When it comes to wedding budgets, couples think with their imagination. The truth is that most of us want to be able to do a lot more than we can possibly afford. Whether you are rich or not-so-rich, a budget needs to be put in place prior to starting the planning of a wedding.
The thing to remember is that there needs to be a ‘magic’ number in place to guide you as you are planning your wedding. Here are a few tips to get your started in creating your ‘magic’ number for your budget.
1. First and foremost, find out who’s paying for what? In other words, if your parents or family is helping you, find out what they will be contributing to your big day. You want to have a true budget going into the planning stages of your wedding.
2. What is your realistic, present-day budget availability? What can you afford today to spend on your wedding; keeping in mind that praying to win the lottery likely won’t get your very far. The last thing you want is to start your marriage off in extreme debt. What was a beautiful wedding day can very quickly become a day you regret.
3. Select your desired wedding date then determine how many months you have to save before your wedding day, based on your current salary. Remember this is in addition to your “in-case-of-a-rainy-day” emergency fund. You really don’t want to be caught a month or two before your wedding when everything is due with expenses you can’t pay for or having to postpone your wedding. Since weather is not guaranteed year-round these days, there are less ‘off-season’ prices now. However, you might want to consider having your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday to save on costs.
4. Determine your guest list. How many people you invite can make a profound difference to your budget. Many couples calculate the guest budget by adding up the per person dollar amount per plate, but they forget that each guest also requires: a favour, a napkin, a charger, a chair, a program, an invitation, etc. The amount per guest can start at about $250 per person on average.
5. Be aware of the small costs that can set your budget soaring. So many couples forget the miscellaneous costs. Things like a guest book, Bousta Box (aka Card Box, Gift Box or the less subtle, Money box), Wedding Party gifts, gratuities (“tips”) for your day of vendors, extra stationary, Hair and Make up, etc. The little things are the ones that sneak up on you and are forgotten until the very last minute.
The PWG has a great budget calculator tool for you, however a great way to discuss your realistic budget is to consult with a wedding planner. They can help you get on the right track from the start and will give you an honest look into what your true budget needs are.