Wedding Planning Essentials: 10 Tips for Successful Wedding Budget Management

wedding budget management tips

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

wedding reception venue

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

dove release

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

diy decor

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.

xoxo.

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Tips from the Pros: How to Rent A Wedding Dress

I have the great pleasure of sharing a fabulous pro tip with all you guys today from wedding fashion writer extraordinaire, Brittany Moodie herself. Blogger and founder of The Wedding Dress Guide, Brittany is sharing all of her tips to get a fashionable dress at a steal of a deal with an option many of us probably never considered – renting!

{ Photo via Carolyn Coles Flikr } Continue reading

20 Unique Wedding Favor Ideas for Under $2

Every Bride knows that sticking to a wedding budget can seem like an impossible task at times.

So, to help your budgeting journey along, I thought I would show you some of my favorite Weddingstar guest favors that won’t break the bank. Here are 20 inexpensive, unique and totally fun favors for every wedding theme.

< $1

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2012 Destination Wedding Trends

destination wedding

Can’t you just picture it? — The sun is beaming down as you make your way down the aisle, the warmth of the sand wrapping around your feet with every step. Soft sprinkles of water fall gently on your face…

Oh yes, it’s a destination wedding!

Saying “I do” amidst the sun, sand and endless margaritas may not be every Bride’s #1 choice but boy does it ever sound intriguing! Continue reading

Designer Spotlight: What Makes a Perfect Wedding?

Not so long ago, my husband asked a logical but somewhat unexpected question…especially since we have been happily married for many years…

“In your opinion, what makes a perfect wedding?”

At this point, I should introduce myself in order to explain why this was a logical topic of conversation in our home. My name is Patricia MacArthur and I am the long-serving Executive Creative Director with Weddingstar. Each and every day for more than 20 years, my days here at Weddingstar are spent completely immersed in all things wedding. Continue reading

Tips: Top 6 Honeymoon Destinations

destination, travel, wedding

As my fiancé and I begin the preparations for our wedding, my mind can’t help but wander back to what I think is one of the most exciting parts about getting married: the honeymoon!

I’ve done a little preliminary research searching online and looking through travel books, and I’ve come up with my top 6 of the most popular and most breathtaking honeymoon hot spots in the world.

So, in no particular order, here they are… Continue reading

Tips: Resisting the Urge to Flee from the Budget

elope, eloping

Budget, budget, budget…it’s the inevitable party pooper every wedding can expect. But don’t make a run for it just yet — there is hope!

The trick to having the wedding of your dreams but still come out debt-free is to keep the three big budget-busters at bay: the guest list, the decor and the dress. Continue reading