Setting Your Wedding Budget
Setting a wedding budget can be an overwhelming task. If you can’t set a plan at the beginning, though, you’ll spend way more than you expected to, and it could put you and your future husband into a big hole to begin your new lives together. Whether you want a simple back yard wedding, or an extravagant theatre wedding and reception, you have to maintain a tight budget. Here are some guidelines and questions that you might want to think about.

Who’s Got the Tab?
You need to sit down with your parents and the groom’s parents and decide how the wedding expenses are going to be dispersed. Traditionally, your parents are supposed to pay for the wedding in its entirety and the grooms parents are supposed to pay for the rehearsal dinner. With the economy the way it is, sometimes the bride and groom are picking up some of the tab too. After sitting down with your parents and in-laws, ask them to commit to a dollar amount, decide what you can contribute, and then add all of the commitments to create your budget. You may also want to ask them to commit to a specific aspect of the wedding instead of a dollar amount.

What Does Each Piece Cost?
There are many pieces to the wedding puzzle, and each has a dollar figure. Typically, the wedding budget can be broken down into a few major categories, and each of them has a percentage that should be attributed to the budget. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Invitations and Thank You Cards - 2% to 3%
  • Wedding Bands - 2% to 4%
  • The Ceremony - 2% to 5% (Just the venue, decorations, and the officiant)
  • Flowers - 8% to 10% (Everything from corsages and boutonnieres to centerpieces)
  • Attire - 6% to 10% (Wedding dress, tux rentals, wedding night apparel, etc.)
  • Entertainment/Music - 10% to 12%
  • Photography and Videography - 10% to 12%
  • Gifts for Wedding Party - 2% to 3%
  • Transportation - 2% to 3% (Limo or other escape vehicle, and parking for guests)
  • Reception - 48% to 52%
  • Miscellaneous - 8% to 10% (for the unexpected details and last minute changes)
  • Don’t forget the Honeymoon! If you’re paying for it yourself, add it to the budget. There’s no guideline for this one, but you can assure the best rates by calling Family Vacations at (317) 770-2211.
  • Always factor an extra 5% to 10% in for a “fudge factor”

What Won’t Make the Cut
What can you cut out of the expenses? When you’re running over budget and you have to let something go, start with the small stuff. For example, do you really need those cloth napkins? Can’t you get paper napkins to look just as nice? Go for flowers that are going to be in-season during the wedding month. They’re half the price when they’re in season. Remember, supply and demand. Settle for the town car limousine instead of the stretch Hummer. If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, you can cut out small bits and pieces as well. Maybe you get a $1 movie instead of going to the theatre, or you only get your cappuccino 3 times a week instead of 5. Every little bit helps!

What to NOT Cut Out
Make sure that your wedding dress is the perfect one for you. If you don’t love it now, you won’t love it when you look at the pictures 30 years from now. Sure, you can compare prices and maybe settle for a slightly less extravagant version without the designer label, but don’t settle for just anything. Don’t cut down your venue either. If you do not include guests in your invitation list that you see on a regular basis, they’re going to be upset that you didn’t invite them. Then you have the hassle of trying to figure out how to get past the guilt trip. When you start looking for a venue, remember to estimate how many guests you expect. When you send out invitations, remember that about half of the invited guests will attend.