shutterstock_373611652Now that you’re engaged it’s time to plan the wedding of your dreams. Before you start calling venues and picking food options for the big day, there’s a crucial step you have to take first to be ready for the big day: making the wedding budget. Whether your budget is large or small you can still put together a fantastic event. Our helpful wedding budget checklist will make sure you’ve thought about everything so you can have the wedding and reception you’ve always wanted.

Know Your Limits

It’s important to be realistic about how much money you’ll actually be able to spend on your wedding. If you’re paying yourself, how much can you save each month until the big day? If family is paying, how much are they willing to spend and how much are you willing to have them spend without feeling like a burden? It’s possible to plan your dream wedding on a budget but it’s important to know your parameters before you start.

Set the Guest List

You and your partner should discuss the guest list before you move on to discussing other aspects of the budget. Understanding how many guests you’ll have is one of the most important parts of planning a wedding. Knowing how many guests you plan on having allows you to plan out the details like venue size, table and chair counts, amount of food, etc. You want your ceremony and reception to be as fun an experience as possible for your friends and family so understanding who will be there will also help you plan what kind of entertainment, favors, food, and activities you’ll want for them at the wedding reception. Those will each be key building blocks of your budget.

Keep in mind any accommodations you’ll need for a summer wedding like fans and a wedding tent if your event is outdoors. List out what’s absolutely necessary, what you’re willing to cut if the budget requires it

Helpful Tips

Needs, Wants, and Nopes

The next step to putting together a budget for your wedding day is deciding what you need, what you want, and what you can afford. Build a wedding budget breakdown. Look around for some wedding inspiration and start putting together your favorite decoration ideas, decide whether you want to have a cocktail hour or not, pick between a band or a dj, and all the other basics. Keep in mind any accommodations you’ll need for a summer wedding like fans and a wedding tent if your event is outdoors. List out what’s absolutely necessary, what you’re willing to cut if the budget requires it, and items on which you refuse to spend money. This will help you prioritize and save money.

Do Your Research

Now that you have your priorities listed out in your budget breakdowns, research prices for the things on your list. You should inquire about the costs of the wedding venue you had your eye on, look up some tent rental prices in your area, visit some potential caterers’ websites, look into the average price of flower arrangements you like, search for cheap wedding decoration ideas. This research will help guide your budget allocation for each of your priorities and give you numbers to work from when you make more formal contact with potential vendors.

Stay on Track

As important as it is to have a budget, it’s even more important to stick to your budget. This doesn’t mean you have to spend exactly what you have allotted on each item, but if you go over in one category be prepared to cut that much in another area. Did you splurge a little more than expected on beer and wine? Maybe pull from your decoration budget. A simple way to keep track of this is by creating a spreadsheet. There are several helpful templates and wedding budget calculators you can find online if you’re not sure how to create one yourself. You can also work with a professional wedding budget planner if the whole thing seems scary to you, but it shouldn’t be.

Start Early

Planning wedding decorations on a budget isn’t hard but before you can do that you have to create that budget. The more planning you put in ahead of time the less stressful your big day will be. You and your partner deserve to have a beautiful and fun day with your friends and family, not a week full of stress over how you’ll pay that vendor or why every craft store in town suddenly has a shortage on the linen you like. Getting started on your wedding planning and budgeting early will make the entire process easier and your big day will be even better as a result.

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