How to Establish a Budget for Your Wedding

Hello Poppies! I had mentioned a few weeks ago in Pinterest: Good or Bad for Your Wedding Planning about the increase in wedding budget info-graphics and more advice from popular wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire, and as engagement season is coming into full swing, I thought that perhaps I would share with you how I help establish budgets for my clients. Creating a budget for your event is the most important factor in the planning process: without an established budget, the entire planning process will lack a level of control and consistency (that is, you will always be stressed about the costs piling up).

 Photo:  Rachel Erin Photography

First and foremost, determine what is important to you for your wedding. Sit down with your partner, and put it into writing what is important, whether it's the venue versus the date, a certain photographer or style of photography, food, entertainment, invitations. Prioritize where you want the money invested from your wedding, and then get accurate quotes from those vendors. 

Determine who is funding what. This is a must have conversation with both parents or anyone who has said they would like to contribute to the wedding. It is best to be frank, and write down exact amounts that are being contributed; trust me when I say that making sure you keep everyone accountable for everything they commit to in the long run will be better for relationships with family members. Share what you have already collected from your research earlier, and be honest as to what costs are going to be for those vendors. 

So, what happens when the vendors you want are outside of the budget after talking about money? I'll be sure to the upcoming posts relating to budget at the bottom of the post!

Now that there is an understanding of what the important aspects of your wedding are going to cost, divide and conquer the rest of the budget with other costs. This is where an Excel sheet is key! You can also keep track in your wedding binder, or have your wedding planner keep track of your budget for you. Set up your sheet with Vendor Name, Point of Contact, Contact Number, Email, Quote, Quote Date, Invoiced, and Invoice Date. I would also include when payments have been applied and when payments are due (and making sure your phone, planner, or agenda have it noted when these payments are due in order to avoid contract cancellations). 

Another thing to do is make sure to either round up the total cost or entail the exact cost in this spreadsheet. You can scan your receipts and invoices and add them to the sheet, or keep them in an envelope in your wedding binder, highlighting what the total cost of that vendor will be. In my personal budgeting, I always round up my expenses versus my income, and then subtract from my exact income. If you would like to see a spreadsheet that demonstrates what is left of your income for your event versus the expenses, let me know! 

Lastly, stick to your budget. I like to think of it this way: when you go for a night out with your friends and you're getting dressed, you're making a commitment to the shoes you're wearing, right? In the middle of the night, you're not going to take off your shoes because doing so will probably result in dirty and cut up feet and you might loose your shoes. It's ok to splurge here and there on items and services throughout the planning process, but know that those costs do add up, and can send you over your budget.

So, in summary:

  • Prioritize what vendors or services you absolutely want for your wedding and get quotes

  • Determine income for wedding expenses and make sure that income is committed 

  • Establish a spreadsheet or tracking method for wedding expenses

  • Stick to your budget!

I promise that doing this form of budgeting will make a difference in the way you plan your wedding! Keeping what is important to you and making sure you get what you want out of your day will make sure that you get the wedding of your dreams (and keep down the stress of planning it ;) ).