Show Me The Money, But Like Reasonable.
The least fun part of wedding planning. Seriously, who wants to talk about how much things actually are? Can't we just dream of all the things and then just get them? I want that to be possible for you too, but ya know, life is a thing and vendor pricing is too.
Photo by Erica Kait Creative.
So! Let's talk about how to get your priorities in line so you can take this on in the least stressful way possible. First of all, if you're a full service client of mine, don't read this post haha! These are all things we chat about at the beginning.
But if you're looking for a little direction here we go!
First of all, chat about what your top number is. Chat with your partner, with your family and just have a relaxed and honest question about numbers. A lot of folks are reluctant to assign a budget ceiling either because they aren't sure what to expect with pricing or they don't want to give a large number that you spend just to reach. I will tell you why I think this is a mistake. If you take things piece by piece, line items may feel reasonable at first, but when you put them all together you could end up spending more than you would like to. It is WAY easier to start with your max and then back track through each line item to make sure you stay on track.
You can always change your mind here! If you find a vendor you are obsessed with and decide to extend the budget to bring them on to the team, that's amazing! Likewise if you get into it and feel like things are getting too high too fast, then you can always revisit your spreadsheet and reel it in.
Photo by Powers Studios.
I'll tell you my fave phrase I use for this. Quote for the dream, and then reel in as necessary. You can either scale your budget up to the dream or the dream down to the budget so you may as well start with the worst case scenario haha!
Next thing is to align priorities. If food is the most important to you and your partner then go for the dream there and find a vendor who you are really excited about. Everything else will fall into place if you get what you really want at the outset.
Here are some things to consider.
* Keep your venue at or below 25% of your overall budget. You can give a little more here if they include tables and chairs.
* Catering can take up to 40% of your budget so make sure you account for this or chat about how you can keep costs down there.
* This can only leave you with about 30% to get in coordination, floral, dessert, makeup and hair and entertainment. Sounds insane I know, so when you are booking those first few vendors make sure you have this in mind and are planning for this!
None of this is to make you feel overwhelmed! Budget can get overwhelming if you don't do the work in the beginning to make sure everything is in line before you get to booking.
Also...MAKE A SPREADSHEET. Like this one! Here are the fields I use for our clients and of course customize for each of our couples. Notice there are still many things that it doesn't cover, like rings, so depending on how strictly you are adhering to your numbers, you may be adding a little bit here.
Pro-Tip! If you're splitting things with different arms of your family it can be super helpful to have them take on particular components of the day as opposed to dollar amounts. Sometimes it feels better to ask someone to contribute the photography instead of just asking for $3500. Giving your support people a tangible thing they can point to on the day can offer a sense of pride for them which we always love to give. LOVE making our people feel good on our wedding day because then we all feel that love!
Photo by Emily Hall.
So get out there and start plugging in numbers! If you hit a road block, you know where to find me. :)