Having a Wedding budget is CRUCIAL to a successful planning experience. Now that you
have your budget in the bank and have solidified your spending limits, it’s time to start solidifying your PRIORITIES. Spending your wedding budget wisely is CRUCIAL to successful planning and decreased stress levels. Let’s begin!
As a Wedding Planner I’ve read through enough venue and vendor contracts to classify me as a human kindle and put together my fair share of wedding budgets. As a Wedding Designer, I’ve designed and styled an astronomical number of events. As a wedding coordinator (yes these titles are different!) I have created and executed more than enough timelines to understand how much your budget is impacted without a well thought out wedding day. When writing this article I decided to do a google search and actually see what all you beautiful couples are looking at when you research Wedding budgeting and . . . . . let’s leave google alone and chat for a minute because, YIKES! Before you pull out your calculators and start writing down your allotted budget for each category on a generic budget sheet, slow your roll for just a second. Before I say what I’m about to, I want to preface it with this… having a general idea on where you’ll spend your money is never a bad idea and I appreciate how much effort went into every article written on wedding budgeting, but…
THOSE WEDDING BUDGETS WEREN’T WRITTEN OR DESIGNED FOR YOU
...We live in a time of personalized weddings. Traditional and cookie cutter weddings are a complete concept of the past. More and more, couples are making decisions and implementing ideas that mean something to THEM and their relationship and your budget is no different. In reading this, you may feel like you have no idea where to start, but stay with me! I’m not going to leave you hanging here.
First, if one of your top priorities consists of your day running smoothly and ENJOYING the day or wanting your family to enjoy the day with you, your first stop should be hiring a wedding coordinator. Why? They have connections within the industry and can point you in the right direction if you need help finding your vendors. YOU will be the one doing the planning part, but a coordinator will help you with a timeline that makes sense, take your vision and direction and implement it on your wedding day so you and your family don’t have to. Taking this one step further, if you are planning a destination wedding, work long hours, or don’t handle stress well, your very first stop when planning begins should be hiring a wedding PLANNER. A planner will typically do everything a coordinator does, however, in most cases, YOU are not the one making all the calls, negotiating contracts, shopping around for the best pricing, or traveling back and forth to meet with vendors and solidify your options. Your planner does it FOR you, keeps you in the loop, reports their findings to you, and walks through all options with you with your budget in mind. I’m going to let you chew on these concepts for a minute and give you a little date night homework!
DISCUSS AS A COUPLE, YOUR TOP 3 PRIORITIES FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY
What is MOST important to you? Are you passionate about food? Do you have a specific photography style and the ability of printing high quality images? Do you want a venue with a beautiful views or lush greenery? Do you have a pinterest board full of floral inspiration that you just can’t stop looking at? Have you dreamt of your beautiful 3 tier wedding cake since you were 10? What about live music or a DJ allowing you to dance and enjoy your time with loved ones on the dance floor? Is having your hair and makeup done professionally and photographing well important to you? Do you want to purchase all your décor out of your own pocket or rent it for a lower cost? Are you prepared to set up your wedding and clean up after? Is it important for you to finish on time so you don’t incur additional charges from vendors?
Once you have your top 3, number your wants in order of priority. This is the foundation of your wedding budget. Now that you know where your priorities lie you have 2 ways of executing your wish list.
1. Hire a wedding planner and discuss your needs and wishes. There’s also no shame in asking for a free consultation call with someone you’re considering. Typically a phone call like this will consist of going over services, costs, and special needs you may have, while getting to know each other a little bit. It’s ok to find someone you connect with while getting the services you feel you need and want. A good wedding planner will be up front and honest with you and make recommendations based on YOUR needs.
OR, THE DIY WAY
2. Start making phone calls and do as much research as you can. Some things to keep in mind:
a. If you have a dream venue in mind, call right away and ask for available dates. If you’re unsure, start your search online and on social media.
b. Vendors who only take on a certain number of clients per month due to the time investment outside of your event will result in filling up quickly and having very little availability with more time that passes. For example, Photographers, Videographers, and Wedding Planners.
c. The month you’re getting married, along with the area itself, will greatly impact vendor availability. Be cautious regarding temperature averages on the dates you’re considering and plan accordingly for the weather.
d. Do your homework! Not all cake bakers are created equal. Not all photographers have the same skill set. It’s ok to be selective, just make sure that doesn’t turn into procrastination!
My friends, I wish you all the joy and happiness in the world in planning your wedding and celebrating the love between you. Remember, it’s YOUR day. Make it your own. Make it what you want and what you feel comfortable with. In the end, it’ll make you happier, less stressed, and allow you to look forward to this day with ease. As always, I’m here to help, but ultimately wish you the happiest engagement and marriage possible. Take care.