Ah, the wonderful world of wedding planning. To what do you owe this fun (and definitely not stressful at all) honor? That’s right, your future spouse! But before you decide to unload all of your pre-wedding stress on your significant other, we’ve got some tips that’ll help make sure your wedding planning process really is nothing but fun. We’re addressing the biggest contributor of your pre-nuptial woes: money. So how do you make money a non-issue? It’s simple—set up a wedding budget!
Where to Start
Okay, so hopefully Mr. Wonderful had some sort of plan in mind and didn’t expect you to fly out to Vegas to be wed on the spot in some rinky-dink venue. Hopefully, the two of you have some savings lying around that were practically begging to be used on a wedding. Well, your savings is the perfect place to start. Grab your computer and tally up your finances on a detailed spreadsheet. Be sure to include you and your fiancé’s combined savings, an estimated amount you’ll set aside every month until the wedding, plus any potential contributions from family or loved ones (make sure these people get a good seat at the wedding, by the way).
How Much Should You Save
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How much money should you be setting aside each month before the wedding? The short answer: it varies. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is just over $30,000, though in some parts of the country, it can be a lot more. Needless to say, most couples don’t have an extra $30,000 lying around, so you’ll have to beef up your savings, and quickly! The first thing to do is to establish a savings timeline. Are you getting married in a year and have $15,000 from your family and combined savings to start off with? Well, you’ll need to save $1,250 every month leading up to the big day. If you’re starting with less, then you’ll have to save more. Naturally, falling into the rhythm of saving so much can be hard. Thankfully, there are apps out there that make this easy by putting your savings on autopilot—take this one for example. Now, you can sit back and watch as your money grows!
What to Spend It On
Most of your wedding costs can be determined by your guest list. Your guest list will ultimately decide what venue, food, and beverages you wish to choose. This should define around 40 percent of your budget. The remaining amount should be spent on fixed costs, such as a photographer, videographer, and entertainment. But let’s not forget about all the miscellaneous expenses that don’t necessarily get the most attention, but need to be funded nonetheless. I’m talking about the money needed for transportation, lighting, labor, tips, and anything else you might need to make your big day a hit! Keeping track of all of this can be difficult. To make it easier, we’ve included a helpful budget breakdown based on a survey from Brides:
Venue, Food, and Beverages = 40 percent
Photography/Videography = 15 percent
Entertainment = 10 percent
Floral Inclusions = 10 percent
Decorations = 10 percent
Wedding Attire = 5 percent
Favors and Gifts = 2 percent
Transportation = 3 percent
Stationery = 3 percent
Cake = 2 percent
Whether you have some savings or are starting from scratch, make no mistake, weddings are expensive endeavors. However, learning to communicate with your spouse about financial matters and being able to successfully navigate through the sometimes murky waters of wedding planning will serve you well in your new life to come. By following a budget, you’re giving yourself a recipe for success—just be sure to stick to it!