How to Create a Wedding Budget
Photo of the Grand Ball Room at Le Pavillon - Wedding and Reception Venues, Lafayette Louisiana
Provided by Kimbrali Photography
How do you plan your special day without breaking the bank or going into debt?
Deciding on a wedding budget is not an easy task. Your wedding will likely be the largest celebration you will have hosted at this point in your life and probably the most expensive. To set a budget, you'll need to consider your savings, create and maintain a comprehensive spreadsheet so you can budget during the planning process. Budgeting is solid work; however, putting forth the time and energy early will ensure you enter your marriage "wedding-debt" free.
First Step: Tally Your Cash
Your wedding budget is generally derived from three sources of money:
Personal savings: While it sounds as simple as how much cash you have in the bank, in a perfect world, you both will have set aside three months of living expenses in case of employment loss or a health setback. Subtract the emergency fund dollars from your banking balance, and what is left is presumably money you could spend on your wedding.
Wedding savings: Considering your existing debts first, start setting aside a percentage of your earnings every month. Then establish a wedding banking account and start making direct deposits into it for wedding expenses.
Family contributions: While many families are happy to contribute to their child's wedding, never assume parents or family members are willing and able to help.
Second Step: Track Your Spending
Start a four-column spreadsheet: Column 1 - Name of the Expense, Column 2 - Estimated Expense, Column 3 - Modified Expense, and Column 4 - Actual Dollar of the Expense. The numbers under the Estimated Expense Column will be derived by doing market research on costs in your area. The numbers under Modified Expense will come from the vendor proposal you chose. And the Actual Expense numbers are derived from the money you have paid to the vendor.
You can adjust your estimates after calling the vendors for prices. It would be best if you considered starting with the wedding and reception venues because these two consume the largest piece of the wedding pie. The wedding venue will dictate how many guests you can invite, or vice versa; the number of guests will dictate the size venue you will need. Ask for estimates and verify if tax is included. If not, ask for the total or you can do the math yourself and adjust your spreadsheet proposal accordingly.
You may wish to add a fifth column for gratuity. When you speak with the wedding or reception venue, caterers, etc. ask if gratuity is included. If not, they will usually inform you of the percentage they add to the proposal. Note that gratuity is usually paid in advance.
Consider adding a line item titled "Extras". This dollar amount should equal roughly 15% of your total budget. "Extras" is a cushion for things you did not think of or will likely forget to include, such as postage for invitations, security or valet parking attendants, or for unanticipated expenses such as corking and plate fees. Do not dip into this line item early in the process; you will need these funds for incidentals that arise later.
Third Step: Prepare for Surprises
Diligently read the vendor contracts before you sign. The fine print is where you will find the extra expenses. Many vendor proposal totals exclude standard fees. Vendors know you are shopping and want their proposals to make the cut; to avoid sticker shock, they will leave out gratuity or other standard charges.
Out of Town Vendor Transportation
If you are hiring an out-of-town photographer or band, you may need to pay for travel expenses, including a rental van or airfare. Read the contract carefully to understand exactly what is covered.
Setup and Breakdown Fees
While setup fees can be included, cleanup is not consistently covered. You may also incur overtime rates if the reception runs late.
What would a wedding celebration be without cocktails? Signature spirits and drinks can add another $3,500 plus dollars to a wedding of 200 guests.
Photographer - Digital Files
Many photographers offer digital access to view and share your wedding images online, but this convenience comes at a price, $1,200 - $1,500 is relatively common.
A full-service event designer will either have a flat fee or charge a percentage of the total budget. Before you enlist a professional planner, you should know roughly what you have to spend on the wedding and factor in that rate or fee. Some wedding reception venues require you to contract with their in-house wedding coordinator or bring in an outside wedding planner.
Fourth Step: Use Charge Cards Responsibly
It is very tempting to increase your cash flow with credit cards; if you must, do so cautiously. It would be best if you did not charge anything on your credit card that you cannot afford to pay off in 30 days.
Fifth Step: Find Ways to Save
Are you over your budget? Consider these ideas to help reduce your spending.
Change of Venue
Raw spaces require more décor to make them wedding appropriate. If you have always wanted a barn or outdoor wedding and the venue is not an established wedding venue, you will need to bring in everything from tables and chairs, linen and serving ware, restrooms, air conditioning or heating. If you are set on a raw venue, start totaling the cost of making it wedding appropriate and compare those costs to a venue that includes these basics.
Budget with Time
Many brides would prefer to prolong their engagement than to settle on the details. When you have time to plan your wedding, you are in a better position to negotiate. Negotiating with vendors is more difficult when you are running out of time.
Multi-purpose the Venue
Host the wedding and reception at the same location.
Sacrifice the Live Band
A well-established band can run thousands of dollars, while a reputable DJ will cost a fraction of the cost and often provide a wider range of music.
Order Your Own Paper Items
Today, creating and ordering your wedding invitations, thank you cards, place cards, and such is a breeze. Online technology has made it this task easy to do.
Unless a base package is unacceptable, say no to unnecessary upgrades. Or choose a vendor with an acceptable base package or with the least number of upgrades possible. For example, upgrading linens (table cloths, chair covers, napkins) alone can increase your budget by thousands of dollars.
Use Fewer Vendors
Many photographers also offer videography services and offer discounts when you choose both services. DJ's will often offer lighting services as well.
Shopping for the perfect wedding and reception location in Lafayette Louisiana? Be sure to add Le Pavillon's special event venues to your list.
How to create a wedding budget, reception venues lafayette louisiana, wedding venues lafayette louisiana, banquet halls lafayette louisiana
Leave a Reply.
Useful wedding and special event planning information.