Saturday, September 20, 2014

Setting a Wedding Budget

The first, and probably most important, thing to do when starting to plan a wedding is to figure out your budget.  This can be difficult to do, but you have to make an estimate so you know what you can work with.  Things always end up costing more, and there are things you generally don't think about, but having an idea is important.

I always say to start by researching what your dream wedding (well dream wedding in a realistic way) would be.  See what that ends up costing, and what each individual thing costs, and you can decide if you need to cut back, what the most important things are, and you can work around that.

For those people that are budget conscious, these are the areas that I found affect price the most:

Guest Count
This is by far the biggest expense factor.  There are so many things that cost per head, not just the food and drink which is pricey, but many other things.

Time of Year
Everyone gets married between the months of May and August.  That means the prices are high.  Even if you're not into the winter wedding idea, spring and fall can be beautiful, and maybe even nicer weather.  You'll save thousands.

Day of the Week
Saturday is the highest price for a wedding.  Friday and Sunday are slightly cheaper.  And weekdays are even cheaper.  You'll save at least $1,000 just by changing to a Friday or Sunday and double or triple that during the week.

While general areas are more expensive, don't let that deter you from one area.  There are smaller or lesser-known places that are cheaper.  This just requires a lot of research.  Just know that places that you know about before you start wedding research are probably going to be insanely expensive.  Find places that are hidden gems, believe me, they do exist.

Food and Drink
Wedding CateringFood usually starts at $30 per person and can go as high as $100 per person.  Buffet option is usually cheaper than seated courses.  But if you don't mind forgoing the normal catering for a wedding, there can be other fun options to save money like having an afternoon picnic wedding or renting food trucks.

Drink prices can vary greatly depending on what amount of alcohol you want to pay for.  Obviously having your guests pay for their own drinks is the cheapest option, but it is a bit tacky.  There are usually three payment options for drinks: bring your own, per person, and per bottle/drink.  Bringing your own can save money by ordering in bulk directly from a distributor but be aware of corkage fees at your venue.  I found that the per person option was the easiest to determine your drink budget because it can be nearly impossible to figure out how many drinks will be ordered.  By paying per person, you can guarantee that your guests will have all they can drink for a set amount.  This doesn't have to be all alcohol.  You can pay for just beer and wine and have your guests pay for hard liquor, etc.

These are the areas that I found most influential in the budget.  As I said before, it is important to figure out what is most important to you.  If you really want good food, it's okay to spend a little more on that and cut back in other areas that aren't as important to you.  Although I'm all about saving money, it is your one chance (hopefully) to have the day you've always dreamed of.  There will have to be some compromises but make sure that there many things that you are very excited about so you don't mind compromising in other things.

Learn about saving money on wedding flowers here

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