Creating a Wedding Budget
An essential part in starting the wedding planning adventure is creating a budget for that special day. If you don't have a plan, your vision can add up quickly to a price tag that you might not be comfortable with. It's very exciting to see your vision come life, and it's that much sweeter when the vision fits within your budget! Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Have “The Talk”
We all know there are old, traditional rules which lay out the bride and groom’s parental contributions. We have found that anything goes nowadays and there’s really no “standard” anymore. We suggest sitting down early in the planning process with your fiancé and both families to have an open and honest discussion about what degree they are willing to financially contribute to your wedding expenses. Some parents are willing to provide a lump sum of money or wish to contribute money for specific things for your special day (wedding dress, flowers, rehearsal dinner, etc). If family members want to purchase a specific item, make sure to still get a price range so you can include that into your budget outline. If you and your fiancé are contributing yourselves, come up with an amount that you realistically feel comfortable spending.
Invision Your Dream
Once you have established your budget, have a discussion with your fiancé on what is important to both of you on your special day. What season do you want to get married in? Big or small guest list? This can be just about anything! Are you set on a live band? What style of photography are you drawn to? Do you want a videographer? Is a top shelf bar/signature drinks part of your wish list? How big of a chunk do you want to set aside for flowers? Do you want a buffet or to have a plated dinner? Starting with a vision will assist in your planning decisions. These important aspects of your wedding allow you to focus a bit more of your budget on the items you deem most important.
Do Your Research
Once you have a list of your must-haves, and the amount you have to work with, do your research. It's important to see how far you can stretch your budget. The budget expectation of getting married in New York City would look different from a wedding budget in Traverse City (determined by your vision). Any budget can be accomplished in just about any location, but you may have to cut a few costs in other areas to make it work for you.
Crunch those Numbers
Now that you know how much money you have to work with, what is important, and you have done your research, it is time to make your formalized budget. To keep yourself organized, we suggest a Google sheet or an Excel sheet to track each wedding expense. Remember when you start with a total amount to work within that budget. Seeing the numbers laid out for you will keep your spending on track with your goal.
Ways to Cut Cost
Wedding Season Prices
In Michigan, prime wedding season is during the summer months. Picking this season, for most venues, comes with a higher price tag. If getting married at a certain location ends up being out of your budget, look at dates during the off season in order to cut cost. Off season prices usually waterfall into vendor prices. If the location and summer season is important to you, play with the idea of hosting your wedding on a Friday or Sunday to reduce the venue cost.
Trimming the List
A hard discussion to make is limiting the amount of people on your guest list. While you don't want to leave anyone out, you also have to think strategically to find what works for you and your budget. The reality is each person invited increases the expenses in just about every category from food to favors.
Work with your Vendors
There are many professionals in the wedding business that have great knowledge and ideas on how to cut cost. For example, a talented florist will take into consideration your budget and vision then provide you with some gorgeous options to consider. It could be a simple replacement of a flower that is in season or the use of bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces. All these minor adjustments still capture your vision while decreasing the overall price tag. The key is to be upfront about your budget with all potential vendors so they can be respectful of that.
Hiring a Pro
Working with a budget can be stressful and sticking to a timeline can get a little overwhelming. A wedding planner is a great resource to utilize during the initial planning process. They will keep you on track and assist you in getting the most out of your budget, like suggesting ways to reduce costs in certain areas. For example, A Trace of Elegance works closely with every vendor (florists, DJs, photographers, etc.) involved on their client’s special day. By providing your wedding planner with your budget and vision they are able to recommend vendors that fit both your style and the price tag you’re comfortable with. Also, because of your planner’s relationship with these vendors, your planner may be able to negotiate a discount that wouldn’t be an option in other circumstances.
Let's Talk Invites
Invitations can set the tone for your wedding. They give your guests an idea of what ambiance to expect the day-of. They can also come with a high price tag. It is common for invitations to come on heavy card stock and larger than a standard envelope. When choosing invitations that fits your tone, keep in mind the added postage that comes along with larger envelopes and heavier card stock and be sure to include the price of postage in your budget on invitations. Nobody wants a surprise when they go to checkout, so planning ahead of time on this tip could save you some sticker shock later on!
Knock off the Favors
Another potential way to reduce costs is opting out of guest favors to allocate the money for food, the bar, or amazing entertainment that contributes more to your guest's experience. Or, if you can’t part with the idea of doing favors, there are cost saving options for these, as well.
When the Price is Right
That Food was Phenomenal
There are many great compliments to hear about your wedding, including compliments on the menu. One aspect of cutting cost can involve the category of food. You don’t have to cut the amount of food or compromise quality in order to lower the cost. Altering the way the food is served can also change the price. You can work with the caterer on having the appetizers displayed instead of passed. Another cost saving tip is instead of changing your desired menu, have your mouth watering spread served buffet-style. These little decisions can alter the price tag while not compromising on the quality and quantity of your menu options.
Once your wedding day comes to an end, you'll reflect on those memories and your photos/video for years to come. Investing in a great photographer/videographer who will capture your special day allows you to keep those memories alive. Having a photographer/videographer present during all of the important moments like getting ready, the first look, and your first dance captures the moments that are most special. Don’t short yourselves on capturing memories that last a lifetime over a couple hundred dollars. Allocating a good amount of your budget to this area is always a popular decision.
Making it Home Safe
You want your family and friends to enjoy themselves on your special day. Sometimes that results in indulging at the open bar. To make sure everyone makes it home safe, provide transportation to and from the hotel. Many hotels that you reserve a block at will provide transportation or offer a preferred vendor that will provide transportation at a discounted price. Or even advertise Uber and Lyft to your guests throughout the night by having the DJ make an announcement.
Let’s start your wedding planning experience off as stress free as possible. A Trace of Elegance is here to assist you in making your vision come alive while staying within your budget. We offer several packages from a single time consultation to our popular complete planning packages. Contact us to set-up your free initial consultation!