How to Set a Wedding Budget
Create a wedding budget you can stick with, and you won’t have to worry about overspending
There are so many things to focus on when you’re planning a wedding – but the biggest source of stress (and conflict!) with most engaged couples is how much you can comfortably spend on the big day. That’s no surprise, considering the average 100 person wedding in Los Angeles costs around $45,000. Here’s how to set a budget that works for you, and stick to it.
Determine Who’s Contributing
Are you paying for the whole wedding yourself? If so, good for you! But, most couples do accept help from their parents or other family members. Talk to them about how they want to help, whether that’s giving you a check, or paying for one specific element, like your honeymoon, the wedding dress or the wedding cake. Having one or two slightly uncomfortable conversations about money in the beginning will help set expectations – and boundaries – with your family as planning progresses.
Figure Out How Much You Can Comfortably Spend
Once you know what other contributions you’ll be getting, it’s time to figure out how much you and your partner can spend on your wedding. Take into account how much you have in savings (over your three month emergency fund – don’t touch that!), and how much you can save between now and the wedding. It helps to establish direct deposits into a separate wedding account so you won’t be tempted to spend that money on anything else.
Estimate Your Guest Count
How many people you’ll have at your wedding is the biggest determining factor for its cost. The number of guests determines the size of your venue, how much food and alcohol you’re responsible for, your rental quantities… everything! Having a smaller guest list means that you’ll have a smaller total bill, so be mindful of whom you want to invite. There are plenty of ways to celebrate with people other than having them at the big day itself.
Pick Your Top Priorities
Do you have your heart set on a waterfront venue? The pictures will be gorgeous and the setting will be magical, but it probably means you’ll need to economize elsewhere. Is your partner’s non-negotiable an open bar? Live music? A raw bar? What’s most important is different for every couple, but it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to splurge on and what you’re willing to save on to make those splurges happen.
Talk To Your Wedding Planner
Your wedding planner can give you a realistic idea of what things cost, and which vendors will best fit your budget. She’ll also help you identify the “hidden costs” that aren’t obvious if you haven’t planned a wedding before. You know you need to pay for flowers and wine, but what about guest transport, corkage and cutting fees, up-front security deposits? Your wedding planner can tell you about the things couples often don’t take into account – like how some vendors have premiums on certain days of the week or times of the year – to help you get a handle on what your wedding will really cost.
Do The Math.
And get planning! This Wedding Budget 101 article from The Knot breaks down the numbers in detail and will help you start the process.