Let’s face it, the most overwhelming part of planning your wedding is developing (and sticking to) a budget. Your wedding will most likely be the most extensive and most expensive party you’ve ever hosted, and your budget will be the cornerstone of your planning. To set a budget for your wedding, you will need to develop a framework that encompases all expenses incurred for your event.
It sounds like hard work, but putting the time and energy into creating a wedding budget will save you countless headaches along the way and ensure that you’ll live happily ever after. Without further adieu, here are tips that will make your wedding budget simple to create and easy to follow.
Create A Spending Spreadsheet For Estimated, Modified, And Actual Expenses
Once you’ve determined how much money you have set aside to pay for your wedding and reception, create a spreadsheet with columns for estimated, modified, and actual expenses. In the ‘estimated’ column, place amounts that cost in your area will drive; under the ‘modified’ column, place proposals from vendors you have selected, and in the ‘actual’ column, place the final amount you will pay them.
We recommend that when calculating expenses, you begin by choosing a venue as that is typically a large portion of your budget and determines your guest count. Ask vendors to give you estimates with tax included, so you are aware of the final payout. Don’t forget to note which vendors have tips included and which ones you’ll need to adjust the expense to factor in gratuity.
Give Yourself Room For Surprises
While you should never sign on the dotted line without thoroughly reading the fine print, be prepared for some surprises. Small expenses can add up quickly, so if the final cost of the line item isn’t in your budget, cut it.
Realize that some areas of event planning are more open to surprises than others. Transportation for vendors or guests needs to be fail-proof, so understand the details of what is required and what is covered by your vendors. Setup and breakdown services aren’t always included in your contract, or you may be held to certain time restrictions unless you pay more money, so completely understand what is in your agreement.
Be Open To Making Changes
You may find that you are going over budget at every stage in your planning. Be open to finding ways to reduce your overall costs by making changes in critical areas. Venue change itself could put you back into budget depending on what places offer and what is not included in the rental fee.
Plan your wedding in the off-peak season for the best rates. Often rates for venues are slashed in half in off-peak seasons, and you can gain leverage by negotiating with vendors. Consider ways to cut costs, like going with a DJ service rather than a live band. Even the most minor of changes can significantly impact your budget.