Written by Nikki Bowman Mills
Congratulations, my friend! I hope you’re enjoying spreading the word of your engagement, gathering ideas, and beginning the planning process of your big day. But before you get too far along, let’s chat about your wedding budget. Sorry. It isn’t sexy or fun, but you’ll thank me later.
Have an honest conversation with all parties involved with footing the bill. If your parents are contributing, you need to include them in this discussion. Weddings are expensive. I know. I just paid off my last bill. And your wedding will cost more than you think. I guarantee it. I was convinced that I was the most budget-minded bride ever, and well….I blew it.
Start by filling out this budget spreadsheet. And revisit it often.
Having recently gone through this process here are a few of my suggestions on how to be a budget-minded bride/groom.
- Prioritize. What do you want to splurge on? What is most important to you and your future spouse? For Michael and I, photography was really important (as I think it should be for everyone.)
- Edit the guest list. Our first list quickly approached 300 people. We trimmed it by half (Learn more about how to make the cuts here)
- Favorless. We didn’t have favors. And we didn’t donate to a charity, either. Actually, if truth be known, we had planned on giving out jars of apple butter that we made the previous fall, but after canning hundreds of jars, we realized the seal didn’t take and they had started to grow mold. So we opted to not give our guests botulism. But I think favors don’t have to be elaborate and shouldn’t be a big expense.
- At home doesn’t mean you save $$$. We chose to have our wedding at our cabin in Canaan. I thought this would save us money, but it didn’t. So if you are thinking of having your wedding on your family property, know that it isn’t necessarily cheaper. You’ll have tents, tables, chairs, decor, shuttles, parking attendants, and other expenses associated with having it in a location that isn’t already suited up for weddings.
- Pare down the cake. We saved some bucks, by ordering a small cake for us to cut and sheet cake for everyone else.
- Have a line item for unexpected expenses. Unexpected expenses will crop up so have an emergency fund (like having tent stakes being driven into water lines).