Your wedding day should be everything you dreamed of and more. Naturally though wedding budgets have their limitations, so it’s always useful to think of ways to be more creative with your finances.With nearly a quarter of your wedding budget going on the cost of a wedding venue, this is one of the biggest expenses incurred. But, there are a few steps that can be taken to help curb these costs.
Here’s a few ways:
Start With a Well-Defined Budget
Saving money on your wedding begins with a strict, clearly defined budget. Use the following steps to create it.
Set a Hard Maximum
First, look at your savings and determine how much you and your soon-to-be spouse can afford to put toward your wedding – every single aspect of it. If appropriate, talk to your respective parents about what, if anything, they’d be willing to pay for. The sum of these figures should be your absolute maximum.
List All Known Expenses
Next, make a spreadsheet and tally up every expense you can think of. For fixed costs such as the DJ or band, venue, outdoor furniture, and officiant, source a range of price quotes in your area or directly ask the person or company you hope to use.
Make Educated Estimates for Other Expenses
For things like food and drinks, estimate how many people you expect at your wedding and how much the average person is going to consume. In our case, we figured that each guest, on average, would need about a pound of food and six drinks.
Of course, we knew some of our guests would just pick and sip, but others would go back for seconds and constantly have a drink in their hands. Based on what you know about your crowd, determine which end of the spectrum they’re likely to fall on. If you’re holding your wedding at a catered venue, the onsite wedding planner or catering manager should be able to provide exact figures for food (per person) and drink (per drink). A buddy of mine who got married at a swanky New York venue told me that precise foreknowledge of each person’s food expense dramatically reduced financial uncertainty around the expensive event.
Build a Buffer
Finally, build in a buffer for last-minute or unknown expenses, such as extra decorations, additional tables, and staff tips. In a catered facility, exact drink costs will be a wildcard as well – according to my New York friend, they needed a substantial buffer solely for drinks, since they weren’t sure how much their guests would consume. Depending on the extent of these unknowns, your buffer could range from 5% to 30% of your budget. In our case, the initial buffer was 15%, and we ended up using about half of it.
Arrive at Your Target Budget. The sum of the figures in steps two through four should be your budget goal. If that number is more than your maximum from step one, you may need to reevaluate your priorities and jettison any ideas that aren’t essential to your vision.