How to determine your wedding budget

You’re engaged!  The excitement is brewing!  You have a vision of your big day and everything about it!  And then… you have to think about the budget.  How much is your dream wedding going to cost?  What is the right amount of money to spend for your once-in-a-lifetime day?  Well, the answer is different for everyone, honestly.  But here are some tips to help determine your wedding budget.

  1. Make your guest list ASAP.  This is hard, as it’s one of the tedious things in the planning process.  But in order to really gauge how much you’ll spend, a guest list is a necessity.  A difference of 25 – 50 people is a big swing in cost!  It’s also helpful before choosing your venue to have an accurate assessment of how many guests you’ll invite (typically, 80% of that amount will be what actually comes to the wedding).  Plus, you are then able to make sure you have the right amount of space for both the ceremony and reception.
  2. Do some research before establishing a budget.  Couples often set a price point prior to researching venues, vendors, dresses, floral, etc… which can be challenging.  Until you’ve done a little research to get an idea of what things cost, it’s hard to set that dollar amount.  You could start touring venues, find one you love, and then realize that the cost is WAY more than what you anticipate spending!  Or you’ve seen the most beautiful centerpiece EVER on Pinterest, and really really want it – only to find out it’s $300 for that particular centerpiece, which happens to be your entire centerpiece budget.  Do some research first, it will save you time and disappointment in the long run!
  3. Split the budget into sections.  You’ll come up with a dollar amount for the entire wedding which is great.  But figure out what amount you are allotting to each piece as well.  For example:  Ceremony, Reception, Photography, Floral, Clothing, etc…  That way as you’re researching vendors you can help make sure you’re staying on point.
  4. Ask for estimates.  Any vendor you are using for your wedding day will happily provide you with an estimate of costs.  Make sure there aren’t any surprises/hidden fees.  On the venue side, always remember service charge/taxes (which we’ll always include in any estimate).  Be sure to clarify what you’re getting for what price.  The last thing you want is an additional cost the week of the wedding that you weren’t expecting!  Vendors always try to be up front, but it doesn’t help to make sure you’re asking the right questions as well.
  5. Ask about discounts.  Many vendors offer discounted pricing/rates for Off Peak Weddings.  Also, choosing a Friday or Sunday can save you big money most places!
  6. Make wish lists.  Divide your “wish lists” into categories:  Must Have, Really Want, If Budget Allows, If We Win The Lottery, etc…  This way, you can prioritize those items.
  7. Don’t go overboard.  Yes, it’s your wedding day, and Yes, you want it to be amazing!  And we all wish we had an unlimited budget for these special occasions!  However, be realistic.  Ultimately the most important thing about your wedding day is the commitment you’re making to your spouse.  It will be amazing regardless of the amount of money you spend, all because you’ll be marrying the person you’ve always dreamt about.

Close up of wedding cake figurines on stacks of coins

You can find tons of wedding budget checklists/spreadsheets online.  This option from The Knot is great!  If you have any questions on what the Embassy Suites by Hilton Bloomington can offer for your big day, please contact us!

 

Happy wedding planning!

– Allie