I don’t think I’d be the odd woman out if I said that wedding budget management is not fun. In fact, it’s a major pain. But it’s also an absolute necessity, a top priority in the wedding planning process. As difficult as it is to muddle through the business of managing your wedding spend, it would be downright impossible without a guiding framework. And we’re not talking about anything fancy. Just an outline of the total amount you’re able and willing to dish out, and how you want to allocate those dollars. So in the spirit of a fresh week and getting things off on the right foot, we’re sharing our list of top tips for successful wedding budget management.
Tip #1. First Things First
This may seem obvious but it’s so critical that it’s worth the mention, and the top spot. Setting your wedding budget should be the first thing you do when you set out on the wedding planning journey. Before you book anything, before any of the planning stress sets in, before you even set a date, your first task should be to sit down and map out your maximum total spend.
Tip #2. Where to Start
You may be in complete agreement that a budget is essential, but theory isn’t worth much unless put to practice. And here’s where most couples get stuck. They want a controllable budget. They just aren’t sure how to set one. The short answer is that there is no magic formula applicable across the board. Every couple’s budget is bound to look different. There is however a pretty solid rule of thumb you can go by: take your projected venue / reception spend, double it, and the result is an estimate for total average spend.
Tip #3. Be Realistic
When setting your budget, and throughout the entire planning process, remember that everything comes with a price tag and unless you have an infinite budget, you can’t have it all. You may find it helpful to list out your ‘must haves’, the event details that matter most to you, and your ‘nice to haves’, the extras that you can do without if necessary. For example, a dove release is lovely but not an essential element of a meaningful ceremony. Leave the booking of the extras to the tail end of your planning/spend, and be prepared to make compromises if necessary.
Tip #4. Team Work
Tips 1 to 3 make for a solid wedding budget foundation but unless worked through by both bride and groom, cracks are inevitable. Make sure you’re both comfortable with the total spend set out, and that your list of ‘must haves’ is a shared one. If not, you may find yourself in a tough situation later on down the wedding planning road, at a time where changes aren’t easily made.
Tip #5. Less is More
The number one, fail-safe way to stretch your total spend is to reduce your guest count. It’s simple math. The same total spend will do a lot more for a group of 50 versus for an event hosting 150. And although it may seem like common sense, the challenge arises when tradition, culture and overall community are taken into consideration. So although it’s an easy concept to understand, it’s a lot harder to put into practice, but an important consideration for budget management nonetheless.
Tip #6. Bring on a Pro
Potentially the most challenging aspect of wedding budget management is the time it takes to get it right. The easiest way to ensure you get it right from the get go, and that you stay on track, is to enlist the help of a professional wedding planner. An experienced planner can handle the process on your behalf, based on the parameters you set together.
Tip #7. Cut Backs
Next to your reception venue budget (including food and beverage), floral expenses are likely to be next in line for highest potential spend. Depending on your overall budget and your ‘must haves’, you may find you have to make major cut backs to meet your bottom line. One way to make the cut without impacting on overall ambiance is to replace floral arrangements with a flood of pretty candlelight.
Tip #8. The Time Factor
To aid in spend management, don’t be afraid to ask your wedding vendors for payment plans. Most would be more than willing to accommodate you with a well spaced out schedule that helps to avoid an influx of major spend all at once. But be prepared to make all final payments approximately two weeks prior to your wedding day.
Tip #9. DIY it
What’s the easiest way to control the cost of a given aspect of your event? Do it yourself. Granted, not all aspects of a wedding can be DIY’d, but those that can are guaranteed to bring down spend. That said, make sure to leave yourself enough time to manage whatever parts you’re taking on, and never do it alone. Now’s the time to turn to a wedding planner, your bridesmaids, and close family members.
Tip #10. Check In
When it comes to a budget, there’s no such thing as too much checking in. The budget management process is a constant one, which should be updated with every single spend as it happens, so it doesn’t get missed. And always remember that nothing, other than your bottom line, is set in stone. So shuffle around on an as needed basis.
Speaking of DIY’ing it
Join us every Wednesday for our DIY Wedding Wednesday posts, where we show you creative ways to personalize your event while stretching your wedding budget.