Did anyone find a sparkly new ring underneath the Christmas tree this year? The holidays are a big time for engagements and new year’s resolutions to plan the perfect wedding. Then January comes and the thoughts of venues, cake, DJs, rentals, caterers come crashing down and it can definitely be a bit overwhelming. Where do you start?
Before you do anything else, I would sit down with your future groom (isn’t it weird calling him your fiancee?!) and come up with a budget. Having a realistic, detailed budget that you can stick to, will help tremendously when you are planning so that you don’t end up spending $9,000 on catering on a $10,000 budget.
Making a budget can be scary. Whether you have a large amount to spend or a small one, it’s hard to know what to do with it. There are lots of sites out there that will tell you how much you should spend on each different element, but this is something that is unique to every couple. We like to recommend that once you guys have a realistic goal in mind for your total spend, you talk through what is most important to you for your wedding day. Do you want to have killer photographs from your day that perfectly and artistically capture all the magic? Or maybe you are fine as long as there are some photos, but you want to be able to treat your guests to a five course gourmet meal. Or is about location, location, location? Identify the top three most essential things to you guys and then rank them in order of importance. Then start divvying up your budget that way. Allocate the most money to #1 on your list and then start working your way down. The things that didn’t make your top three will get smaller allocations – just try to remain realistic throughout the process on what you can get for what you’ve set aside. Leave some wiggle room for emergencies or unforseen costs that may come up, and make sure that as you spend, you update the budget. If you come in lower on something, you might be able to reallocate what’s left to something else.
Having a wedding planner can be a big help through this process as well. All of our couples that use our full planning services get full budget assistance and management (shameless plug). From day one, we like to help our couples set realistic goals for their budget and work with them to make sure we can accomplish those goals. Brides can lean on our experience with other wedding vendors so that we can recommend vendors that will both fit your vision and style as well as your budget. And we can help you find creative ways to stay within budget on those things closer to the bottom of your list, without sacrificing quality.