When it is time to begin thinking about a wedding budget, the first things most couples think about are the venue, the catering, the photographer, and the band. These are all very important aspects, and generally the most expensive parts, of the big day. Couples need to take caution in planning for all of the other costs involved. Although many of the other costs are much lower than those heavy hitters listed above, the smaller costs can add up quick! The best thing any couple can do is decide on a budget before ANY planning happens, and stick to it. In order to make that work, it is very important to pick one or two aspects that are most important to you and your partner, and make choices and decisions about everything else accordingly.
For example, If you have spent your entire life dreaming about the venue where you want to get married, and it is the absolute most important thing about your wedding day, make that the top priority on your budget list. Immediately subtract that from your budget, and make other decisions based on the new total. You may need to shake up the idea of serving that freshly made pasta with truffles shipped in from Italy, and the fancy saffron seafood risotto. But if you get your venue, and still are able to offer delicious chicken and steak options, no one will be upset!
Some of the later expenses to consider when planning your budget are things like transportation for guests to and from the venue, tipping the bar tender, and all of the wedding favors for guests to take home. These things all will need to be calculated in to your total. The general rule of thumb for wedding favors, is to spend around two to three dollars per guest. For example, if you have 120 guests at your wedding, and your favors are three dollars a piece, plan to budget at least $360.00 for favors. This may be one of the last things that is thought about. If it is going to take you over your budget, spend only a dollar per guest and be creative! Don't settle for $300 over budget. That will lead you to spending the little extra here, and there, and then everywhere! There is nothing worse than forgetting to set aside money to tip your vendors and having to scrounge it up on the day of the wedding from your uncle's pockets.
There are many websites that offer free budget planning worksheets. I highly recommend looking at some of these to ensure there is nothing you are forgetting during the planning phase. In addition to that, talk to your wedding coordinator! We have done this a time or two and can probably guess what you are forgetting before you even realize it! Contact us any time for more information about budget planning.