health setback (separate from retirement funds). Subtract this amount from your overall bank balance to determine how much you could allocate toward wedding expenses.

The amount of your present income that you can set aside: After paying off existing debts, such as student loans, set away up to 10 percent of your monthly income. Erin Lowry, a personal finance expert and author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together, recommends establishing "direct deposits into a separate account for wedding expenses so it isn't just leftovers that get saved."

Any contributions from parents or other family members: "Never assume your parents or other loved ones are willing and able to help cover the cost of a wedding," advises Lowry. "But it certainly doesn't hurt to ask."

Step 2 - Determine What To Include

Depending on the type of ceremony, the actual costs of your wedding budget can vary. To make a proper budget, you should list down all the things that you need (and want) to include on your wedding day.

Some of the things you need to consider for your wedding budget:

  • Venue
  • Rental fees for tables and chairs
  • Officiant’s fees
  • Marriage license
  • Catering
  • Alcohol
  • Wedding cake
  • Wedding favors for guests
  • Bridal party/groomsman gifts
  • Bachelor/bachelorette party
  • Flowers and decor
  • Photographer/videographer
  • Music and entertainment
  • Wedding invitations/stationery
  • Bride and groom attire
  • Hairstyling/makeup
  • Wedding bands
  • Transportation
  • Rehearsal dinner

Step 3 - Track Your Spending

Create a spreadsheet with three expense columns: Estimated, Actual, and Modified. Amounts under Estimated will be determined by local cost research, Modified will contain vendor bids, and Actual will contain the final amount you pay them.

Adjust your estimations after obtaining vendor pricing information. Start with the venue because it's the biggest piece of the wedding puzzle and a big part of figuring out how many guests to invite.

When vendors give you estimates, ask if tax is included. If not, do the math yourself with state and local tax rates to change the proposal.

Make a column for the estimated tip. Write "included" if the vendor's price includes tips. (For example, caterers automatically add 15 to 20 percent of the total, which you pay for in advance.)

Step 4 - Prepare for Surprises

Before you sign contracts with vendors or start buying things for gift bags, read the small print. Costs that seem small at first can add up quickly. If the line item's total cost doesn't fit into your overall budget, cut it.

Vendor Transportation

Want to hire a band or photographer from out of town? You might have to buy plane tickets or rent a van. Check the contract again to make sure you understand what it covers.

The set-up and take-down Fees: Cleaning isn't always included, and depending on what time your reception ends, you may have to pay overtime rates.

Custom Drinks

Calder Clark, a top wedding planner in Charleston, South Carolina, says that signature drinks and spirits can add $3,500 to a wedding for 200 people.

Digital Access

Some photographers will charge you up to $1,200 to look at and share your online photos.

Envelope Stuffing

Some stationers charge up to $7 for each invitation. Instead, invite your bridesmaids over, pour some wine, and do it yourself to save money.

Planners

For a Kardashian-sized party, a full-service event designer can charge up to $25,000 or 20 percent of the total budget, but a day-of coordinator costs an average of $1,000.

Before you hire a pro, you should know how much you can spend and take that into account. Many places will only let you have your wedding if you hire their in-house wedding coordinator or bring in your own wedding coordinator from outside.

A three-layer white cake at the end of the long table filled with flowers and candles
A three-layer white cake at the end of the long table filled with flowers and candles

Step 5 - Charge Responsibly

No matter how much you want to use credit cards to make more money, don't go too far. Farnoosh Torabi, the host of the So Money podcast and a financial expert, says, "Never charge anything that you can't pay off in 30 days."

That is unless you get a card with a purchase APR of 0%, which lets you avoid paying interest as long as you pay off the whole balance within a certain time frame (usually 12 to 15 months).

Torabi says that before you swipe the card, you should make a plan for how you will do that. For example, you could ask for cash gifts that you could use to pay for part of the wedding and make a plan to save for the rest. If you do use a credit card, pick one that gives you a lot of cashback.

Step 6 - Find Ways to Save

Over budget? These tips will help you cut your expenses in a big way.

Change The Venue

Raw spaces like barns and lofts may seem like a good deal, but it can cost a lot to make them look nice for a wedding.

Sara Fay Egan, a partner at Jackson Durham Floral and Event Design in Dallas, warns that you might have to bring in tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, silverware, kitchen equipment for the caterer, and even bathrooms and AC or heat.

Before you make a decision, figure out how much a wedding at that place will cost compared to a basic one.

Edit The Guest List

When you add up the cost of the invitation, welcome bag, transportation, slice of cake, and favor for each guest, it is a lot more than the cost of their meal. Clark says, "Never have a B-list, and be cruel with your A-list." If your average reception is for 135 people, cutting the guest list by 15 people will save you about $1,300.

Go When It's Off-Peak

Have a wedding in the winter. You can pick a Friday or a Sunday. Or, instead of a four-course wine-paired dinner, throw a brunch party with mimosas.

Place the ceremony and reception in the same place.

By doing this, the wedding party and guests could save as much as $4,000.

Skip Having A Live Band

The big names can charge up to $30,000, but a DJ will only cost a few thousand dollars.

You Should Write Your Own Invitations

Calligraphy costs a lot of money. If you must have calligraphy on your invitations, you could buy a calligraphy pen and practice until you get it right. It's not hard at all. And only a pro would be able to tell it wasn't done by a pro. There are a lot of tutorials online that you can use as a place to start.

Say No To Upgrades

Saying no to upgrades that aren't necessary is another important way to save money on a wedding. Take what comes with the package or the option with the least amount of money.

Couples' budgets can sometimes go up by thousands of dollars because, for example, they don't like the way the white-on-white tablecloths look. Or they can't sit in the chairs that have been set up for the ceremony.

Use Fewer Vendors

Consider hiring a vendor who can do more than one thing for your big day. For example, if your DJ also does lighting for your venue or if your cake lady also makes edible wedding favors, you could hire them for both jobs. When you buy more from one vendor, you'll always get a better price, and you won't have to pay multiple setup or delivery fees like you would if you hired different vendors for each task.

People Also Ask

What Costs The Most When Planning A Wedding?

The following are some of the biggest expenses that you need to consider when planning a wedding.

  • Wedding location and transportation
  • Flowers and decors
  • Wedding photos and videos
  • Foods and drinks
  • Gowns and suits

What Are 3 Tips To Lowering The Cost Of Your Wedding?

  • Spend money on the aspect of the ceremony that means the most to you.
  • Get married off-season.
  • Create your own table decorations.
  • The bar tab should be kept to a minimum.
  • Be firm with the guest list.
  • Avoid using a limousine or vintage vehicle.

Is $15,000 A Good Budget For A Wedding?

You can still have a fantastic wedding on a $15,000 budget. The trick with a $15,000 budget is to limit the guest list to 50 individuals or less. Sending invitations via email and selecting a venue's buffet option as opposed to a plated meal are two other ways to stay inside your budget.

Conclusion

Even though wedding planning might be challenging, the big day shouldn't be overshadowed by financial concerns.

An excellent place to start is by estimating your costs with an online wedding budget calculator. Then, you may come up with a plan with your prospective spouse to decide how to save for a wedding and who will pay what, enabling you to get married with the least amount of financial stress possible.

Consider the wedding planning process as a crucial opportunity to learn how to negotiate and discuss the significant financial decisions that will undoubtedly affect your future together. Your journey has only just begun.

About The Authors

Landon Morton

Landon Morton - Landon is a professional character coach, motivational speaker, and consultant who values commitment, service, and excellence. Landon brings to your company valuable insights gained from his battlefield experience as a decorated combat veteran, enabling you to unleash the untapped potential of your employees. He illustrates how the invaluable talent that each individual brings to your company will positively affect your mission through real-world examples.

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