How to Start a Wedding Budget

Photo By Lola Jo Photo Design

“I have no idea what a wedding costs!”  I hear this statement at the beginning of EVERY budget meeting I have with a bride. So let’s just get the facts out in the open… Weddings are EXPENSIVE!

There really are few options out there that will allow you to have a wedding for under $20,000, regardless of how small your guest count is. The national average for wedding expenses is just under $30,000 and Wichita is no exception. Here are a few tips on how to create a REAL budget for your wedding day expenses.

1. Start with a List

There is a reason why wedding planners keep on task when planning so many events at once. We are the masters in making LISTS! I would suggest buying a simple notebook to keep all of your wedding notes in. Start by making a list of every vendor you need to book for your wedding, as well as expenses you know you will incur (ie. invitations, wedding attire, marriage license, etc). It also can be helpful to adjust that list in order of what is most important to you. So if you want an amazing photographer but the cake can be rather simple, fit the important things into your budget first.

2. Create a Guest List

Once you have your list of everything you need to pay for, create a comprehensive guest list and have your fiancé's family do the same. This is where it can get hard. You have to think of every guest as a number. Every person in attendance at your wedding is a chair, an invitation, a napkin, a cocktail. If you are wanting to keep you budget as small as possible, your guest count is the first thing that needs to shrink!

3. Do Some Research

Once you know how many guests you would like to have, call around to some different vendors to get pricing information. It is completely acceptable to get multiple quotes before booking a service and I encourage you to do so. Even if they are just estimations, you can get an idea of what your wedding will cost you. If, when talking with a vendor, they are not willing to be open about their pricing or they seem frustrated that you would just like a quote, that is a major red flag and you should move on!

4. Be Willing to say No

I mentioned that cutting your guest list is hard. Well… this is harder. I have had a $100,000 wedding still go over budget, so there is one important factor every bride needs to get accustomed to right away… You have to be willing to let some things go! A beautiful wedding is not about having everything that is typical. It’s about have a few elements that have impact. Find the areas that will give you the most “Bang for your Buck” and put your budget there. After all, more isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just more!

5. Work Smarter not Harder

There are some things that can be done cheaper if you do them yourself. Buying flowers from Hobby Lobby and assembling them yourself is not one of them! That’s just one example, but seriously, you get what you pay for. If a quote seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Hire true professionals… especially planners! Many times we can not only save you time, but we can get you exclusive discounts that will keep you from breaking the bank!

One Final Tip

Keep an emergency fund. Every wedding has unexpected costs when you get closer to the day of. If you plan ahead by creating an emergency fund within your budget, they won’t surprise you. If you luck out and your emergency fund is still intact after the wedding, you will be happy to start your marriage with a little money in the bank!