The first question most #girlbossbrides ask me is, ‘how do I stick to my wedding budget?’. Most couples have no idea what a true wedding budget should be.
That is completely understandable. Chances are, you’re planning a wedding for the first time. You shouldn’t know how to stick to your wedding budget if you’ve never done this before.
I’m going to show you how to not only establish a wedding budget that feels right to you but how to stick to that budget as you go through the planning process.
For all you #girlbossbrides out there, planning and designing this party on their own, the reality is you aren’t going to plan the whole wedding at once. As the CEO of the business we like to call your wedding, you won’t hire your entire team in one sitting. If you start to make all of those decisions in silos, you’re going to blow through your budget quickly.
To know how to stick to your wedding budget you need a plan. You need what I like to call wedding math. It can be enough to make your head spin and want to elope. Take a deep breath, reapply your knock-em-dead CEO red lipstick and stay with me. I promise the time you put in now will be well worth it.
Is your CEO red lipstick flawless? Here we go…
To know how to stick to your wedding budget you have to be clear on your priorities. Rank the following in order of importance as it pertains to your wedding day.
You’ll need one of two numbers to establish AND stick to your budget.
You already have a number in your head you want to stick to or not exceed. Plug that target budget into the yellow cell in section A of the Budget Overview Guide inside the FREE How To Find A Venue You Can Afford Workbook.
You have no idea how to set a realistic budget and are in the process of shopping for venues.
Fear not. This is where most of our clients start.
To get to your total target budget we need to start with your estimated food/beverage/venue costs. This represents by far the biggest percentage of your total budget. If you overspend when it comes to your venue/food/beverage, it’s going to be really really hard to reign in your total budget. Everything will start to snowball.
Now, how do we find that magic number?
This is a very important difference. A food and beverage minimum is what a lot of venues contract on, and it simply states that in order to hold the space for this date and for this number of guests, you are obligated to spend a minimum of X. To give an example, let’s use the number $20,000 as the venue’s food and beverage minimum. This amount is not an itemized estimate. This is simply the minimum that you are obligated to spend to host the wedding. Most likely, if you have over 100 guests you’ll spend beyond that.
A couple of other things to point out about the food and beverage minimum is read the fine print. This is a very important step because in 99% of the cases, your administrative fees and taxes do not contribute towards the food and beverage minimum. Most of the time, if there’s a separate flat venue rental fee at your venue, that number also doesn’t count towards your food and beverage min.
Review the menus and event brochures from the venues you’re considering. Select your wishlist menu to serve, including your bar package. Ask the venue sales manager you’re working with to draft an itemized estimate for you. Refer to our checklist below to ensure you’ve thought through everything you may want offer.
Review your priority list from Step 1 and adjust the percentage allocations accordingly. Maybe you don’t need transportation, for example.
As you search for your venue request an estimate (Step 2) and ensure you’re within the venue line item before signing the contract.
Start to hire your creative dream team in order of the priority you set in Step 1. If you’re going to need to overspend in a certain wedding budget area to get the look or experience you want, you should do that only against your top priority. If you start by hiring your lower priorities and start to overspend, you won’t have enough for the things that are most important to you.
The point of these exercises is to avoid financial stress. I think there are ways to create a magical celebration at any wedding budget level. And that is how you become the CEO of your wedding. You can get the look that you’re dreaming of at the budget you can realistically afford. No one’s going to have fun at the wedding if people are worried about the credit card bills coming in after the fact.
I do my best to make these blog posts as helpful as possible but the reality id I can only go so deep. I’m here for you live and would love to chat to better answer your questions and customize a plan for you that will keep things FUN. Schedule your FREE consultation below.
Take the FREE and start planning a wedding that feels uniquely you.
The truth is I hated planning my own wedding. I felt like I was going it alone and was surprised by how hard it was to find partners who embraced my vision. Thankfully, the guy was worth it and that experience is what led me to become a wedding planner. After a decade of planning luxury weddings I am bringing my process to you.