I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen this.
I’m also pretty sure it’s something the wedding industry threw together to scare us into thinking we’re getting a good deal on overpriced wedding cake. I’m calling BS. I mean, I guess I have to, because $27,000 is no where near my budget – that’s more than double it!
Our final wedding budget was a collaboration between my parents, Derek, and me. I had the good fortune to help my sister and sister-in-law plan their weddings, so I had an idea going in how much everything costs in the wedding industry in our area. Based on all of that, I was able to come up with a tangible budget that I knew would work for us. After my parents had “the budget talk” with Derek and I, they gave us a generous number and we decided to fill in the rest. We’re basically split at a 2/3 and 1/3 ratio. My parents are covering 2/3s of the budget, while Derek and I are paying for the remaining 1/3.
Our budget includes everything but our rings and the rehearsal dinner. That means we’ve budgeted in our honeymoon, the wedding decorations, venue, catering, reception, etc. etc. We opted not to include our rings because we are each paying for those out of our own pockets. Derek did pay for my engagement ring, but I paid for my own wedding band and he will be paying for his own. We picked up this little trick from a friend. That way we could really each pick out what we really wanted and wouldn’t feel bad about having the other person cover the potential high price tag. This approach might not work for everyone, but we’re fans of it. To each their own.
The rehearsal dinner is being covered by Derek’s parents. The truth is I haven’t really been involved with the planning process (or budgeting) of it, so I’m keeping that as a completely separate line item. I might add it in later on, once I have more details, but right now it’s easier just to keep it separated.
Do you like my fancy spreadsheet? 😉
I downloaded several budget spreadsheets that were a a little more in-depth, but the truth is I found my simple, basic approach was more my speed. The crazier ones were just a bit too crazy for my taste. Mine just lists the budget for everything and what we’ve spent so far. It really doesn’t get easier than that.
Where did I get the majority of my budget numbers? Research and some takeaways here and there from my sister and sister-in-law. It actually helps knowing what they paid for things so I could get a better grasp on where to start. Since all three of us had roughly the same budget going into our weddings, that means we all have roughly the same price points for everything in them.
Something big I picked up on was that getting married in Orlando (where I had originally wanted) was not going to be very budget friendly. For some reason everything jumps about 10 times in price the closer you move in the Orlando city limits. Venues are pricier, food is pricier, DJs are pricier, and anything else you can think of is just plain higher. That’s one of the big reasons we ended up choosing the venue we did in my small town. Getting married in a small town is so much cheaper than getting married in the city. It’s crazy how much cheaper it really is.
We’re also saving money in a few other ways, like hiring my extremely talented cousin as our photographer (we’re paying about 1/2 of what we would have paid for an equally-as-talented Orlando-based photographer), having my uncle and grandmother make our cake (we’re still paying for the supplies), doing our own flowers (with the help of my aunt!), buying suits instead of renting tuxes, stocking the bar ourselves and hiring two bartenders, and DIY-ing as much as we possibly can along the way.
Right now the highest price points for our budget included catering for the reception, venue, and photographer. Everything else adds up, but doesn’t go over a certain percentage of the budget. We also gave ourselves a good amount of wiggle room “just in case.” There’s about 15% of the overall budget that isn’t accounted for yet, but is there in case we need it.
We’re throwing a simple wedding for roughly 150 of our closest friends and family. We could easily throw a more extravagant wedding for less people on the same budget, but we don’t want that. We would rather have as many friends and family there as possible, and go simple, because – to us – the wedding is about celebrating with our loved ones, it’s not about how fancy the cake was or how expensive my dress was.
Did you stick to your wedding budget? Any tips for keeping costs low?