"Budget" is not a sexy word. It's the reality check to the secret over the top pin boards and frankly just an awkward topic for most people. But here's what's even more awkward... NOT knowing what your budget is. Here's Why:
1. You could book vendors off the bat that you can't actually afford.
If you haven't prioritized what's important to you, and figured out what percentage of your budget needs to be allocated to those things, you can put yourself in a tight spot by signing contracts that you shouldn't and not have enough left over for the things you really want or need.
2. A reality check that hits hard.
I've had a lot of clients tell me they "don't have a budget" when they actually do... but don't realize it. If you have never planned a wedding before, odds are you have no idea what anything costs. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can go all out with this vague number in mind of what it will all cost, and then have to majorly re evaluate when the quotes start coming in. This sets you up for a lot of wasted time and disappointment.
3. Overspending creates anxiety.
There are few things more stressful than money issues and that shouldn't be what your wedding is about. If you go into your planning process with a realistic idea of what is possible, you can avoid the anxiety that comes with overspending.
Phew, that was awkward.
With that said, Here are some things to consider when you're making your budget
1. Prioritize what are the most important to you of the following:Venue, Catering, Entertainment, Photography/Videography, Decor, Cake/Desserts. This is one of the FIRST questions I ask my clients. If you HAVE to have a certain band, make sure you have enough money allocated to hiring them. If a farm to table caterer or a certain style photography will make or break your day, these things should be considered high priority in your budget.
2. Ask your planner or do some research on the average cost of a wedding in your area and see where you fall. This will give you an idea of what you can expect to spend and what you can get for your money. Adjust that number higher or lower to what you are comfortable with.
3. Note that the more people you invite, the more money you will spend. It's science. This seems obvious, but a lot of people don't realize just how much that will impact your budget. It means more people to feed, a higher tab at the bar, a bigger venue, more tables, more favors, more decor, etc... If your budget is tight, a 300 person wedding just might not be feasible. There is nothing wrong with pairing down the guest list to the people that mean the most to you so you can have the wedding you want.
4. Which brings me to my next point... Have a realistic idea of your guest list ASAP. This doesn't mean you can't add that new co worker or a few people that might come up later, but this is something you should be doing along with your budgeting. Think about it, if you book a venue that holds 200 and you end up with 250 RSVPs. That's a problem!
So, don't be awkward, be prepared. This really should be the first thing you talk about when you get engaged whether you are paying for it yourselves or someone else is footing the bill. And honestly, money management will be something you continually deal with in marriage so why not get the practice!