Everyone's favorite part of event planning... BUDGET. Just kidding. It's definitely not my favorite but it is NECESSARY for your wedding and you'll be less stressed on your big day. Even though we are talking particularly about a wedding you could easily adapt these ideas for a baby shower, your annual Halloween party, or a holiday work party.
The first thing to consider is where is the money coming from? How much are you personally putting into the budget. What about your family or your fiance's family? You need to have a grand total of how much money you have to spend. It's very traditional that the bride's family pays for the ceremony, florals, bride's attire, photographer, videographer, and transportation but that doesn't mean you have to plan your wedding that day. The key here is to make sure you talk with each party who plays a financial role in the wedding. Once you know who is paying for what, outline those details in your budget spreadsheet. That way you don't forget!
Next item to work on is figuring out how much you should spend in each area. From my research and working with brides, the breakdown usually looks something like this.
- Reception: 50%
- Ceremony: 5%
- Attire: 10%
- Florals: 10%
- Photography and/or Videography: 12%
- Stationary: 2%
- Wedding Rings: 2%
- Parking & Transportation: 2%
- Bridal Party Gifts: 2%
- Misc: 5%
Remember, your budget DOESN'T have to follow these norms but these are what I've seen in the past.
Knowing your percentage breakdown helps you stay with in your budget. Only have $1,600 to spend on flowers? Shop around! Don't just talk with one florist. Talk with 3-5. Get a proposal from each of them and negotiate. Ask about flowers that are easily sourced during the month of your wedding. Ask them about any specials they have. Want a full looking bouquet but 36 stems puts you over budget? Lower the stem count! You'll still get a gorgeous, full bouquet for a fraction of the cost. You should also shop around for photographers, videographers, DJs, caterers, and rental companies. Make sure you find vendors that understand your vision but also make sense for your budget
Always track your spending. Doesn't matter if you put down a deposit or went to three different Hobby Lobby's looking for lanterns. Keep those receipts and add them to your spending tracker as soon as you get home. That way you don't forget how much you've spent in a particular area and where that money is coming from. The more you track, the more on budget or even under you will be. Tracking allows you to see in real time where your money is going on a day-to-day basis, which can help you make changes when necessary. If you've overspent on your wedding dress just a bit then just reduce your spending in another area like decor. You'd be amazed at how inexpensive decor can be if you just shop around.
Keep all of your financial contributors involved. Budgeting for a wedding is time consuming and you shouldn't have to do it all on your own. Keep your finance in the loop, have them help you reach out to vendors or go shopping with you for decor. If your families are covering the cost of booking a block of rooms, give them a detailed invoice of what that block of rooms cost, that way everyone knows what's going on. Not only will it help you relieve stress but they may have other ideas you hadn't considered! Plus when everyone is in the know you will keep better track of your budget all together.
If you're old school like me, then you enjoy tracking things in Microsoft Excel. It's really satisfying seeing cells change when your under or over budget. It's even better when the cells turn a different color because they are over budget! Download my free Basic Event Budget below and get to planning!
The best thing to remember is that you should BE FLEXIBLE. Sometimes you spend more in areas you weren't planning on but you an easily make changes to your budget. Just keep at it, don't be afraid to ask your family or fiance for help, and remember that all of this planning will lead to your dream wedding!
xo - Jillian