Congratulations on your engagement. This a very exciting time and one that should be enjoyable for you. I'm sure you've already started dreaming about the dress, the venue, and the flowers, but before you get too ahead of yourself, it is important to sit down as a couple and create a wedding budget. The last thing you want to do is start your life together in debt. Wedding budgets can be a little overwhelming, but can save you both from a lot headache.
Let's face it weddings can cost a lot. According to http://www.costofwedding.com, the average Portland, Oregon wedding costs $8,110. A lot goes into weddings, so here is a list of 5 things you should keep in mind when creating your wedding budget.
Figure out who is paying for what.
You and your fiancé should sit down and discuss if the two of you are going to pay for the wedding, or if family is going to help out. Have a meeting with both of your families and see if they are willing and able to pitch in. Sometimes families want to help and almost have the expectation, or assumption that are expected to pitch in (read Traditions: Who Pays For What) where they can and sometimes they don't have the means to do so. Now is the best time to find out how much each family can contribute. This is a key step in helping you figure out how big or small your wedding budget really is.
When setting up your wedding budget consider your location. Are you planning a destination wedding in Fiji, or a quant ceremony at the local church with a reception at the neighborhood park? Knowing your budget can help you determine your location.
Different geographical locations will vary in price and come with extra added costs. If you do a destination wedding you'll have to take into consideration the extra travel costs. Are you going to help cover some travel expenses for important family members who maybe can't afford to pay for their own travel costs.
When Rob and I were considering a location for our wedding we were looking at doing a destination wedding in Hawaii. After looking into the costs and figuring out who we really wanted to be present at the wedding, we discovered that we just could not afford it. We would have to help our parents with their flights and pay for the kids to fly out as well. Instead we settled on the next best option which allowed us to splurge in other areas because we didn't have the extra travel costs. We decided to go with a semi-distant wedding (8 hours travel time for most of our family and friends), which still allowed a lot of our family and friends to attend while eliminating the extra travel expenses we would've encountered with the Hawaii wedding.
Date and time
If you are looking for ways to cut back on your budget, so you can have more honeymoon money, or you're budget isn't as big as you would like it to be, but you don't want to skimp on things, consider having your wedding during the week or even during the day. These aren't popular times for venues or other wedding vendors, so you can usually get the same service and elegance at a price that could work better for your budget. Having a wedding during the off days almost guarantees that you'll get the vendors you want and the venue you want, so there aren't other couples wanting the same day.
Also, scheduling your wedding during the week or during the day, can help keep your attendance down and help reduce costs, as some people won't be able to make it due to other obligations.
Number of guests
Another thing to keep in mind when creating your budget is how many people are you going to invite. Typically you can expect about 80% of your invited guests to actually attend. The number of guests you have will effect your catering, stationary, and favors budget.
Ladies, let's remember to take some time out of the wedding planning to unwind. Planning a wedding can be very stressful and a little spa day with your entourage of girls is a must. Also, budget for those beauty treatments such as tanning, regular massages, and the mani pedis you need to make sure you are ready and looking and feeling your absolute best on your special day.
Guys, I haven't forgotten about you. You too will also need some down time with your guys. Make sure to include in your budget a golf day, a hunting trip, an indoor racing day, or whatever you and the guys like to do to unwind.
These are just a few things to keep in the back of your mind while you make decisions about your special day. With the proper budget, you can at least reduce a little of the money stress and focus on the journey. Don't forget to let go, have fun, and make memories together.