Q: How do we go about creating our wedding budget?
A: Establishing a wedding budget is the essential first step to take before getting too far into planning your big day! To begin, you’ll want to have frank conversations with everyone who will be contributing financially to your wedding celebration to make sure you are on the same page. You must know the bottom line you’ll be working with beforehand so you do not overspend.
Next, you’ll want to determine with your fiancé what your priorities are. Are you passionate about incredible food? Is killer photography one of your biggies? Is it imperative to you to have breath-taking floral and décor? Do you have to have THE band that will cement your reception in the minds of your friends and family as the party to end all parties? Whatever your top priorities are, make sure to set aside plenty of your budget to accommodate these important categories, and be prepared to scale back on items that are less significant to you.
Once you’ve prioritized, you’ll want to start putting pen to paper and actually mapping out your budget. You should start with the reception, as it will make up 50-60% of your entire budget. In addition to food and beverage (bar) costs, subcategories that fall under reception include venue rental fees, tax, service charges and/or gratuities and possibly security and valet, to name a few.
Other categories usually comprising the wedding budget include (but are certainly not limited to): ceremony, floral/décor, music/entertainment, photography/videography, stationery, rentals, bakery, favors/gifts and transportation/parking. There are plenty of wedding planning magazines and websites that can give you ballpark percentages of your budget breakdown by category. Use these suggestions as a guide but customize your budget based on the priorities you determined. We also always recommend a line item for “cushion” or unexpected expenses that may arise. You don’t want to go over budget simply because you didn’t anticipate any surprises.
If the thought of creating and maintaining a wedding planning budget is overwhelming to you, consider hiring a professional wedding planner. A StarDust planner can not only help you allocate funds and stay on track with your budget, but can also help you design a beautiful, imaginative wedding full of creative ideas that will represent you and your fiancé without breaking the bank!