Make It But Don’t Break It Wedding Budget
in WEDDING BUDGETS, TUTORIALS
TheKnot.com says 42% of brides overspent when it comes to the big day, and 16% didn’t even have a budget.
If you are anything like me, your eyes glaze over when it comes to the typical wedding budget spreadsheets—certainly not the sexiest part of the wedding planning process. When we first sat down as a family to plan my daughter Amanda’s wedding, she lectured me about not going overboard and spending too much money. Two weeks later, while meeting with vendors, we were offered everything from live mermaids in the pool to acrobats. It is so easy to get caught up in the myriad of options. Thankfully, my youngest daughter snapped us back into reality when she said, “Why don’t we just have the wedding party flown in on winged unicorns.” You really have to be careful not to get seduced by it all and make sure that each decision fits your vision as well as your budget. Our mantra became, “Think spectacular, not spectacle!”
“Couples are victimized by their own fantasies, cajoled by media visions of celebrity nuptials, and pressured by friends, family, even strangers posting idyllic photos on Pinterest.” Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY, 2012
I quickly realized that a NEW BUDGET TOOL was necessary and it needed to have built-in incentives for actually STAYING on budget. I decided to make it my mission to create a tool that was both FUN to use and would keep couples on track. My husband found this very amusing, as budgets have never been my forte. This made me more determined than ever to develop something that would really work. The result is the Make It but don’t Break It Budget Poster in the form of a fun, fill-in-the blank infographic. Inspired by diet programs that use point systems, you reward yourself when you save on items, and penalize yourself when you overspend. The odds for success go up significantly when there is a prize involved.
First, you determine your WEDDING 411: date, guest count, and total budget. Then, you list your top three budget priorities as a couple and assign a percentage and corresponding dollar amount to each wedding category. Next, you itemize and track each of these categories as your plans unfold. Included is the essential INCENTIVE METER where you place a photo(s) of a luxury item you covet but cannot afford, like those gorgeous Louboutins, or that more expensive dress, a honeymoon upgrade, etc. When you come in under budget, those dollars go towards this big reward. In Amanda’s case, it was an Alexander McQueen wedding clutch. The photographers and videographers took more photos of this bag than they did of me!
If you overspend, penalty dollars have to be immediately deducted from somewhere else. Placing the poster in a prominent place helps you interact with it daily or weekly and serves to inspire like the “bikini photo on the refrigerator.” If you have to look at it everyday, chances are, you will stay on track. This idea worked for us, and though there were still a few unexpected expenses (I would recommend a cushion of 10 to 15%), the wedding was spectacular and mermaid-free. Here are a few tips to help you keep a reign on your budget.
Wedding Cost Savers
1. Trim the Guest List - The single, biggest way to cut your budget is to reduce your guest list since Venue + Menu x Guest Count = 50% of the average budget. For example, say the venue and reception comes to $150 a head. Multiply that times 200 guests and your total is $30,000 (and that is only about 50% of expenses). Just eliminating one table of ten is a savings of $1500. Also, do you really need 12 bridesmaids?
2. Timing is Everything - Plan your wedding in the off-season and save money on many items such as venue, hotels, etc. Selecting a Sunday or weekday instead of Saturday and celebrating earlier in the day (people drink less) can also mean a price difference.
3. Location Location – Choose a gorgeous venue that does not need much in the way of decor such as a botanical garden or choose one that offers a package that is all-inclusive.
4. Beer Budget - Can’t afford a formal, sit-down dinner? No worries, as the old rules no longer apply. Weddings today run the gamut from brunch to gourmet dinners hosted by celebrity chefs. Research shows that the things guests remember most at weddings are the food and the entertainment. If you can only afford beer and burgers, make sure they are the best beer and burgers your budget will allow. They will beat rubber chicken every time!
WeddingBrand Budget Poster start your new life in the black, and beware the winged unicorns!
Location and planning by Location Connection
Flowers by Eddie Zaratsian of tic-tock Couture Florals
Décor by Signature Party and Wildflower Linens
Photographs by Michael Chi and Skye Blu Photography