5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Budget Before Booking a Venue
When we meet with couples the first thing we discuss is the wedding budget. The wedding budget will be your guide for planning and designing your wedding. Since most couples have never planned a wedding, they have no idea what to anticipate spending. Couples often come to us after they have already booked their venue which can sometimes hurt the wedding budget. We strongly urge couples consider their budget before beginning to search for a venue. You won’t know know how much you should be spending on the venue until after you have laid out your budget. We find that couples tend to overspend on their venue when they have not set a budget. We felt inspired by engagement season and wanted to share the best tips for budgeting with the soon to be wed so we put together 5 tips for creating your budget before you get started on the venue search.
Decide on the total amount you can afford.
We all dream of things beyond what we can afford but when it comes down to it you need to be realistic. You don’t want to go broke paying for your wedding. Think about what you have saved and talk to family about what they might be willing to contribute before you start so you know what the big picture figure is. If you do this from the start you won’t be stressed later when your funds are gone and you can’t book the vendors you need.
Do your homework.
Do research. Find a free template that you can use to create your budget or start your own as a spreadsheet document. We use Aisle Planner for our brides but there is a fee for this one. Many of the wedding blogs and planning sites have free templates you can use. We suggest you don’t use sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot to guide you in what you should spend. These sites don’t actually have experience creating a budget but rather take the national average and provide suggested amounts. They tend to provide very misleading figures. The best way to create a budget is to do your research. If you haven’t hired a planner or it’s just not in the budget start reaching out to vendors to get an idea of what things cost. Be honest. When you reach out to a vendor tell them you are just starting to plan and would like to know what to anticipate their services costing. If you are honest they will be happy to share their information with you and who knows you just might book their services later.
Consider the style venue you would like.
The style of your venue will be a big factor in the budget. Couples tend to assume having a wedding at a venue which is customizable will be cheaper but it actually costs more. A traditional style venue (ballroom, catering hall, etc.) will be less expensive than a non-traditional venue (barn, farm, retreat center, etc.). Traditional style venues include all the tables, chairs, china, linens, lighting, etc. Whereas a non-traditional venue requires you to bring it all in as well as whatever your caterer requires for cooking. If your budget is tight you might want to go with a traditional venue that includes everything. This way you save on rentals which can start at around $5,000.
Photo: Max Flatow
Carefully consider your guest list.
Your guest list is going to be an essential part of creating your budget. If you choose to invite 200 guests your budget is going to be largely allocated towards food and beverage. In the Hudson Valley, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150+ per guest for food and beverage. This is figure excludes your venue site fee and rentals items, if required. We always suggest starting with just your closest family and friends. Anyone you have not seen in the last year can be the first to be cut.
Photo: Alicia King Photography
Consider your top three must-haves.
Every couple has their own vision. For some, the venue and food might be most important and others music and entertainment. If you have a list of your top three must-haves you will be able to allocate the most to those areas since you will most likely want top vendors for them. The balance of your budget is where you can compromise if the funds are tight. We suggest booking these vendors asap after you have reserved your venue and booked your caterer. Keep in mind the venue and food are going to be the most expensive ticket items in the budget. We typically allocate 50% of your budget to these items depending on your guest count.
Photo: Love and Wolf Co.
We hope this tips you find helpful in creating your own wedding budget. If you are looking for some assistance with your budget feel free to get in touch with us for a stress-free budget plan.