Updated: Aug 1, 2020
THIS is the budget post you've been waiting for! The topics I'll be covering today are how to format a budget, how to get the most out of your budget, some money-saving tips, and some great budget templates that you can use. If you're not a finances person, you're about to be! The budget is THE most important piece of your wedding, and it can make or break your special day. If you do not stick to your budget or if you do not budget correctly, your future with your spouse could start off rocky and in debt. If the budget is correctly used and adhered to, then your wedding is set up for success (from a financial standpoint). The budget is not something you can afford to mess up, so pay close attention to this post!
This is where I'll drop my first helpful tip of today. One of the first things that my fiance and I did for our wedding was open up a joint account for our wedding. We decided on a checking account, so that we could each get a debit card to make wedding purchases. So far this has been a great way for us to keep better track of the money that we were both saving and spending for our wedding. I would absolutely recommend opening a wedding account to other couples to help them budget. When creating your budget, you have two options: you can start from scratch, or you can use a pre-existing template. If you are starting from scratch, you'll want to use Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. Both of these programs are great because they allow for different tabs, and you can carry budget formulas and numbers throughout the tabs. This will ensure accuracy and consistency throughout your spreadsheet. You will also want to make sure that your budget includes: a tab for your wedding account debits and credits (if applicable), a tab for itemized expenses (and their category), and a budget breakdown of how much you would like to spend in each category. These 3 pieces will come together to form your detailed wedding budget. If you're new to budgeting, I have just the template for you. Google spreadsheet has a wedding planning template that includes to do lists, guest list, seating chart, and a couple of budget sheets. Check it out HERE. For as much as I love this document, I do think it is missing some important pieces that I mentioned above. I would recommend using this outline in conjunction with a more detailed budget. Your wedding planner will have their own budget template that they will go over with you. Each planner has their own style.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Budget
Update it regularly! I can't stress this enough. When you create your budget document, you'll also want to have a wedding budget in mind. If you don't have a set budget yet, there are a few different methods of coming up with a feasible number that you'll both be comfortable spending. One method is to think about how much you think you could each save per month on your current salary. Multiply those numbers by the number of months leading up to you wedding and voila! you have an idea of your budget. Another method of creating your budget is to start pricing everything (catering, venue, photographer, DJ, planner, etc.) out and see what is logical to spend in each of those categories. You'll want to make sure you do thorough research and contact a few vendors in each category to compare. Once you have an idea of how much each item will cost, you will have to figure out your "absolutely need-its" and your "I-can-live-withouts." Read on for some money-saving tips for the "I-can-live-withouts."
The wedding factors that will affect your budget the most will be: guest count, day of week, and time of day. The lower the guest count, the lower the cost (meal costs are one of the bigger expenses and they are priced per person). Day of the week matters, too. Saturdays are the most expensive days to rent wedding venues, followed by Fridays and Sundays, and then other weekdays. If you are willing to have your wedding on a weekday, the cost for the venue will be far less (if a traditional wedding or event venue. This may not be true of unique venues like parks, public places, etc). Morning/ Afternoon weddings also cost less than evening weddings.
Besides cutting your guest list or re-thinking your date/ time, there are also some less drastic steps you can take to save some money:
DIY Decor-This option may not always save you money. Read my blog post "To DIY or Not to DIY" to find out if this route will save you money, and to see how you can get started in making your own wedding decor.
Week-Of-Coordination- If you are a very hands-on couple and like the challenge of planning your own wedding, you may want to consider hiring a week of coordinator instead of a full wedding planner. Hiring a week of wedding coordinator will mean that you can plan everything the way you want it and your coordinator will come in about a month before your wedding to start taking over communication with vendors and to ensure that you can be stress free and actually enjoy your big day. Your week of coordinator will help solve any last minute problems that may come up. For more about my week-of coordination package, click HERE.
Get Your Family to Help With Food- If your venue does not require a licensed catering company, providing your own food to guests could be a great cost-effective alternative for you. If your family would like to pitch in and help make the food, that's always an added bonus! This is especially great for traditional cultural dishes, because we know that nothing beats the homemade version. This can go for dessert too, which can save you a lot of money. Be mindful that this will be more time consuming than hiring a caterer and you'll want to make sure all food is cooked to a safe standard so none of your guests get sick. The worst thing would be to have to assume liability for contaminated or undercooked food.
DIY Invites- Have you considered sending out electronic invites or printing out/making your own at home? This could save you a few hundred dollars depending on the size of the wedding; however, it will be more time-consuming.
That's all I have for this post! Stay tuned for a future post on what your wedding planning timeline should look like- Subscribe to my blog so you don't miss out on all of the latest tips! See you next time,