Budget. That word alone can usually cause stress in most people, including me. However, it is imperative to have/know your budget when planning a wedding. There are several ways to determine your budget and I was lucky to have parents that helped A LOT with my budget.
TIP 1: I determined that amount of money that J and I would have to plan our dream wedding after talking with my parents. Then in my typical fashion I cut my budget by 15%. Wait… what?! I cut money out of my budget? Crazy, huh?!
Well… hear me out before you think I’m that crazy. In my mind, I know… I just know that unexpected charges or needs will come up during the planning process and I don’t want to be scrambling for money. By taking 15% of the budget away on paper then I know that if an emergency arises, we are safe and okay with money.
TIP 2: Prioritize the important parts. When J and I started thinking about what we wanted our wedding to look like we had to prioritize what was most important to us.
We came up with three categories. First, highly important.
Groomsman Cake (well in J’s case a cookie cake)
Hair & Makeup
Stationary (invitations & thank you notes)
Finally, not that important.
Tip 3: Knowing your guest number limit. J and I started crunching numbers and decided that we would ideally like to invite 175 people. Knowing that on average 20% of those invited will not be able to attend. That would leave us at about 140 guests.
Tip 4: Don’t forget about tax and gratuity. Those charges can add up pretty quickly. For example, let’s say that you’ve budgeted $2,000 for flowers. You start talking roses, lilies, carnations, baby’s breath and next thing you know the subtotal is $1,999. You’ll be surprised to learn that your total will be over $2,140 (at least in Southwest Missouri because our sales tax is 7.06%).
Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors what the tax rate is and how it is applied. I learned that there is no tax on linens because the vendor pays the tax during the purchase and cannot pass that on to each customer.
Also, gratuity is another hidden budget balloon. I talked to one caterer that charged a pretty high gratuity, which after the tax put her way above my budget.
Tip 5: Ask your vendors if they are running any specials for booking that month. Since I started planning in February for a November wedding a lot of my vendors were running specials. For example, my caterer through in a house salad for each guest at no charge, which will save us about $2 per guests (140 guests x $2 = $280 savings). Also, my venue had a free champagne toast for booking… that saves a lot of $$$.
Hope these tips are helpful during your wedding budget planning! Let me know what you think!