No one likes to talk about money, but for engaged couples, agreeing on your wedding budget up front can save a lot of future anguish. So, grab a couple of drinks, open up a spreadsheet, and get ready to talk wedding budget and trade-offs with your sweetie. Today’s typical couple approaches the subject of their wedding budget in one of three ways:
- We can visualize what type of wedding we want, but we have no idea if we can afford it. We’re not even sure where to begin.
- We have $15,000 to spend. Period. And that has to include everything from the wedding rings to the rehearsal dinner to the reception for 100 guests. Oh, and the cake, too. It’s ok if I have a cash bar or skip the appetizers – I have to stick to my budget!
- I’ve been dreaming about this for years – we are having an elaborate ceremony in a grand ballroom, a sit down dinner reception, open bar, a live band and dancing until 2am at a fantastic five star hotel in town. No need for a budget, we will take out a loan to make sure we have our dream wedding.
Which of the above descriptions best describes you? Do you fall into the first bucket and plan to just see how the whole thing comes together, figuring you’ll pay as you go along? This is quite possibly the most risky of all three scenarios. Why? Because without a general budget in mind, you could go into debt without realizing any of your “must haves” on your wedding day.
Or are you leaning more towards scenario number three, ready to throw all caution to the wind and spend more than you make in a year to have the wedding that will outdo anything any of your friends have ever witnessed? Slow down and think this through. Throwing the bash of the year still requires setting a budget, especially if you’re more of a local winery kind of person versus the type of jet setter who flies to France to taste Champagne. You can host a memorable and elegant wedding without breaking the bank.
If you fall into the second group, and have a very firm budget, congratulations. You both will likely breeze through “Financing for Newlyweds” in premarital counseling. As long as you are both flexible and willing to do a little “give and take” on elements of the wedding that are important to each of you – and have a 10% cushion for unexpected costs – you’re sure to have a very enjoyable time planning your wedding.
You might be reading this and saying “budgets make sense for accountants, but we were art majors in college.” Not to worry. Budgeting isn’t hard, and in fact should be worked into every relationship. Learning to budget now will help you after the wedding and you, wise couple, can apply your knowledge to saving for a car, deciding how large a mortgage you can take on, even planning for retirement. (See, planning a wedding is also giving you valuable life skills!)
Ever After has provided a handy-dandy wedding venue calculator that will help get you started on the budgeting. Check it out now and then chat live with one of our experts to find venues that are recommended for your budget.
One way to ensure you get exactly what you want on your wedding day AND stay within your budget is to have a destination wedding. This is a relatively stress-free way to have everything on your list checked off and have a professional wedding planner take care of every detail in an inclusive package. A destination wedding offers a terrific value and is an ideal option for the busy professional couple with very limited time to put together a wedding at home. A few extra perks you’ll enjoy with a destination wedding include:
- A fabulous locale that is unique and completely different from what every other bride in your hometown typically does
- A jump-start on your honeymoon, as your wedding destination is at the location where you planned to get away
- Fantastic memories for your guests – you invited them to a location they may not have traveled to otherwise!
Before you make your appointment to try on wedding dresses, make a date with your fiancé to work on your wedding budget. This might not be the sexiest thing you do together, but who knows? It just might turn out to be one of your favorite “couple activities.” Even for you creative types. Check out our Six Steps to Estimating Your Wedding Venue Budget blog!