Broker Check

Budgeting for a wedding

February 23, 2023

I got married almost a year ago.  Honestly, I can't believe it because it has gone by so fast. .  As I reflected on the wedding with my wife, we talked about the lead-up to the wedding and all of the planning that went in.  The planning and all of the moving pieces that went into the wedding blew my mind at the time so I wanted to put some of my thoughts to paper. 

  1. Have the budget conversation EARLY
    • While it doesn't sound fun to discuss right away, knowing your budget will clarify many things for you.  If your budget is $10,000, that eliminates a lot of venues, caterers, DJs, and photographers right away so you don't want to spend time on things you can't afford. 
    • Setting these parameters will let you know in what range to shop.  It's like shopping for a car or a house. If you have a $5,000 budget, the Mercedes dealership probably shouldn't be on your car shopping list. 
    • Make sure you have some fluff built in... there are always extras and last-minute things that will pop up to stress the budget. 
  2. Determine family support
    • Thankfully for us, both of our families were very supportive of the wedding financially, emotionally, and in the planning process.
    • Having a firm understanding of budgets and who is paying for what will save a lot of headaches in the long run
  3. Decide what's important...and stick to it
    • What I found was that everything with the word "Wedding" attached seems to cost about 30% more. 
    • There's a famous quote that says, "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything." When it comes to wedding planning, this may be the most important thing. There will always be upgrades to buy, a better photographer, caterer, etc. but you have to decide what is most important to you and where to spend your money
    • For example, my wife wanted a certain photographer that was going to stretch our budget. We decided to go with a less fancy caterer that our families both like locally and the savings from the catering decision helped us upgrade elsewhere.
  4. Leverage your network
    • Ask your friends and family who they know in certain areas.  You may get a deal or, at the very least, a great tip on a cost-effective solution to a problem you are struggling with. 
  5. Build a timeline as soon as you set a date
    • Everything will sneak up on you: dates of deposits, first & final payments, decisions, and lead times.  
      • This will help you budget and cash flow on the leadup for the wedding so you don't have any surprise expenses.

In the final months, we instituted "Wedding Wednesday" where my parents and my future in-laws met to discuss what was coming due, what needed to be paid, what and decisions needed to be made that week.  This was tremendously helpful to help disperse the work across our families so we weren't overwhelmed. You would be surprised at how many phone calls it takes just to confirm the catering menu or the itinerary for the shuttle on the wedding day.  

I thought wedding planning was very stressful. It seemed like there was always something to decide on or something we needed to finalize. By the time the big day arrived, I was just happy the planning phase was over and we could just enjoy the day, rather than talk about it. By planning ahead of time, you can limit that stress and spend more time focusing on the big day.