Let’s face it; while weddings are enjoyable and memorable, they can become expensive…fast. According to the Knot, the average cost for a wedding was around $31,000, with the wedding reception being the most expensive.
If you and your significant other are paying for a majority (or even partially) the wedding, it is time to make a wedding budget—especially before you start looking at affordable wedding venues. Read on and answer these questions when you start creating a wedding budget!
1. How much can you contribute to the budget?
The same goes for your SO. You need to figure out this specific dollar amount; that way, you can add your and their contributions up and that’s the available funds you can allot to your wedding.
Or you could consider your two incomes and what you are comfortable and willing to set aside for the wedding. If you want a larger budget for your wedding, figure out if you can cut down on current expenses (which we will get more into detail later).
2. What are your priorities?
Wedding costs can easily add up; photography or videography can be surprisingly expensive, coming to wedding reception. That said, you need to make a list of all of the wedding expenses. Even the ones, you don’t think you need to list. Take balloons, for example.
Then each of you circle your top three. These are the ones you would be willing to spend more money on. Based on your budget, you can expand or limit this area.
From there, you can focus on reducing areas of least importance to contributing most financially to areas of greater importance.
3. Think of Your Ideal Wedding Dollar Amount as Your Goal
Don’t think of that dollar amount as an abstract number hanging in the air, forever from your reach.
Just like going to the gym or trying something new, it is a goal; thinking of it like that makes it not as out of reach and in fact much more feasible.
4. Break Down Your Wedding Dollar Amount
Yes, you are saving up and budget for your wedding. It is a big deal. But you don’t have to start by contributing a huge amount.
In fact, you may put budgeting off because the large amount stresses you out. In which case, it may be best to start small.
Break up your monetary amount. Let’s say you and your SO are saving up roughly $30,000 for the wedding.
Most likely, you can’t reach this number in a month or two, which means divide it up into realistic chunks. In other words, break your goal up into smaller goals.
So, instead of shooting for $30,000 in 2 months, perhaps shoot for $5,000? After another 2 months’ past, get to $10,000. In doing this, you will much more encourage after achieving this smaller goal after the 2- or 4-month mark versus not meeting $30,000 in that time.
5. Have an Emergency Wedding Fund in Place
This is for in case a wedding-related emergency happens before or during the wedding. For instance, if it is forecasted to rain, and you buy umbrellas for your guests. Or your wedding dress rips and you need to take it to the seamstress.
6. If Comfortable, Ask Family and Friends to Contribute
You could even start a wedding contribution fund. Instead of family and friends buying your wedding presents, they add to your wedding fund.
You can do this the old fashion way with a jar marked wedding fund where family and friends give you money.
At the same time, you might want to offer family and friends an alternative should they not feel comfortable just handing you and your SO money.
At the end of the day, your family and friends want to help you out and support you, your SO, and your partnership.
Because of this, don’t be afraid to speak up about this contribution fund.
7. Cut Down on Expenses
Set aside the non-negotiables, such as rent or a mortgage, food, utilities, car payment, etc. Then look at negotiables. This means eating out, entertainment, shopping, etc.
Perhaps you can eat out once a week instead of twice a week? What about bringing your lunch to your work versus buying it? That and buying generic food brands. Plus if your commute is close, save gas and wear and tear by riding your bike to work.
These are but a few ways you can save up for your wedding; spend an hour where you and your SO create a list of more ways you can go about doing this.
8. Go for All-Inclusive Wedding Deals Versus Individual Vendors
Normally all-inclusive wedding deals are like going to the buffet. You pay a set amount and you have access to all of these types of food (in this case vendors) at a fraction of the cost.
However, what if you or your SO has a friend who’s a professional photographer and you want her to take the pictures?
Where is the line drawn between wedding package and individual vendor? Can you have both? This is when we recommend discussing a customized wedding package. That way, you can pick and choose what you want.
9. Use Positive Reinforcement to Reward Achieving Goal Milestones
Positive reinforcement is something that rewards good behavior—take achieving a goal, for instance. To make sure you and your SO stay encouraged even during financial hiccups, give yourselves positive reinforcement after accomplishing goal milestones.
This could mean going out to see a movie and getting dinner. Or going to the beach or having a picnic. Whatever you decide, just like with staying with your goals, make sure you consistently reward yourself with positive reinforcement.
That way, you are more encourage and eager to get to the next milestone.
10. Start Looking for Affordable Wedding Venues
Wedding venues can easily get in the thousands. To keep it as within budget as possible, start looking early and comparing prices.
Talk with the special events manager to see if you can get the venue at a reduced price if you have your wedding during the offseason. Consider this especially if the venue would be indoors and weather would not be a factor. Most likely, this will save you thousands.
11. Be Reasonable
$30,000 is a lot of money. It will take time before you have that amount saved up. Keep up with the wedding planning and consistently saving.
Affordable Wedding Venues: Final Thoughts
Your wedding should be one of your happiest days of your life. That said, don’t stress yourself out by waiting until the last minute to start saving. This is especially the case if you and your SO are responsible for a large portion of the wedding.
Worst case, it is best to over-save and have more money left over and use it for a wedding add-on versus scraping for pennies, so to speak, a week before your big day.
Set an ideal amount, break that goal down into chunks, cut down expenses, look into affordable wedding venues, and be reasonable.
What other tips do you have to offer when creating a wedding budget? Did you stay within or go over budget for your wedding? Did you look at affordable wedding venues? Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below!
Affordable Wedding Venues: Summary
- Create an ideal dollar amount you and your SO want to save up for your wedding
- List your priorities to figure out which areas you are willing to spend more in and which you can live without
- Think of your ideal dollar amount as a feasible and achievable goal versus something abstract that forever not within arm’s reach
- Have an emergency wedding plan for the unexpected like the rain or a tear in the wedding dress
- Break down your dollar amount (goal) into small goals; this will make your goal more realistic and achievable
- Ask family and friends to contribute to your fund instead of giving you a wedding present
- If they are uncomfortable, this always could be an option
- Make sure you cut down on expenses such as eating out, shopping and entertainment
- Cut down on expenses; bring your lunch instead of making it, ride your bike to your work if your commute is close
- Consider all-inclusive wedding packages versus individual vendors
- This is usually a cheaper option, however, you may want your friend to snap your wedding pictures
- In which case it is best to talk to the wedding company to see if you can customize the wedding package
- Use positive reinforcement, or in other words, reward yourself for achieving your goals
- This will encourage you to keep on saving for your wedding
- Take a look at affordable wedding venues
- To make affordable wedding venues even more affordable, ask the special events coordinator if they are willing to give you a reduced cost of renting it during the offseason
- Be reasonable (and patient); it is not going to happen overnight but it will happen
To learn more about all-inclusive wedding packages, contact Electra Cruises. While you’re at it, be sure to check out our blog and learn about our beautiful fleet.