The wedding budget almost always controls the wedding day, but it doesn’t need to be a win or lose situation. It can look like the celebrity wedding on a modest budget. We have a guide to creating a wedding budget and some hacks to make it all work.
The Bottom Line
Everything has a bottom line. Deciding upon that magical number will require some conversations, with others and yourself. Mom and dad might not be financing the day. You should determine how much you can spend, and if possible, recruit some contributors. The wedding budget requires a list of who is paying for what. Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for the wedding. The groom’s parents usually pay for and host the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes the groom’s family helps pay for the flowers and the bar. These days, many couples are having to pay for their own weddings. You might find aunts and uncles willing to contribute to some portion of the event, such as invitations or catering. Once you have a solid number for your wedding budget, you will need to utilize some creative wedding finance to make it work.
Making the Wedding Budget Work
Your wedding budget must work. You need to decide whether that number is fixed or flexible. Think about what the budget includes or does not include. Every element that goes into creating the experience has a price tag to match. The wedding venue, guest count, catering and every aspect of your magical day will have a magical number. The trick to making the wedding budget work is knowing how to spend. Most wedding planners have a formula that estimates the percentage you should spend in each category on the wedding budget to help you plan. It is important that you discover all the hacks to help you save in each category.
Wedding Budget for the Venue and Catering
The venue and the catering are probably going to be the most expensive items in the budget. You will need to budget for the ceremony, reception, furnishings, catering, alcohol, cake and dessert. Plan to spend about 50% of your wedding budget on this category. Hosting your ceremony and reception at an all-inclusive wedding venue avoids expensive rentals, and can save thousands on planning your wedding day.
A professional caterer with a reputation will cost between $25 and $40 per plate on average. Catering can cost less or much more, depending on quality, talent and reputation. If you are shopping for your catering, negotiate and customize your packages to receive the most savings. Haggling the price could work in your favor. Having a drop-off service that works with the banquet staff at your wedding venue can deliver a superior dining experience for less. Drop-off service is not right for everyone. If you desire full-service wedding catering with plated meals and table service, it will cost more.
Baking a cake is a labor-intensive project. The cost is determined by the effort, time, materials, size and all the embellishments. A larger cake will be more expensive than a smaller one, since there are more materials and it takes more hours to bake and design it. Fondant is more expensive than buttercream. Adding extra fillings and flavors can drive up the cost. You should also consider the topper and other embellishments. The cost of a wedding cake is commonly calculated by the slice. The average cost is about $8 to $10 per slice. Using dummy tiers can add to the wow factor and save on the cost of creating those skyscraper tiers. Keep in mind that the designer will still charge to decorate the extra tiers.
Documenting Your Wedding Day
You are spending so much for this one special day; therefore, you should probably spend a little to document it. The photography and videography can consume about 12% to 15% of your wedding budget. Wedding photography is one of the most important elements of your wedding day. This is one area that all wedding planners agree is a true investment. The cake will be devoured, flowers will wilt, and the dress will be retired to storage. The wedding photography is a true keepsake. The average couple spends between $2,500 and $5,000 on their wedding photography. Reputation, skill, talent and style can drive the cost up or down.
Wedding Budget for Entertainment
The wedding entertainment will be one of the most remembered elements of your wedding day. On average, couples allocate about 7% to 10% of their wedding budget for the entertainment. A live band exists on the opposite end of the spectrum as the DJ. They both might play the same music, but each will provide a different experience at a very different cost. Talent, popularity and time can drive the cost up or down for both. The average DJ costs between $800 and $2,000. In contrast, the average cost of a live band is between $3,000 and $6,000. Keep in mind that you can pay more or less for your talent.
Wedding Budget for the Transportation
Transportation costs will depend on the type of entrance and exit you want to make. Sports cars and rare vintage cars can cost the most. You might envision an arrival with your wedding party in a party bus. The bride and groom usually arrive separately and make their exit together. You might provide special transportation for the parents and grandparents. Out-of-town guests and those with disabilities might require a shuttle or special accommodations. Most couples only spend about 2% of their wedding budget on the transportation. The amount you spend will be determined by your vision and your bottom line.
Budgeting for the Décor
According to wedding planners, most couples spend between 6% and 10% of their wedding budget on the flowers and décor. Wedding flowers range from $2,000 to $5,000, and can cost much more. How much you spend on your wedding flowers will depend on the types of blooms you choose and the amount of flowers you require to create your dreamy space. The flowers might not be up for compromise, but if they are, quality artificial flowers can be combined with fresh flowers to stretch the wedding budget.
Crystal Ballroom on Lake Melva
Create your dream wedding at Crystal Ballroom on Lake Melva. The everything included concept will save you thousands on planning your fairy tale. Services include professional wedding designers to decorate the entire ceremony space and reception ballroom, a bartender service, banquet staff, tables, chairs, chinaware, linens, draperies and designs. Hand select your centerpieces, colors and accent pieces to create your dream wedding come true. Contact Crystal Ballroom on Lake Melva to begin planning your wedding day.