Thursday, December 3, 2009

What To Expect When You're...Planning a Wedding: Budget

No, I haven't been reading the book, "What To Expect When You're Expecting", but for some reason while writing this post, those words just came to mind, and they have a nice a little ring to them! But it's true. Some couples have no idea what to expect when they're planning their wedding. Yes, you have the lists and recommendations, but those things still don't prepare you for what you about to embark upon.

Photo by bobbi+mike

Since we are now in what is known as the "Engagement Season", I've had a few friends get engaged already, and some of them are telling me that they have no idea what to expect while planning their wedding. So this is a continuation to a previous post, "What I Didn't Know As a Bride That I Know Now". In this previous post, I wrote, "Bottom line- do your homework. It’s okay to shop around, but know WHAT you’re shopping for and the quality of the product/service."

So now for some help with some of that homework!

Budget: Every wedding needs to have a budget. Even those really ridiculously expensive weddings have a budget, it's just really ridiculously huge. If your thought process is that you don't have a budget, you do, you just don't know it yet. Try to get a ballpark range of the maximum amount that you would like to spend. To do this, you want to look at the things that take up the majority of a wedding's budget:
  • Food
  • Venue
  • Photography
  • Decor

Food and Venue: These two things are most likely combined if you are having your reception at a traditional wedding venue. However, if you're having your reception at your parents' house, you may not immediately think about the need for tables, chairs, and linens on top of needing a caterer. The food and venue for a wedding will usually comprise approximately 30-50% of the budget.

Photography: With photography, you get what you pay for. It's that simple. Photographers do so much more work than just those 8 hours on your wedding day. They spend hours editing photos, making sure they all look juuuuust right. So when you're looking at pricing packages of photographers, keep in mind that you're also paying for the many, many (up to 20-30) hours that they take to make your photos look amazing. The quality of the service that you receive will indeed reflect the amount that you pay.

Decor: Decor can mean different things to you depending on the type of wedding that you want to have. Just about every wedding will need bouquets and boutonnieres, although there have been more non-floral substitutes popping up nowadays! Then there are centerpieces for the tables, and decor for the ceremony if needed. Once again, you get what you pay for. If you want a huge, tall floral centerpiece, you're going to be spending more money than if you have a small low centerpiece. Decor also includes lighting (which makes a HUGE difference in any space) and draping, which surprisingly isn't too high cost. Anything that you can think of to create the "look" of your wedding would be included in the decor.

With all of these elements considered, you can then decide which one means the most to you. If you would rather have great photography and a backyard barbeque reception, then you can allot more of your budget to photography and less to food. Whatever is more important to you and your fiance, budget more for that particular element!

So first things first, establish your budget. I know it's such an awful word with a negative connotation, but believe me, you will be thankful to have a set number as your guide.

If you get stuck or have any questions, leave a comment or email me, and I will be more than happy to help out! Happy budgeting!

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