After the excitement of the proposal dies down, it is time to start with the wedding planning! Planning your wedding can go down two paths- one of fear, uncertainty and anxiety or one of laughter, (happy) tears and bonding time with those closest to you. To make the experience enjoyable it is best to have a solid game plan that is clear and easy for everyone to follow. So I suggest the very first step of planning any wedding, is to sit down with the people contributing to openly discuss what the budget will be set at.
Typically the bride and groom will make plans with each set of parents, separately, to discuss this delicate issue. No one is obligated to contribute anything and it is best to be humbled and thankful for what ever amount they are able to provide. Also, maybe your parents aren’t able to contribute but your grandparents, godparents or other people close to you want to contribute. Meet with each group separately to keep the pressure down.
Who pays for what?
One way to sort out “who pays for what” is to create a list of vendors that will be needed- such as venue, photographer, dj, event planner- and have the people contributing choose how they would like to contribute. Maybe father and son share a passion for music, so the groom’s parents will pitch in for the entertainment. Or perhaps the bride and groom will pay for the venue and the parents are splitting the remaining vendors between themselves. Traditionally the bride’s parents paid for the wedding and the groom’s got the rehearsal dinner. Now, everyone is pitching in to make one great party that brings two families together.
The other, and probably more traditional way, to budget for the wedding is to be given a set amount of money and then the bride and groom can determine how it is allocated.
First draft of the Budget
I have a list of the percentage that should be put towards each section of the budget for a typical. I have never had it work out exactly like this but it is a handy tool to get a starting point. I ask the client to figure out the total budget amount and fill in their amounts based on the corresponding percentage.
Food, drinks, Reception Fees – 42%
Photography – 8%
Wedding Rings – 7%
Flowers – 6%
Wedding Coordinator – 6%
Dress – 5%
Rehearsal Dinner – 5%
Videography – 5%
Reception Entertainment – 4%
Hair and Makeup – 2%
Invitations and Announcements -2%
Church/ Chapel fee – 2%
Wedding Cake – 2%
Transportation – 2%
Favors – 1%
Groom’s wear – 1%
So a person with a $50,000 budget would have something like this:
Food, drinks, Reception Fees – 42% – $21,000
Photography – 8% – $4,000
Wedding Rings – 7% – $3,500
Flowers – 6% – $3,000
Wedding Coordinator/ designer 6% – $3,000
Rehearsal Dinner – 5% – $2,500
Dress – 5% – $2,500
Videography – 5% – $2,500
Reception Entertainment – 4% – $2,000
Hair and Makeup – 2% – $1,000
Invitations and Announcements -2% – $1,000
Church/ Chapel fee – 2% – $1,000
Wedding Cake – 2% – $1,000
Transportation – 2% – $1,000
Favors – 1% – $500
Groom’s wear – 1% – $500
It isn’t going to be exactly what you feel is most important on your wedding day but it helps to provide a reasonable base to begin working off. So congrats, you have your first draft completed!
Choose your top 3
After the budget is all worked out and you have an idea of what you should be spending on each vendor. It is time for the bride and groom to choose their top 3 must haves. They each can decide what the most important vendors are to them and then share their lists to see if there are any that match up. If you do have any that match up then those will be put to the top of the list. So once you decide what the most important vendors are you can begin shifting the percentages to what works best for you.
If you have a photography crush that is really pricey and don’t care about video, then just combine the two percentages to stay in budget. Or if you have a great classic car that your uncle will drive during the getaway then just scratch transportation all together.