Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Wedding Budget

Tonight was segment #2 of our “Congratulations You’re Engaged…Now What?” wedding planning series and it was all about setting priorities and creating the wedding budget.

Our signature drink for this evening is Oprah’s “Legends Lemon Drop Martini” – this is the same drink that Oprah served at her Legends Ball and it’s also one of her favorites.

Oprah's "Lemon Drop Martini"

Juice of 6 lemons
4 tablespoons of sugar
6 fresh mint leaves
4 shots of vodka
Ice in shaker
Sugar-rimmed martini glass

**this recipe serves 2**

Directions: mix the lemon juice, vodka, and sugar in an ice filled martini shaker. Shake well, strain and pour into your sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with mint and enjoy!


So now that you’ve determined your wedding style it’s now time to move on to the next step which is creating the wedding BUDGET. But before we do that…the first thing I suggest to brides that I’m working with is to start prioritizing the elements of their wedding. Identifying what’s most important first will help you determine how much money you are willing to spend within each category. So first let’s identify the most common elements of a wedding:

Priorities List

You have the:
# of guest
Location (destination weddings)
Time of day
Food and drinks
Ceremony music
Reception music
Tabletop décor and linens
Lighting and mood
Invitations and printing
Fashion (attire)

You can also add some additional elements that we may have forgotten or that are unique to your wedding.

So now that you have created you list with the elements of your wedding the next step is to start prioritizing that list. Look at your priorities list - next to those items that are “most important” place the letter “A”. After you’ve marked all of your A’s now it time to move on to the items that are of medium importance – and put the letter “B” next to it. Then identify all of the other items that are of least importance with the letter “C”

After you've marked all of the A’s B’s and C’s next go through and prioritize each group. So looking at the A’s which one is the most important to you and put #1 next to it...then a 2 next to the second most important item in that group and so on. You will follow the process for the B’s and finally the C’s.

Now that you have prioritized the elements its time to move on to creating your budget.

I think the first mistake couples make when planning their wedding is that they don’t create a budget or their budget isn’t a realistic one.

The thing to remember when creating your budget is this….

Just like every wedding is unique, every wedding budget is unique. The truth is - it’s possible to create a beautiful wedding on any budget. Keep in mind that there is no direct correlation between the amount of money you spend and the beauty of the day. That means you can plan a beautiful wedding on any budget.

The percentages that we have provided below should be considered loose guidelines – remember every wedding is different, so just make sure that your overall costs and your priorities are in line when determining how much you will spend in a certain area.

Note: the average cost for a 150 person wedding is about $25,000 – in some areas this number can be lower or higher.

Here is a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:

Ceremony: 2-3%
Reception: 48-50%
Attire: 8-10%
Flowers: 8-10%
Entertainment/Music: 8-10%
Photography/Videography: 10-12%
Stationery: 2-3%
Parking/Transportation: 2-3%
Wedding Consultant: 10-15%
Gifts: 2-3%
Miscellaneous: 8%

Some things to keep in mind when creating your budget:
  • Establishing a budget is the most important step in the planning process.

  • Assign a budget amount to your most important priorities first (go back and revisit your priority list – assign a dollar amount to all of your “A’s” items first, then your “B’s” and finally “C’s”.

  • To avoid stress allot 5% of your budget for a “just in case” fund – you know just in case!

  • When talking to vendors give them your budget parameters and request estimates in writing.

  • Keep track of your estimated and actual costs throughout the planning process.

  • Refer back to your priorities list when making decisions.

  • Consider creating a joint wedding account at a central bank to fund your wedding expenses.

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