5 Things to Consider when Planning a Budget Wedding
Planning a wedding on a budget is not easy, especially when the average wedding in the US costs between $15,00–$20,000. You’re likely going to be investing a lot of your time and hard earned money, so here are some things to consider before you start meeting with wedding vendors.
What is important to you?
What Kind of wedding do you want? Who do you want to be there? Where do you want to have it. When planning your wedding, you should first ask yourself these basic questions. Try to define your wedding in your mind before you start doing any planning or budgeting. Think about your style, your likes and dislikes, and a theme. Find samples of colors you want to incorporate, clippings from magazines, anything that you can use for inspiration. Take some time to visualize your dream wedding in your mind before you even think about talking to a vendor or wedding planner. Why? Because any vendor you meet with will want to know these things. The more information you can give them, the more they can offer you in return.
What is Must Have vs. What is Nice to Have
Once you know what you want at your wedding, the next step will be easy. Write down a list of the things you’ll need to pay for. Determine which items on the list are:
• Must Have – you can’t have your wedding without it
• Nice to have – you’d really like to have it at your wedding, but it’s not 100% necessary
Some brides consider a designer wedding gown a must-have item. For other brides, a specific location is the must-have item. These items are different for everyone, but the important thing is to figure out what you need vs. what you want. Where do you put your foot down and where are you willing to compromise?
What are you willing to spend?
Now it’s time to sit down and figure out what you can afford to spend on your wedding. Don’t think about how much things will cost, just come up with an amount that you are comfortable with for the total wedding budget. It is easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles when you start meeting with wedding vendors, so before you do any of that, find your magic number and get it in your head. This is your budget. Don’t bend it, break it, or re-adjust it. Just start with a doable amount and work from there.
Once you have your total budget, you can begin to figure out how much you want to spend in each area. The items below will be your main expenses, however each wedding is different, so make your own list of the vendors you’ll need to speak with.
Go ahead and put an amount next to each category. Nothing is set in stone yet, but this exercise will allow you to attach a monetary value to each of the services. This will also give you a dollar amount to mention when discussing the budget with your vendors.
How much is your time worth?
Many brides on a budget will toy with the idea of planning their own wedding, making their own invitations, favors, centerpieces, etc. While you can save a lot of money this way, you will need to invest huge amounts of your own time to make it happen. If you have lots of free time, then this option might be perfect. If you’re a busy person with little free time, consider hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planner not only take a lot of stress off of the bride, but they can also get you really good deals. They have relationships with vendors and can often get you discounted rates. Just keep your original budget in mind. Tell your wedding planner what you’re willing to spend and let them find the answers to your questions.
A good planner is definitely worth the commission you will
Which vendors should you use?
There are so many wedding vendors out there that it can
be daunting to find the right one to fulfill your needs. Ask newlyweds, family or friends who know someone who was recently married and find out who they used. Word of mouth referrals are gold in the wedding industry.
If possible, meet with more than one vendor for each service and compare prices. Ask the vendor if they can work within your budget and get them to present options to you. Also ask if they can offer any discounts and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Remember, you’re the one in control of how much you spend, not them.
Also search the internet for vendors and vendor reviews by previous customers. Online message boards are particularly helpful because you can ask brides in your area how much they spent on various aspects of their wedding and which vendors they used. The most important thing is to find the vendors that you feel comfortable with.
Follow these tips for budget wedding planning and you’ll be on your way to planning a wonderful wedding no matter what your budget is.