The first step when planning your wedding (or any event for that matter) is to create a budget. Your event budget will determine what time of year the event will be, your food choices, guest count and everything else. I will show you how to create a wedding budget and also how to keep the wedding budget organized during the planning process.
Step One: Determine Who is Contributing and How Much
Traditionally the bride’s father paid for the entire wedding but today’s modern couples are a bit older and more financially independent from their parents than in the past. It is much more common for a couple to pay for the majority of the wedding events themselves.
If the couple is paying for their own wedding, they would need to have a very honest conversation about the realistic amount of money that can be saved during their engagement. A couple should try to save between 10-20% of their monthly income. This is not a time to skip any regular bills/ payments though, keep your priorities in order.
If the couple will be asking their parents for help with the expenses, it is best to have separate, private conversations with both sides of the family. You can ask your parents to contribute a specific amount of money or to host a part of the festivities. For example, the bride’s parents will host the reception while the groom’s parents will cover the rehearsal dinner and ceremony costs.
Step Two: Determining an Estimated Budget Guideline
I suggest the bride and groom each make a list of the top 3 most important elements and the least 3 important elements on their wedding day. When they reveal their lists to each other they can begin to prioritize where to spend their budget. Hopefully the lists will match but if not, it is the perfect exercise in compromising!
The below breakdown is just a rough estimate. You may find yourselves adding new categories and eliminating some all together. This is just to serve as a starting guide.
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund.
If you’re paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.
Source: The Knot
Step Three: Create and Save a Budget Spreadsheet
Create an Excel Spreadsheet Titled as “Wedding Budget”. In the first column on the left side of the page list out all of your vendors. For example, when you first create your spreadsheet include: Caterer, Venue, Ceremony, Florist, Band, Photographer, Videographer, Lighting, Baker, Attire, Officiant and Invitations. I always include the company details, such as, contact person, address and phone number. You will most likely add sections to your budget as the planning progresses. Also, I like to add a Notes section to each Vendor where I include correspondence notes (when I called, left message, etc).
Next fill in the budget details. Create a column for total cost and enter in the agreed upon rate for the service and the date final payment is due. Add another column for deposits amount and due date.
If there are multiple people contributing be sure to create a column for each. For example, you may have three columns showing Bride’s Parents, Groom’s Parents and Bride/ Groom. This was you are able to use the sum function to determine how much each person has contributed and also the total cost. Check out this detailed Video on About.com for more spreadsheet tips.
What are the most important Budget Items for your Wedding Day?
Do you have any tips on keeping your budget organized?