Wedding Budget Tips From a Wedding Planner

Ah yes, the wedding budget! When we meet with clients, this is one of the first topics we go over and one of the most important steps to take after the engagement!
In 1990, the average budget was $15,000. But now, with the average wedding cost at $28,000+, it’s no wonder tackling the budget is one of the most overwhelming tasks on your to-do list.
Each bride and groom will differ in the amount of money they have to apply to their special day and in their priorities of what is most important to them. Some clients find that the photographer is one area they wish to allocate a significant amount of their wedding budget; for others, it’s flowers and decor. Perhaps you’ve always envisioned walking down the aisle in an elegant designer dress, or maybe you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie” (like me) who wants the food and beverage for their reception to be outstanding and memorable!
In our initial consultation, we always ask them to rank what they feel is the most important to least important when it comes to the following aspects of their wedding day:
* Food
* Invitations
* Location
* Photography
* Specialty Rental Items (linens, chairs, tents, lighting)
* Transportation
* Videography
* Wedding Cake
* Bridal Gown and Accessories
* Ceremony/Officiant
* Coordinator (p.s this is very important in our opinion);)
* Entertainment (DJ/Band)
* Favors
* Flowers
There is no right or wrong way to rank these; it’s truly different with every couple! After couples have ranked their wedding day priorities, we can then help them establish a personalized wedding budget.
A few more handy tips for establishing that budget:
* Choose an overall dollar amount that you can spend on your wedding. We recommend having your goal budget amount that you work towards, and then what we refer to as your “drop dead” budget number. When it comes to the budget, under no circumstances should the wedding go over that “drop dead” number! This helps to keep you on the right track when you’re picking vendors and making important monetary decisions about the wedding.
* Review that guest list…again. The simplest way to reduce the overall cost of your wedding is to reduce your guest count. Be sure when you’re writing down and reviewing your guest list that the people on there are people that you absolutely want to be a part of this memorable and special day. Remember, your single biggest expense will be reception food (and alcohol), so you can reduce that amount by decreasing the number of people you’re inviting. Consider cutting out those guests who you haven’t spoken to in fifteen years and who you wouldn’t know if you passed them by on the street.
* Consider having your wedding during the “off-season”. Generally, November through March is considered the off-season for weddings. However, one note on December weddings: You will pay higher prices for Saturdays in December because you will be competing with corporate holiday parties. Having said this, also consider holding your wedding on a Sunday, or even a Friday. Most vendors (including the venue) will offer reduced prices for any day other than Saturday!
Although assembling your budget can seem like a daunting task, once it’s tackled, you get to do the more fun and exciting things – like sampling cakes and selecting flower arrangements! Best of luck in planning your big day!:)

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