You finally chose a wedding day and think, after looking at a number of venues in Birmingham and beyond, that you’ve found your ideal setting. Now what? Before you start planning anything further, you need to put together a budget for your wedding day!
Do you care most about the photos you will keep or is it your dream to have a killer band for a rocking party? Know that going into the budgeting process and allocate more money for those areas. You also need to be prepared to scale back on the things you don’t care as much about!
Be realistic: Most weddings we see in the Washington DC area are $800-$1,200 per guest. Don’t believe the “average” DC wedding budgets you see in magazines and on other blogs. Unfortunately, you can’t have a wedding like you see in bridal magazines for $50,000 in this region. Period. So, if you can’t afford it, scale things back or keep saving for a bit longer. A wedding isn’t worth getting into debt for, especially if you’re already living on credit. Head to somewhere like SoFi for help with paying off your credit card debt – this will get you into a better financial situation to start off your married life.
Wedding Guests: Your guest count is the biggest way to contain your budget (read: save money). Take a hard look at not only your guest list, but your parent’s list, and your partner’s parent’s guest lists to see how necessary each invite and plus one is. But hold on, your list isn’t safe either. Stop and think who you will still be friends with in 10 years. Those coworkers might not NEED to be included. It may be a good idea to learn more about budgeting and cutting down the guest list by speaking with people who have had a minimal wedding ceremony.
Don’t forget the un-sexy items: Yes, you have to think about transportation, insurance, rain plans and lighting. These items might not appear in your Pinterest-fueled dreams, but they have to be a consideration in your budget. Lighting can be made more exciting by visiting www.neonfilter.com where you’ll be able to create your own custom neon lights for the reception decor. This sort of purchase is a good investment as you’ll be able to keep it after the wedding as a souvenir and use it in your house.
Prepare for the Unexpected: Know that you will likely go over budget. Most couples go over by about 20%. Last minute add ons and upgrades tend to be the culprit here.
Prioritize: What are the items you care most about? Those items should get weighted more in your budget. What items do you care least about? You MUST choose some items to be less of a priority to get a realistic handle on your budget. In reality, your food and beverage will be the most expensive line item, but depending on your priorities, the band or floral and decor will likely be next in line.
Ask An Expert: Hire a planner or at the very least talk to a friend who is recently married in a venue similar. They can outline the true costs of the type of wedding that you are thinking of having BEFORE you book a venue! We happen to know the best wedding planner(s) in DC!