What is the price of happily-ever-after?
The average amount people spend on a wedding in the United States ranges from $28,000 to $35,000. However, the real cost varies widely depending on where you live. So, how do you know how much to budget? Some people start with pricing their must-haves and then structure their budget around those items. Others have a fixed number in mind and work down from there. Whatever your strategy, here are some tips on how to maximize the value of your special day:
- Develop a mission statement that you and your fiancé agree on.
That might sound weird – you’re planning your wedding not starting a new business, right?
We really hope that everyone plays nicely and everything runs smoothly throughout this exciting process. However, there is a chance (or likelihood) that somewhere along the way, people will disagree and things can get out of hand. In times like that, you will want to go back to your original priorities and vision.
No, it cannot be, “We want to get married.” However, it can be as simple as, “We want to have a fun day with friends and family,” or as detailed as, “We want a relaxing, intimate wedding in a venue with historic charm.” Once you find one that works for the both of you, you can refer back to it in times you are unsure. When your future mother-in-law insists that you have a full Catholic Church service, you can ask yourself -does this fit with our mission to have a fun day? When you realize the up-lighting is going to cost WAY more than you thought, go back – is this extra expense an integral part of your mission?
Take our strange advice and create a mission statement. Think of it as a guiding principle to help you make decisions as you travel down your road of bliss. I’m sure you can see how this is a simple way to start off on the same page with your future spouse AND keep you focused on what’s really important.
- Come up with a number you feel comfortable with.
You’re probably not reading this article if the sky’s the limit on your wedding budget. So, for the rest of us, come up with a number early on in your planning, even if you have some flexibility. You can’t budget if you have no idea of how much you’re starting with. So, even if it changes later, begin with what you hope to spend.
- Discuss the number with your fiancé and anyone else who may be involved with financing the wedding and reach an agreement.
You can’t hide the final expense from them and you don’t want to begin your lifelong journey with your partner with hidden agendas. Believe me, you’ll save yourself and everyone around you serious headaches if everyone is honest from the very beginning.
- Find and budget for YOUR most important items first.
Want a unique wedding venue? Find your dream place and book that first. Love to dance? Get your dance floor and book your DJ first. Are you a foodie? Find your perfect caterer and budget them in first. You get the idea.
Most people will say that venue and catering are the most expensive and book the quickest, so should be contracted first. We definitely agree that this might be the case but when looking at finances, you’ll want to make sure your priorities are covered first. This goes back to #1 – your mission statement will help you define your priorities. Then, you’ll know how much you have left for the other things!
- See what you can DIY.
When we talk about wedding budgets, all the little details can really add up. Luckily, these days there are so many resources out there for you to customize your details. From DIY websites to DIY TV shows, to DIY classes – there are a lot of ways to get inspired and save money.
Local hotspots offer Wedding DIY classes for things like calligraphy, floral arrangements, and wood pallet signs. These personal touches can make your wedding day extra special and you’ll have more to spend on your top priorities!
6. Recruit help in all shapes and sizes.
No bride or groom is an island. We all need help and this special occasion is no exception! Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Most people will feel honored to be part of your special day and this is another way you can make your budget go a little further.
Not feeling creative? I bet your cousin/neighbor/bestie can help make those really cute wedding favors. Need extra hands the day of? Your dad/nephew/niece will be there early anyway – why not give them something to do instead of standing around? Your college roommate might be a great DJ, your co-worker might be awesome at putting flowers together… ask around. You won’t know the valuable talents of your social circle unless you ask!
Most of your loved ones will be more than happy to give the gift of their time and proud to be part of such an important day….if not, all they can say is no, right?
While there’s not one strategy that will work for everyone, try some of these tips and you might find you don’t have to blow the bank to get the day of your dreams!
Thanks so much to Lisa Kim of Kentlands Mansion in our Perfect Wedding Guide Washington D.C. market for these awesome wedding budgeting tips!