CREATING A WEDDING BUDGET (AND WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT)
Congratulations --- You're engaged! While those initial butterflies overflow when you wake up with that ring on your finger, it seems like it's just a few minutes after he took a knee before the questions start coming in: Where will your wedding be!? When is the date!? Have you thought about colors?!
As exciting as engagement is, it seems as though the stress almost immediately follows when wedding planning begins. I'm a big proponent of full, comprehensive planning --- knowing where you're going and how you're going to get there, and thus minimizing stress.
The best way to plan is to create and use a budget.
"Budget" often tends to have a negative connotation - like you're pinching pennies, or going for the minimum. However, I'm a firm believer that people of all ages, stages, and income levels need to budget. Not necessarily in order to spend the least amount of money all the time - but instead, to plan well, use wisdom, and know what to expect and when to expect it.
Think about car buying. If you're overall income level for the year is $50,000, you're probably not looking to buy a Ferrari. If you're overall income level for the year is $2,000,000, you're probably not looking to buy a '98 Chevy. Desire, ranking of importance, and income level all contribute to the amount you'd like to spend on any component of your life.
Wedding planning is no exception. There is no "right" or "wrong" for wedding day spending -- whether you're trying to keep in under $10K or excited to reach $50K, it is still prudent and helpful to know where your money is going. It will make shopping around easier (you'll know based on pricing what you can and cannot afford with different vendors), you won't find yourself out of money halfway through vendor bookings, and you'll be prepared and mindful prior to writing checks, thus making better use of your money and managing money more wisely amidst the chaos.
Plus, the bonus is, if you set limits ahead of time, you're less likely to over-spend and thus will save money in the long-run.
There are some Pinterest graphics on budgeting here, an article on The Knot here, and another article on OneWed here which all address some component of budgeting. Using these resources and my own experience in the industry, I have created a budgeting tool in Excel that you can download and use here. The good news is, most vendor categories have a wide range of cost, making virtually any budget manageable. (Though, I will add, in every vendor category, the adage is true: you typically get what you pay for.)
Happy Budgeting, and Happy Engagement Season! Cheers to being wise, splurging a little, saving a little, and cherishing your spouse-to-be through it all. xoxo