Wedding Planning MAYhem: Part III
It’s time to put the work from the last two weeks together. You should have your priorities for your wedding day ranked. Maybe food is most important to you or maybe it’s the floral. Did you decide whether you would prefer to have a live band or great DJ? At this point, however your priorities rank, you should have an overall vision for your wedding day.
And you know who know who is in your circle. Who will be contributing and who will be helping to make the important decisions. This may include your parents, uncle, godmother, best friend, or just you and your significant other.
The next step may not be your favorite, but it is the most vital for your wedding day. It’s time to sit down and talk dollar signs. Weddings are expensive, but for no reason should your wedding day put you in the hole. You do not want to start off your life together digging yourself out of debt from your special day. So let’s get talking!
First you need to have a conversation with everyone who will be contributing to the cost of your wedding. Maybe your parents are planning to just cover the cost of the open bar, but what is their threshold? You need them to put a cap on that number, so you know exactly what you can afford and what you can’t, as you begin pricing out venues and catering vendors.
If you need help figuring out your contribution here are 3 simple equations that my couples have found very helpful:
Once you know your individual contributions, you can easily calculate your overall budget and create the financial picture for your wedding day. Using that very important list of priorities, let’s allocate the budget. We can combine that with industry averages to help lay the groundwork.
I would highly suggest using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create a spreadsheet and let the software do the math for you. If you are like me, though, you may need a pen and paper to get the ball rolling and that is okay.
Based on the industry averages and your priorities, you can begin doing the math to allocate your budget. To keep it simple, let’s say you have a total budget of $100,000. You have your heart set on a gorgeous conservatory venue and cannot imagine your wedding anywhere else. You know the average couple spends between 42% and 50% of their wedding budget on their venue. You know the cost to rent the venue, but you also know that you’re venue does not have an onsite caterer. You haven’t researched caterers much, but you also know that decor ranks higher than food on your priority list. You decide to allocate 48% or $48,000 of your budget to the venue, food, and beverage.
The most important thing I can stress, is putting money in a reserve for “emergencies.” You never know what may come up. You may order your wedding dress and the bridal salon mixes your measurements up with another bride’s, and you end up with a size 14 instead of size 8 or vice versa. Now your anticipated $600 for alterations has doubled since there is no time to re-order.
While, yes, this example is extreme and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, things happen that you would never anticipate. It might be as simple as needing to expedite shipping on your escort cards, or having your seating chart re-printed. No matter the situation, you need to make sure you have a reserve to help account for the unexpected.
Like I said before, the money talk isn’t always easy and it’s hardly ever fun. If you take the time to do this from the start though, you will save yourself a lot of stress in the coming months.
Only one more major step left before all the other pieces start to fall into place.