What’s the very FIRST thing you should do when planning your wedding? Determine your wedding budget.
Weddings are so much fun! When you get engaged, and often before, it’s exciting to jump right in to Pinterest boards, dresses, flowers, venues, and on and on. Weddings can also be stressful. You may quickly get overwhelmed with all of the questions and decisions you need to make. Going into planning mode without first creating your budget is a recipe for disaster.
That’s why the #1 item that I absolutely recommend you tackle first is the BUDGET. I know, I know – this part is no fun – but before you click away just hear me out.
You will save yourself so much heartache and stress if you do this one area right from the beginning. That’s not to say you have to have every budget number and item locked in. However, there are a few very important conversations you need to have and numbers in mind as you start planning one of the most important days of your life!
So where do you start with your wedding budget? Here are some steps to get you on your way:
Decide who are your decision makers for the wedding
If you want full control of all decisions, know that may mean politely saying “no, thank you” to a generous offer. Conversely, you can say yes with the knowledge that you may need to give up control in some areas. Find out who is contributing to the wedding, how much they are contributing, and if they have any expectations regarding where or how those dollars will be spent. For example, if you accept your Great Aunt’s contributions at least you will do so knowing that she gets to choose the dinner menu.
Prioritize what is most important to you as a couple
Budget templates are a great place to start, but they are not one size fits all. You may love flowers and want to allocate half of your budget there. Or you may not care about flowers at all and instead it’s all about the food for you. What about that amazing dress you have been dreaming of for as long as you can remember? At the end of the day, it is your wedding, so you get to decide what is most important to you and adjust your budget to those items.
Be realistic with your guest list and expectations
Ok, now that I just pumped you up, this one can be kind of a downer and I don’t enjoy saying it – but I have to. Everyone, I mean everyone, has limitations when it comes to their wedding. It could be due to the size of their dream venue so they have to cut their guest list, or their budget simply won’t allow them to invite 400 friends while still feeding everyone and putting on a great party. This is where the priorities that I just mentioned come in. It’s so much easier to decide what you can cut back on once you know what is most important to you.
Write it all down, share it with the decision makers, and get to tracking
A budget is no good if it’s all in your head. Start tracking all expenses however you like best. There are tons of free tools out there, including a simple budget worksheet on my website. Pick the one you will actually use… consistently. You can use a budgeting app, Excel, or Google sheets (I’m a huge spreadsheet nerd!). Or even set up a separate bank account just for the wedding and only spend from that account. Bonus tip: find one with a cash incentive for opening the account!).
However you do it, start tracking your budget and expenditures. Anyone who has planned a wedding will tell you that even the little things add up fast. It is a little extra work at the beginning, but it will save you so much stress in the long run. You will know exactly what you can spend and where your money has gone.
This is just scratching the surface when it comes to all that is involved in creating your wedding budget. I hope it helped get you on the right track. Take advantage of the free tools and resources out there and take a deep breath… you’ve got this!
Contact me if you have any questions about your wedding budget or want to talk about it further. I’m happy to be your resource and want to make sure you and your family have a fun and stress-free planning process. You can contact me via my website form or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear from you!