Everyone has a different idea on what they want for their wedding day, but when we finally start planning + adding numbers together we begin to realize how much things REALLY cost. I'm not a wedding planner, but I will guide you based on what worked for me as a former bride + from seeing how my brides have planned their weddings. The best way to go about this + to avoid the stress later is create a budget plan now before you even begin to plan your wedding. What is affordable to you? What is doable? You're engaged so of course now you can't wait until the big day, but maybe setting the wedding date 2 years from now is what works best for YOU! Now, say you get engaged this coming New Years Eve! That is such an exciting time + definitely starts 2023 with a bang! This gives you time to plan for a fall wedding or the spring of 2024. Perfect! Right? Now be realistic, what can you afford? Will you have help or is it all on you + your fiancé? Once you get the numbers together, then begin planning! According to Zola, the average cost of a 2023 wedding for 150 people is about $29,000. Now let's get to mathin'!
Creating A Wedding Budget
So you got engaged on New Years Eve 2023, but you don't begin planning until mid January, perfect timing for Bridal Extravaganza! Let’s set this example based on a fall wedding, so October 2024, can you do $29,000 in 8 months? My first piece of advice is do not take out a loan. Consider all the help you will have, if any, what you already have saved + what can be put aside realistically every month until September. Most vendors will require payment 1 month before the big day, so September is really your due date for payments. Can you set aside $3,635 monthly until September? Probably not, so what about the following year, maybe October 2025? Not only does this give you time, but it gives your family time to also save up to help you as well. This means you'd have to save about $1612 monthly in order to meet your goal. The great thing about waiting is that 18 months brings another Christmas, another birthday & more time for family members who would like to help to get some funds together. If that $1612 still seems unrealistic, then definitely reevaluate you budget. Think about what you can afford monthly, and let's go from there!
So maybe you need to have a strict low to mid budget wedding, is it doable? ABSOLUTELY! Attending bridal shows like Bridal Extravaganza will have vendors that offer specials, look into off season weekday pricing for venues, consider the all inclusive option, buy an off the rack dress, make your own decor + florals, buy decor off of Facebook marketplace or thrift store, etc. The options are endless for a budget wedding! Just be realistic + don’t let the finances stress you out. You can + will have a beautiful day regardless of your budget. The main goal to setting this budget is so you know what you can afford to do going into this. This lets you know off the top what venues you should be looking at, what photographers you can afford, what dresses you should try on. Setting your budget now helps you to not be disappointed later when you realize the venue you toured two months ago is actually half your budget. Make a plan and only speak to vendors + tour venues that will fit with your budget.
As I said, you can still have your dream wedding, but you will just have to work a little magic to make it a reality. Stay tuned for another post with my tips + tricks at planning a wedding on a budget!