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Couple cutting the cake at their reception

Planning Your Wedding Budget

January 11, 2023

If you got engaged in 2022, you may be starting, or in the middle of the planning process for your 2023 wedding. Planning a wedding, although at times stressful, is exciting as you prepare for one of the most important days of your life. Whether you are at the stage of tasting cakes and booking a dance lesson, or just starting to search for venues, we can help you determine and more importantly stick to a realistic wedding budget.

Determining Food & Beverage Cost

When having a wedding ceremony and reception, the part of the day where the majority of your funds will be allocated is the venue rental and the food and beverage fees. The amount you spend on this specific portion will correlate with how many guests you are inviting. Most venues will offer a price per meal and a separate bar fee. If you are having your ceremony on site, there is typically a separate ceremony fee.

You should designate a certain amount that you want to spend on venue, food and drink, understanding that the percentage of these will be more than half the total. A few factors that will affect the total food cost is if you are having a plated dinner versus a buffet, cocktail hour, or special add-ons like a dessert bar. That is why it’s important to set a budget you are comfortable with, and selecting the items you need and then you can add extras if the budget allows.

Preparing For Day of Costs

Once the venue and food is determined, you will need to set aside funds for other smaller checklist items. To the total cost of your wedding, smaller items might not seem important but they can add up quickly. A few budget items to consider ahead of time are ordering invitations and stamps, hair & make-up costs, purchasing your wedding outfit and shoes, and transportation. Some of these items like transportation are optional and will most likely depend on if your ceremony and reception are in separate locations. For all of these items do research on different companies, get multiple quotes, and then decide what is best for your budget.

Also, often overlooked are day-of costs like gratuity. You will want to budget cash tips for your hair and make up stylist, ceremony officiant, and transportation drivers, as well as the venue staff. If your venue rental comes with a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, you should plan to tip them as well. Make sure to review your contracts beforehand because sometimes gratuity is already included in the final cost. If it isn’t though, have tips in envelopes ready to go that day.

Prioritizing What’s Most Important

When working through your wedding budget, focus on first securing the must have and most important items to you as a couple. Then if your budget allows you can add additional things later. For example, if real flowers are not a priority for you, research silk or other alternatives that cost less. Then as you get closer and are under budget, you can incorporate real flowers into your bouquet or your bridesmaid bouquets if you have extra money to spare. Having a large wedding cake may not be a priority, so you could save costs by going with something like a cupcake tower as well.

Considering Post Wedding Costs

In today’s wedding world you really get to create your own rules versus following tradition. Couples are opting out of items like wedding favors and large guest lists and instead are choosing minimalist decoration and smaller more intimate weddings that don’t cost a fortune. If you stick to a budget for your wedding, you will have more funds for after the wedding. This could be used towards going on a long honeymoon or purchasing your first home together. By keeping your finances on track while wedding planning, you will have a better idea of how much house you can afford when it comes time post wedding to start looking and planning ahead for these goals.

It’s important to remember that it’s your day and that you should choose only what makes you and your partner happy. Don’t make choices based on other opinions. If you have a budget it’s easier to make decisions and to stay within the financial limits you are comfortable with. Most of all, have fun planning one of the biggest days of your life, it will be here before you know it!