DIY Wedding Budgets

On September 26, 2010

As a wedding planner, one of the biggest mistakes I see is couples making crucial decisions about their wedding day based on a faulty budget.  Most wedding magazines or how-to books lay out a general way to develop a budget – 40% for the reception, 10% for flowers, etc.  While 40% for the reception is mostly true, many of those general percentages don’t match the average couple’s  overall vision!

Before you develop your wedding budget, make a list of these 10 items:

  • Time of year/Day of the Week
  • Guest List
  • Food & Beverage
  • Music
  • Ceremony Location & Officiant (if necessary)
  • Reception Location
  • Photography/Videography
  • Flowers/Decor
  • Bridal Party Attire
  • Stationery

Most of these are self-explanatory, but I’ll elaborate on a couple.  The reason that the time of year and/or day of the week are important is because of venue and vendor pricing.  If you’re choosing to get married during the summer on a Saturday, you’re going to pay a lot more money than if you decide to get married in March or November on a Friday or Sunday.  Why?  Because more venues (and vendors) than not are going to be extremely slow during those off-peak times.  They need and want your business.  If a particular date is very important to you, then know that you are going to pay for that desire.

Some officiants may only conduct ceremonies at a particular site.  Unfortunately, many sites, even churches, will charge a pretty penny to use their facility if a sought after minister/officiant is on their staff.  Hence, “& Officiant (if necessary)”.

Next, rate each of the above items from 1 to 10 with 1 being what’s most important to you and so on.  Start with the skeleton provided in bridal magazines – 40% reception, 10% flowers, etc.  Then use your ratings to decide how much weight to give certain aspects of the wedding.  For example, if flowers are #8 on your list because you’re getting married at an art gallery or garden with built-in beauty, then only budget 5% for your flowers instead of 10%.  Make sense?

Once you’ve compiled a realistic budget, stick to it!

Have more questions?  Email info {at} jsquaredevents {dot} com or Twitter me.  Join my Facebook page to stay up to date with the latest event planning tips, trends and advice.

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