No matter how much or how little you are going to spend on your wedding, sticking to your budget is important. One of my closest friends recently got engaged, so I wanted to write this to help her along with others. I have seen so many people go off the rails with their budget, and end up with a massive credit card bill they can’t pay. The Knot reported that the average wedding cost is now $31,213. If you haven’t actually started planning a wedding that may seem like a lot of money, however once you start adding the cost of everything up, it can often be hard to stay below that amount- especially if you are getting married in a big city.
Without even knowing it you can easily exceed your budget, so I have five tips for staying on your wedding budget:
- Create your budget prior to looking at wedding venues
When my husband and I got married, we looked at every venue in the Seattle area- online that is. I requested pricing from each venue before even considering to view it. Don’t go looking at venues that are out of your price range, it will be depressing. I have always loved the Fairmont Olympic hotel in Seattle but with the number of guests I had and what I had envisioned, it was way out of my budget so I didn’t even bother looking at it. And that leads me to my next tip:
- Create a tentative guest list prior to looking at wedding venues
Don’t waste your time looking at a bunch of venues to find out weeks later that one you love only holds 125 people, and you’re going to have to invite 175 to your wedding. It’s another way to be disappointed right off the bat. Have your budget and guest list PRIOR to walking through any venues.
- Shop around for your dress
I went to many bridal shops when looking for a dress but told the sales women I wasn’t interested in trying anything on that was over $1,500- again, don’t bother looking at something if you can’t afford it. You have to prioritize what is most important to you on your wedding day and for me it was more about the ceremony and the reception. I knew I could find a dress I loved without spending over $2,000. I found a dress I loved, at a bridal boutique I loved, for a decent price. I wondered however if anywhere else carried the dress so I called around to some local bridal boutiques and found the exact dress for $300 less elsewhere. Because I loved the original bridal boutique so much and I wanted to buy it through them, I asked if they would match the price of the other shop and they agreed to. It never hurts to do a little research and ask questions!
- Keep track of your spending
This seems like a no brainer, but it’s harder than you think. You’re excited about the big day, and before you know it you’ve spent way more on one area of the wedding than you had intended to. Don’t forget this money won’t magically appear so stick to your budget and write everything down along the way.
- Don’t forget the “extras”
This is by far the most important and something I even ran into when planning my wedding. When you’re creating your budget, you may forget about things like gratuity and taxes. My wedding reception venue had roughly 10% (state sales) tax and 18% gratuity not built into the quote I received. For every $10,000 it works out to about $2,980 in taxes and gratuity. And that’s just the reception. Don’t forget about your photographer, transportation, and everyone else you have to tip that day. Also, things like décor tend to add up quickly- without even realizing it I had spent $30 in basic, small candles per table which came out to about $540 in candles! Outside of your wedding day itself are tons of activities- bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and your honeymoon. What is most important to you? Would you rather spend $1,000 to go away for your bachelorette party or put that money toward a honeymoon with your new husband? Everyone is different. I chose to stay somewhat local for my bachelorette party so that my husband and I could go to Europe for our honeymoon. It’s all about prioritizing and deciding what you want most.