Planning your wedding can be quite the undertaking. So many things to get handled, so many vendors to find, so little time (it seems) to get it all done. Between that and dealing with budgets it can all become frustrating and overwhelming very quickly! Most brides start by going out and buying a planner at the local bookstore. These guides can be a great tool for keeping you organized and making sure you aren’t missing the little details that are easy to overlook.
What I would like to talk about in this article is setting your budgets based on these guides. I have seen countless couples determine their budget based solely on these guides, and often find that it isn’t practical for their specific wants and needs. Using these tools can be helpful while planning, but you should be prepared to tweak specific aspects to fit your personal preferences.
I think an important first step in setting your budget is setting your priorities! Before you even buy the planner you should be sitting down to discuss what areas of your day are the most important to you. Do you want the best food and decor, but the photography and limo aren’t as important? Maybe the photos are most important and you don’t care as much about an open bar and the venue decor. Or maybe entertainment is the most important and flowers aren’t as big of a deal.
Regardless of your personal preferences, as a couple, you should be deciding what areas are most important to you as well as those areas where you are willing to sacrifice. The reason I say this is simple. As you are meeting with prospective vendors (and you should be!) you may come across the one that is your “Must Have!” If that vendor is slightly higher than what your book said you should expect to spend you shouldn’t feel like your budget will be destroyed! Vendors are going to vary in price, sometimes they will vary GREATLY!
For instance, in my market, you can book a wedding photographer for anywhere from $1,200 up to $10,000. If photography is your biggest concern and you are meeting with photographers you will eventually find one that you feel the most comfortable with. If their price is slightly higher than the last 2 or 3 photographers you met with it would be silly to rule them out based on price. Remember, these are the people you are trusting with the highest priority aspects of your wedding. Many of the most sought-after services are slightly higher in price than the rest of the competition, as most people should expect.
The important thing is this: This is not the time to panic! You should be booking the highest priority vendors first. If you run a little over budget on a couple vendors that you really loved, just pull back the reins on a couple of those areas that were not as important to you.
Remember that it is your day! Don’t let a generic budget get in the way of you booking the services that are right for you!