One of the first stages of planning a wedding is setting down a firm budget for your big day. This can be somewhat of a daunting task and while it is easy to say “I want a DIY wedding with a painfully low budget”, it is even easier to spend two times your spending goal. In order to achieve your perfect day without breaking the bank, you have to have a clear vision of what you want and be willing to adjust your expectations accordingly. You can have your perfect beautiful wedding regardless of your budget, and here’s how I plan on achieving mine.
As I mentioned above, you have to create a clear image in your head about exactly what kind of wedding you want and how you want it to look and feel. It’s important to discuss your visions with your fiancé, and be sure you are both on the same page about what you imagine your day to be. Kyle and I agreed immediately that a small wedding ceremony and a larger reception was what we want, so we began throwing ideas around for themes, colours and venues. Wether you want a a small backyard wedding, a glamorous event or a all-out shindig, knowing what you want is crucial in creating a budget that works for you.
It’s hard to work on a realistic budget that accommodates most of what you want for your big day if you don’t know what things cost in your area. Perhaps, for example, you budget $1000 for a photographer and learn that photography packages in your area start at $2000. This is where research comes in. I often times take to the Facebook page for local brides to find answers to questions on many topics, including approximate pricing for certain vendors. The internet is your friend when it comes to planning a wedding and most everything you are looking for can be found on the world wide web. Find email addresses for those vendors who do not list their prices and ask them directly. Once you have an idea of what, approximately, everything costs, you can sit down and decide what a reasonable and realistic budget looks like.
The number of guests you plan on having attend your big day is directly linked to how much money you’ll spend. Catering is a huge expense for weddings, and its one that Kyle and I have eliminated from our plans. While we have decided against a traditional sit-down reception dinner, we still have to feed our wonderful family and friends. It is important to know how many mouths you need to feed and in what capacity you intend on doing so. Not to spoil any surprises to my readers who will be in attendance, but we will be having a pub food type of casual buffet prior to the dance, and we are considering having pizzas delivered later in the night. Our budget will rely on this detail, and can be adjusted once we receive RSVP’s, as the odds that all of our invited guests will be able to make it is slim. Another cost affiliated with numbers is the amount of chairs I’ll need to rent for the ceremony. Once again, knowing how many people will be in attendance is necessary in forming an accurate budget.
Save! & Cut Costs Where Possible
With regards to saving, assess your financial situation, and decide how much you can reasonably save. It can be challenging, but putting away 15-20% of your monthly income is a great way to ensure you have the funds you need to throw the biggest party of your life! I recommend storing that money in an account that isn’t easily accessed (so a trip to Sephora doesn’t become a shopping spree with a swipe of a card). The account we chose to use was one in which in order to access the money I must contact the bank to release the money, with a 24 hour hold. This is not my “in case of emergency” account! That’s about all I’ll say about my saving methods. Do what works for you!
Moving on to cutting costs. Venues can be the majority of your cost of a wedding, along side of catering that is. An issue I was running into when it came to venues was that most places required you to pay for their contracted caterers, not allowing for any external food or drink to be brought to the premises. This clearly didn’t work with what we envisioned for our day. I had to search for venues that allowed for us to bring our own food. Luckily, I think I’ve found the perfect place for our reception, and although it is a little outside of town, it fits what we want and is under budget! We are having our ceremony in my parents backyard, which sounds like a $0.00 venue – but you have to consider a rental of a tent in case of weather and the chair rental as well. That being said, it is still an extremely affordable alternative to any of the venue spaces in my hometown, and it definitely fits within the laid back, relaxed and intimate feel we are going for.
As I said, catering is another expense we did everything in our power to cut down on. While it will still be a few hundred dollars to adequately feed our family and friends, upon doing my research it became clear to me that our choice was definitely saving us some serious cash.
You have to decide what is absolutely important to have and what you can live without when it comes to your wedding day. Kyle and I won’t be hiring a videographer or a professional DJ or live band. Those options alone cut down on our cost. We still intend on having a photographer, but I am hoping to have a talented friend or acquaintance take our photos, who isn’t necessarily a professional but who I am confident will provide beautiful snapshots of our day. These are things Kyle and I both agree we can do without, in order to put our money behind things we deem more important. For instance, my dress. Though I fully intend on finding a killer deal on a “last year’s model”, I still want to budget a little higher in order to guarantee that I walk down the isle feeling and looking like a million bucks. Also, while I can confidently say I can do my makeup myself (and enjoy doing it), I am going to be hiring someone to do my hair, without question!
I am very lucky that I have a talented mom by my side (metaphorically…as she’s 6000km away), who is excited to create all of our beautiful decorations with me. This will be a budget friendly aspect, as I will pay for supplies for the DIY project and between the both of us we will make all of the decorations needed to make it beautiful. The DIY quality will add to the laid back, rustic feel. I’ll also be making the party favours and the gifts to bridal party. I’ll be making my own save-the-dates and invites as well, once again cutting down the cost significantly.
It’s all about what you want and need on your wedding day and what you can do without, or do yourself without a professional.
Remember there is a reason you chose the budget you did. Do everything in your power to stay within your budget throughout the entire planning stage. Understand that surprises come up, things may turn out to be more expensive than originally planned for, so always have a little extra tucked away for those instances, but don’t decide that a $1000 photo booth for your guests is all of a sudden a total must and increase your budget to accommodate. That’s a surefire way of doubling your spending very quickly. Stay firm on your budget and your vision. If you decide that the $1000 photo booth for your guests really is a total must, you’ll have to choose something on your budget list that is no longer a total must. Adjust the items on your budget, not the budget itself.
It is always really helpful to have a list of your budget and expenses to constantly revert back to. A while back, when I created my DIY wedding planner, I included links to my favourite worksheets to include in my binder. One of those worksheets was a budget page, one with predetermined expenses and vendors and another that was completely customizable. If you didn’t catch that post, check it out here DIY Wedding Planner Binder. Making lists and seeing numbers helps to keep yourself on track, and thus staying firm with your budget.
Once you’ve nailed down your budget, the real fun begins! Choosing colour schemes, decoration ideas, renting venues and ordering your cake, making dress shopping appointments and everything in between! Talking money isn’t always the most fun – but the planning stage becomes a lot less overwhelming when you get it all sorted.
There you have it, the important things to remember when creating your budget. I hope this helps you decide on your vision and your budget for you big day! Comment down below if you have any tips for me in achieving my DIY wedding and saving even more money!
As always, thanks for reading. Be sure to like, comment and share!