What is your financial comfort zone?
Today, we are going to tackle one of the biggest questions we get asked as wedding planners: HOW TO SET A WEDDING BUDGET.
But 1st, have you been loving our new blog as much as we have? We launched our new blog a few months ago & have talked about what steps to take before planning a wedding and why you need a wedding planner. If you need help planning your wedding in DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV), or beyond, you can read more about our wedding planning services here.
If you are ready to save the date (2023 and 2024 calendars dates are open!), the easiest way to get in touch is through our contact form here. When you book our wedding planning services, we will help you create a budget that reflects your wedding day priorities and makes you feel excited about your wedding day. For now keep reading for just a few tips for setting your wedding budget!
When setting your wedding budget, really think about your financial comfort zone. Think about waking up the day following your wedding and saying, “Our (insert amount) was well spent”. That number is your starting point or your financial comfort zone. It’s an amount you can imagine spending (before exploring) without feeling like you’ve completely lost your mind.
Next start your research. Discover the average cost of a wedding in the area(s) you wish to host the celebration. According to The Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding in the DMV in 2019 was between $33,300 & $40,600. Each year with the increase of goods and services the average rises. How does the average cost compare to your financial comfort zone amount?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you plan to save money for your wedding or have you already done so?
What is the time frame you have to prepare financially for your wedding?
How much can you save based on your disposable income?
Will you accept financial contributions from family members?
These questions will help you shape your financial comfort zone, thus outlining your wedding budget. There are a number of factors, like how much money you and your partner have to spend, the location and time of year you're getting married, and your top priorities that will determine which wedding expenses to include in your budget... which will be different for every couple.
It helps to research the cost of some line items and must-haves that you will need, like the average cost of food and beverage per person in your area. Even the average cost of wedding photographers and make-up artists and so-on. Despite what you may have been told by online budget calculators, there isn’t a standard percentage for each wedding expense.
Below is a list of wedding expenses that should be considered in your budget:
Food & Beverage
We encourage our couples to further shape their budget by evaluating their guest count, to help show what your wedding budget will really look like on the day. Think about what type of experience you wish for your guests to have. Look back at the areas of the wedding that are your top priority. Then ask yourself what matters more: the guest count or the wedding experience. If you're limited with what you can (or want to) spend, cut your guest count, then you can host an incredibly detailed micro wedding for 20-30 of your closest family and friends, or a fairly limited wedding for 75 people (no open bar, no upgraded options).
Lastly, create a planning timeline, which will help you stay on track with saving targets and payment deadlines for wedding expenses. Ask your wedding planner if they provide wedding budget managing services. Wedding budget breakdowns are simply to be used as a starting point to give you a general understanding of how to allocate your funds. Costs vary by region, state and sometimes cities. Most couples often exceed their initial wedding budget so be sure there is some wiggle room. Remember what you find in your research should only be used as a guide. Take a look at this businessinsider article as your first step into the research of how much a wedding costs.
You don’t need to go through the wedding planning process alone (and in our opinion – you shouldn’t!). You can read more about our wedding planning packages here, or if you have questions and want to connect, contact us here.
For more information, view Wedding Wires study on how engaged couples budget and save for their wedding to get more ideas on how to make the best financial strategy for your wedding.