Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Let's be real here; calculating your budget will not be an exciting part of your planning process, and it's one of the first things you'll need to do. This step, although important, is stressful and tedious compared to the fun parts like cake tasting and dress shopping. As much as your planner would like to help, only you know your budget. But, if you continue reading you'll learn all of the tips and advice that I can give to you, to lessen some of the budget-setting stress.
1. Figure Out Who's Contributing
Sit down with your family members and have a conversation about funds. Yes, I know that conversations about money are awkward, but you're planning probably the single biggest party you'll ever throw. Knowing who can pay how much, and for what are essential to figuring out your bottom line.
2. Crunch Some Numbers
Once you have an idea of how much financial assistance you'll receive, focus on your own contribution. If you set a strict budget and you don't stick to it flawlessly, that's okay. That's why it's important to decide how much you can comfortably afford, without allocating your entire savings account.
Calculate your real-life expenses and monthly income
Figure out how much you'll both reasonably save before the wedding
Decide how much of your savings account you can realistically commit
3. Estimate a Guest Count
At this point in the planning, it's impossible to know an exact number of guests. This is when you'll want to make a list of people you'll want to invite. Keep in mind that the higher the guest count, the higher your wedding price tag. Looking at your wedding as a "per-person" expenditure will help put the costs into perspective. Sorry third cousin twice removed, we can't afford your dinner, drinks and dessert. We'll miss you at the wedding!
4. Prioritize Splurges
You and your partner should each come up with one or two wedding items you can't live without. For some, it may be music and dinner. Or maybe an open bar, or even the designer dress you have saved on Pinterest. Once you decide, you can allot a bigger percentage of your budget to them—which will also solidify how much you'll have left for the other wedding items that aren't so super important to you.
Finally, once you've finished doing the math you though you'd never do after high school, you should have your approximate budget. Remember, even though your wedding may be the most important day to you, you won't want to spend the start of your new marriage in debt. Here's some extra tips, just to keep you on track.
Ask for help instead of wedding gifts
Start putting aside some savings as soon as you get engaged
Hold the ceremony at home, or outdoors
Recruit help, see if friends or family will cook the food, or take the photos
Make your own invitations
Skip bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts
Open up a separate wedding checking account so it's easy to keep track of
DIY as much as you can
Consider buying used decorations
Go minimal with the flowers
Skip the favors-guests usually don't keep them
Don't rack up your credit cards
Allow more time to plan before the wedding, research as much as you can
Utilize you planner to help find deals and sales