Don’t Listen To Statistics. Spend On What You Value.
When planning your wedding, you’ll look at dozens of vendors and debate whether to spend an extra thousand on the flowers or a few additional guests. Most things you budget for will last less than a day – flowers, food, decor, and venue. But the memories that are made on such a special day are meant to last forever.
Weddings are an investment, and before considering any significant investment, you first need to get your financial life in order. For me, investing in a business was a serious decision, and I couldn’t have done it successfully without having my individual finances in order. My secret weapon is trend analysis; I monitor how I spend discretionary and disposable income to find areas where I can save or spend better.
As simple as it sounds, the key to building wealth is spending less than you make, saving money, and investing smartly. I believe this methodology is critical to planning a wedding that fosters a healthy future marriage and isn’t just for the sake of tradition. A common misconception is that wedding budgets are made from disposable income, but they AREN’T a necessity. They are a luxury, and you should be assessing your discretionary income to determine what kind of wedding you can afford.
With personal finances figured out and a budget set, it’s time to figure out where to allocate your budget.
Considering how to allocate your wedding expenses starts with averages but ultimately depends on what you value most. It’s easy to sacrifice a few flowers or decor pieces to hire that band or photographer whose work you love. Using industry averages as a baseline and adapting that to your budget, you have the wiggle room to take from one category to add to another. We’ve created a Budget Calculator & Planner for you that does just that while also planning your budget and keeping track of expenses incurred throughout the planning process.
Shorten the Guest List
I know this is easier said than done. Many couples feel obligated to invite the entire family, including extended family members they rarely see.
But if you’re serious about wanting to get the most out of your wedding budget, narrowing down to the most important people in your life on the guest list is a great way to do just that.
Not only will you get the most out of your budget, but it also prioritizes your time on the people that mean the most to you. Time spent on your wedding day with someone you’ll never see again is time not spent with someone you cherish.
For every guest you invite, you’ll need to pay for a Save-the-Date, invitation, a chair, table settings, linens, a meal, beverages, etc. For every 10 people, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in cost.
The big question is how. As you begin to compile the list of guests before you send save the dates out, ask yourself these questions:
Have you seen them or spoken with them within the last 3-5 years? Will you miss them terribly if they weren’t there? Are you inviting them because you want them present, or out of obligation?
Trimming your guest list will keep your budget smaller, but you’ll also have a better, more meaningful time with those you enjoy being with the most.
For some more tips for conquering the task of your guest list, be sure to check out the BRIDES article on Taming Your Guest List!
Remember that it’s YOUR day
When it comes to wedding planning, there are some areas where you will not want to cut costs. You will want better quality in some of the items to last for years to come. Items like your wedding photos and videos will be your lasting keepsakes. For these items, look for a balance of value and quality, making smart choices without compromising your wedding dreams.
Your wedding is a big event that you have probably dreamed of your whole life. As you look to plan your wedding, the reality is your budget could limit some of your choices. However, using these smart tips can help you find ways to maximize your spending power.