Once you’ve gotten past the initial excitement of being freshly engaged, the actual wedding planning can get a bit stressful. Although you’re pumped to marry your favorite person and create the wedding of your dreams, the not-so-fun things like budget can start to bring you down. Is it possible to plan (and pull off) the best day of your life while sticking to your budget?
We certainly think so! If you’re working with a tight budget, it can be overwhelming to think about all the different things you want at your wedding. Which should you spend the most money on? Will you have to leave something out?
To make it easier, you can start by deciding which things are the most important to you. That way, you can make room in your budget for those things, and figure out the rest as you go. Here are five aspects of your wedding that you might want to prioritize so that you can still have the things you want, but not overspend.
1. The Venue
If you’ve been dreaming of getting married in a specific place, this is probably where you should start the wedding planning. Many wedding venues, especially if they are super popular, need to be booked as soon as humanly possible. Have you had your eyes on a certain event center? Deciding your date and booking this venue should be your top priority, then.
When you have your venue booked, you can rest assured that your wedding date is secured. And if everything else goes wrong, hey, at least you have somewhere to get married! Although don’t worry, it’ll be just fine. Knowing the cost of your venue at the beginning of planning the wedding will help, because you’ll know exactly how much of your wedding budget will go to the venue.
The great thing about this list is that if any one of these aspects is not so important to you, then that leaves more room for the things that are! So, if the venue doesn’t matter as much, or you already know your venue won’t be too costly, that’s more room in your budget for something else.
2. Your Wedding Day Look
For most people, looking good on their wedding day is one of the most important things to ensure. With it being one of the biggest days of your life, that definitely makes sense! Your dress/suit, makeup, hair, and accessories all fall under this category. Most brides have a dream wedding dress that they would love to be able to wear down the aisle. So the price of the dress is a huge thing to consider. If it’s very pricey but you decide to get it anyway, this needs to be worked into the budget immediately.
This also applies if you decide to hire a professional hair and makeup stylist. The cost of those services could easily pile up and become too much. So the key is to consider what you really want to prioritize. For example, if you’re getting your must-have dream dress that costs a little more than you’d like it to, think about getting a friend to do your hair and makeup (or even do it yourself, if you’d rather).
Remember, it’s up to you to decide what you want to spend more money on, and what you can take care of for cheap/free.
Everyone wants to be able to remember their special day for years and years to come. It’s safe to say that some type of documentation of the day is an important thing to consider. Think about whether you want both photography and videography of the event, because that will determine the chunk of cost going toward this area of the wedding budget.
For some, having a whole video made for the wedding is essential. For others, photos are the only things they need. Discuss with your partner and make sure you decide in advance, so you know the cost. Obviously, if you go with photos and video, your cost will be exponentially higher than if you just hire a photographer for photos. But you can always find a way to work that into the budget if it’s something you want to prioritize.
The decorations for your wedding will vary depending on several factors. If your venue is the type that doesn’t need much dressing up or decorating, you may not have many decorations to buy. On the other hand, if your venue is plain and you want to decorate it, make sure you keep that in mind when budgeting.
If the decorations you want are pretty minimal, that will affect the budget differently than if you want to go all out with flowers, signs, and more. A good piece of advice involving wedding decor is that if you do want to deck the place out with flowers and lots of other special touches, you may want to do some of it yourself.
A few pieces of decor that may be easy to do yourself are table centerpieces, bouquets, garland, confetti, and signs. This really depends on your skills and how much time you’re willing to put into this. But if you need to make room in your budget for other things, a little DIY may be the way to go. When in doubt, you always have Pinterest for help!
5. Food and drinks (and dessert!)
Wedding food is another aspect that will vary, depending on what you’re wanting to do. Some couples have a whole buffet of food, along with tables of desserts and a bar. Others opt for something light and unique, like donuts and coffee after the nuptials. It depends entirely on what you and your partner want to do.
No matter what kind of food you choose to have, it’s important that you decide and calculate how much of your budget the food, drinks, and dessert will take up. You might be able to save some money if you decide you aren’t very particular about certain things. For example, if you don’t care about having a ton of alcohol at your wedding, you won’t have to shell out the cash to have a whole open bar available. And if you don’t care about having a nice dinner meal but you really care about the cake, you can provide snack foods and then spend more on the cake.
Again, it all depends on what is important to you and the person you’re marrying. Considering these five aspects of your wedding will help you decide what you want to prioritize, and what you can try to save money on.
So, to sum it up: no matter which things are most important to you, it will be essential to prioritize those aspects of your wedding above all else. If you have to cut down on the cost of something in your wedding, it should be something you don’t mind as much. Like if you need to DIY your table centerpieces so that you have more to spend on your dream dress, it’ll be 100% worth it. Thinking ahead like this and remembering what matters to you will make the whole budgeting thing go much smoother.
A bonus tip for making your wedding planning go smoother: talk to your partner about the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement! Considering what a prenup can do for you and your relationship is one of the smartest things you can do during this time of marriage preparation. The engaged phase of your relationship isn’t just for planning the wedding, it’s for planning your marriage, too! Visit our FAQ page and download a free copy of The Ultimate Prenup Guide for more information that will be valuable in your decision-making.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].