Congratulations on your engagement! Now your biggest question, “What is my wedding budget? How much does a wedding actually cost?” Let’s consider a budget planning process and maximize your family dollar. The chart below, The True Cost of a Wedding Knot, (<a href=”http://tiny99.com/865994“>Source</a>) provides the national average costs of a wedding. There are ways to have your day without killing your wallet. Let’s get started!
As ideas flurry, let’s ask yourself a few questions…….
1. What should my budget be—realistically?
2. How do I establish a realistic wedding budget to meet my needs?
3. Priorities—what are the most important elements of vision?
As you think about these three things, make a list of everything you need for your day based on your current vision. For example, dress, venue, ceremony site, food, flowers, cake, entertainment, etc. As you list all of these categories, put a dollar amount based on what you can afford and then take that list and compare it to the national average for each category. How does what you can afford compare to what an average bride spends based on all of her research. This will tell you a lot. It will tell you if you if you need to tweak your vision or if you can expound on it and make it bigger. This first exercise is crucial as you establish a budget and start planning and shopping! Being an informed shopper always translates into more value!!
As you shop, you always want to know what questions to ask. For example when shopping a venue, you want to ask up front what is included in the shell of a venue. What rentals will you need to add? Rentals add up quick! Ask if the venue includes service staff? Staffing is another cost not often considered in a budget process.
When shopping for floral and décor, a good question to ask is if the company is a flower shop or an event design company? For example, do they supply more than just flowers? Do they have access to and experience in designing an overall “look” including the décor aside from just fresh floral arrangements. A mom and pop flower shop isn’t always capable of overall event design.
When shopping for a baker, always request a tasting and talk to previous clients and not always a client from three months ago. You want to establish that the baker has a long list of very happy brides.
These same principals apply to every category of planning a wedding. At the end of the day, you want to ensure your day is in the hands of very skilled professionals that will take the stress out of planning a wedding so that you and your family can enjoy the process and look back on this time as enjoyable and pleasant. Doing homework on the front end is never a bad idea!