You know the familiar saying “Failing to plan is a plan to fail!” Having a wedding budget is essential to planning a wedding and avoiding wedding failuresA well thought wedding budget will help set the framework for one of the most memorable days of your life. A wedding will likely be the biggest party you’ve ever hosted — and the priciest.  

The average U.S. wedding costs $26,522 for 135 guests, according to most recent Brides American Wedding Study. Nearly half of couples cover the entire expense themselves, while an additional 25 percent pay for at least part of it. But here’s the kicker: in 3 couples spend more than their budget! You can avoid this experience by setting a realistic wedding budget from the start. Where does the money go? Much of the wedding budget is usually spent on venue. Then add in rehearsal dinners, florals, party favors, catering, dj or live band, an open bar and the budget can be blown exponentially.  

Before making a budget, here 3 critical things to consider that will help understand where the costs will go.  

  1. Guest list size – Food and liquor costs are usually per-head. Changing the guest list directly impacts these costs. More people to serve, higher these costs and vice versa. A small guest list also could decrease venue size and décor costs. 2.
  2. Setting – Big city venues come at a price. Tourist towns can add costs to your wedding during peak seasons. Many popular locations have a head count minimum or a per-head minimum.  City parks are great price centric alternatives. 3.
  3. Date and Time – Of course weekends and spring are high peak wedding seasons with higher price tags. Daytime weddings with a brunch or afternoon reception usually allow for less need for lightning, music or décor. Also, people tend to drink less during the day. Go figure.  llocating funds properly is the key to setting up your wedding budget successfully. To make a budget, know the exact amount available to spend and immediately put a system in place to track all money coming in and going out. A detailed spreadsheetis great to visibly see the cash flow of the wedding in real-time and avoid going over the budget during the planning process. Prepare for unexpected costs and make meaningful cuts if you do exceed your total budget. It’s hard work but putting in the time and energy now ensures you’ll live happily ever after with a little debt as possible. Cheers to that!  

Photographer : Missy Burton