You got engaged, called all of your friends and family and now...you have to start planning. The first thing you need to do is come up with a budget. You and your beloved get to have that (possibly) uncomfortable conversation about how much money you want to spend and what your overall visions for the day look like. This process can be exciting or a little daunting so I decided to write this post to help guide you!
Guest List - The best way to figure out what you are both willing to spend (and honestly the best way to keep the budget under control) it to work on your guest list. You can do this together or make separate lists and then discuss it (a suggest a glass of wine or a beer to make this a little more fun, but that is just me). Do you want it small and intimate or invite everyone you have ever met (and maybe some you haven't). Most of the time, this number is somewhere in between. Have a conversation around whether family members you haven't see in the last 10 years get an invite (Note: Weddings don't have to be family reunions...you are allowed to cap family members that you never see when coming up with your guestlist). How many invites do parents get (if any)? If they are contributing to paying for the wedding, most likely they will want some say in who is invited. Will you invite kids? Plus ones? The easiest way to control your budget is to control how many people you invite.
Figure out who is contributing to your Big Day. Will either of your families be chipping in? Did they give you an amount or a specific vendor (i.e. will they pay for the Bar? Rehearsal Dinner? Dress?) Finding out who will be responsible for what or if a certain dollar amount that will be take care of will be a key piece of information to help with budgeting.
Discuss your non-negotiables. Does your fiancé want cocktails while you are fine with wine and beer? Do you want a grand buffet but they want a taco truck? Will you have a videographer and a photographer? These questions will help you figure out what type of venue you should look for (wineries usually don't allow hard alcohol per their liquor license). Discussing with your partner what vendors you cannot live without and which ones you might be able to go a little cheaper on (maybe you don't need a ton of florals or a photo booth if you are really trying to limit your spend).
Start looking at what things cost. Depending on what State you are in, venues can range from $1,000 to $20,000. They can be DIY/bring whatever vendors you want to All Inclusive (you have to use all of theirs). Read the fine print. Does a Caterer look economical but they have really high corkage fees to bring your own alcohol? What do the service charges look like? Do you need to hire security for a certain venue if you have alcohol? Start putting pen to paper and start pricing out vendors in your area. This might be the most daunting part but it will really help you determine how much to allocate for each part of your wedding. Typically, your venue will take the biggest chunk of your budget. After that, it depends on what type of wedding you plan to have. You might end up spending a ton of money on florals and a few thousand on Photography. Or you might decide to DIY all of your decor in favor of tons of food and entertainment. This is where knowing what you want the overall feel to be like helps.
Once you get started, you will start to have a better feeling of what your perfect day looks like and what you are comfortable spending. Word to the wise, do not go into debt planning your Wedding. The feeling of the day and the memories you share will long outlive whether you had favors, how many flowers you had on the tables or that champagne tower you have been eyeing. This day is about you and your love. I hope these tips helped you feel a little more settled. Need more help? Fill out a contact us form so we can chat on how a Wedding Coordinator can help you stay within your budget and still have the Wedding of your Dreams! Cheers!