HOORAY! YOU’RE ENGAGED!
It kind of feels like a sprint to plan your wedding right now doesn’t it? —>
Don’t worry! The hustle will peter out once you book your venue and vendors! BUT before you hustle to book your favorite vendors there’s something you should do first —> BUDGET PLANNING!
There have been times when I’ve received inquiries from couples who have already significantly over-spent on one element of the wedding. For example, there was one couple who had a 150 person guest count with a $12,000 budget and they’d already booked their venue for $4,000 (one that will required a tent rental, table rentals, chair rentals, a restroom trailer rental and asked that the caterer be selected from their preferred vendor list of awesome, but not cheap, caterers). Any seasoned wedding planner will tell you that this equation does not add up to a happy ending.
A venue should only take up about 10% of a wedding budget but this couple had already committed 30% of their total wedding budget to it before contacting me which would have led to them either significantly over-spending on their budget, cutting corners rather than using professional vendors or completely cutting many traditional (and desired) elements out of their wedding day.
all ye who are about to jump into wedding panning, and do some budget planning first!
The simplest route that I suggest would be to:
Talk to all parties who are contributing to the wedding fund and find out how much they are planning on contributing. Then add up the total amount that you have to work with.
Take a look at our EBJ basic wedding planning percentages so you have an idea of how much of your wedding budget should be allocated to each category. (This automatically goes out to each EBJ bride but if you’re not an EBJ bride and you’re interested in seeing our Budgeting Guide you can download the freebie at the bottom of this page).
Take a step back as a couple and evaluate what’s most important to YOU. Is it to have an awesome 8 piece band? Is it a killer 5 course menu? Designer wedding dress? Flowers draping from every surface? The best of the best wedding photographer?
Go back to the basic skeleton of wedding percentages in our Wedding Budgeting Guide and add a little bit to the categories you’d like to prioritize and subtract a little bit from the ones you don’t need or are not as important. Maybe you can cut out transportation or favors completely. Or maybe you want that dream photographer but don’t mind barbecue for dinner or a DIY cookie table (as is pictured above). Be realistic and know that most couples (unless they have an unlimited budget) do not get top notch everything and be willing to adjust your expectations based on your priorities and budget.
If you haven’t already - now would be the time to hire a wedding planner or coordinator. If you think you’ll hire a full-service planner to walk alongside you the whole way, do that before you even go over budget and priorities and we’ll help you through that process. If you’re thinking you’ll just have a “day-of” or “month-of” coordinator, you now know how much you can allocate to that expense and this would be the perfect time to hire one! You want to hire your planner or coordinator first because you now have an idea of how much you have to spend on each vendor/category and planners are familiar with all of the awesome vendors in the market. At EBJ we like to feel out our couples for their style and budget and point them to the best vendors that their money can buy! Planners also know which vendors might not have the best reputation or might be difficult to work with and it would be a shame if you hired one of those vendors first before hiring your planner who would have steered you away - so hire your planner first!
Download Our Wedding Budgeting Guide
Good on you for wanting to take a look into how to effectively plan for a well rounded wedding! On top of this simple Wedding Budgeting Guide we at EBJ give all of our clients access to an amazing wedding planning software with a super robust budgeting module that will take your wedding budgeting to the next level, so be sure to ask us about that if you’re interested in our planning/coordinating services!