There might be only one B-word worse than THE B-Word: Budget. Even in our personal lives the utterance of that word is enough to send chills down our spines or make us want to run or hide. We too often think of a budget as what we CAN’T do, when we could be thinking of it as telling us what was CAN do.
Shifting your mindset to the latter of those two perspectives will help you immensely when developing your wedding budget. This post isn’t designed to help you develop a budget (not yet, anyway), but rather it is to shake away some of those misconceptions about wedding budgeting so you can get excited about planning rather than terrified or disappointed because of costs. There are three things to assess before you plan your budget:
1.) FIGURE OUT WHO IS PAYING FOR WHAT
Yes, it is tradition that the bride’s parents pay for the wedding while the groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner. In my experience with families, they want to help as much as they can, so it is important—even if it is a smidge awkward—to include them in the discussion. It doesn’t mean your are panhandling or begging for anything; it means you are giving those who love you the opportunity to to help like they want to.
On that same note, this would be a great time to set up the parameters in regards to your wedding party. What do you want to pay for, and for what do you want them to pay? It is traditional that they purchase their own attire, but then the couple covers the rest of the wedding day needs (flowers, hair/make up, transportation). Deciding on these sorts of things now ahead of time will create less unexpected expenditures later when the budget is already stretched.
2.) DETERMINE WHAT YOU VALUE MOST
Like a lot avenues in life, everyone will have an opinion about what you absolutely need to have an amazing wedding day. But the reality is all you need what YOU need, not what they did. Once you know what matters most, you will have a better idea of what percentage of your budget you will be willing to allocate to that (those) things. If photography is important, maybe you will spend more there and less on flowers. If the venue is the most important aspect, maybe you will DIY up decorations to funnel a few more dollars towards the where your wedding. If your dress or suit is your priority, maybe a couple hours less of coverage in some arena will afford you that extra special wedding wear. There is nothing wrong with wanting something more than something else.
Let me say that again for the people in the back: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING SOMETHING MORE THAN SOMETHING ELSE. It’s your day and your vision, you ultimately get to decide how it all looks in the end.
3.) EXPECT TO GO OVER
Like like personal budgets, it is so incredibly easy to overspend. Try as you might, your wedding budget will also likely go over. Build in a little petty cash/slush fund to allow for a little wiggle room. It might come in handy for tips/gratuity or last-minute decor decisions. Whatever it is, there will be something that goes over; build in a little financial flex for it.
Once you figure our where you are in these three areas, you will be better suited to actually start building that budget. What questions do you have about wedding budgets? Leave them in the comments below!
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer. She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest!
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