You may be recently engaged, and the thought of beginning your wedding planning process completely terrifies you. Well, you aren’t the only one! We spoke with professional wedding planner, Kimberly Williams of Weddings by the Vine, to gain some insight about the first step of your wedding planning adventure: the budget! The first step in determining a wedding budget should be figuring out what you can spend. Sounds easy, right? Begin by asking your parents if they can contribute and, if so, how much are they comfortable contributing. Once you have this amount, add it to the amount you both, as a couple, have decided to spend on the wedding together. During this process, you should also come up with an approximate guest count. This is crucial to staying within your budget, and may have to be adjusted later.
There are a couple of reasons that the budget should be the first step of finalization in your planning process. After you decide on the budget, you will need to assign a percentage of the budget to each wedding category to determine the amount of money that will be spent. A wedding planner would love to help you with this. Also, you don’t want to book a venue and then realize it is out of your budget after adding up additional costs. This could potentially restrict you from hiring the vendors and purchasing the items that you originally had in mind. The budget becomes much harder to create at this point, so go ahead and finalize the budget firsthand!
When creating your budget, Weddings by the Vine suggests to include venue, food and beverages, wedding attire, photography/videography, stationary, music, cake, flowers and decor, wedding planner, transportation, gifts, and miscellaneous. “The miscellaneous category sounds trivial, but is very important because there are always unexpected items that come up, and it’s nice when you realize that you have money dedicated to those items as well.”
Enjoy some more advice from Kimberly with Weddings by the Vine:
- Think about the items that are especially important to you – photos, design, food, etc. Choose your top two or three.
- Increase your spend on those items and reduce the total amount allocated for the other categories
- Be reasonable and stay positive with what you can afford
- Some couples do well with a designated account and/or credit card to keep track of all expenses. The reward points are nice, and the monthly statements can be a timely reminder about where you stand in the budget.
It is very easy to become overwhelmed when planning your wedding. Kimberly suggests these tips for keeping stress away:
- Make a commitment to not go into debt for your wedding
- Only splurge on the three items chosen above and remember those items when you are making your less expensive choices to stay on track
- Remember there are always alternative options to find something similar to what you want and to stay on budget
- Do not buy or commit to buy items that are outside your budget
- If overall budgeting and sticking to the budget are not one of your talents, then it’s probably best to hire someone who can help you stay on track.
Weddings by the Vine also mentions a very handy free “wedding cost estimator” which allows you to enter the items you would like for your wedding, and gives you an overall estimate based on your location. How convenient! You are now all set to start planning a budget! Keep these incredible guidelines from Weddings by the Vine near and dear to your heart, and your planning process will be smooth sailing!