Wedding Budgeting

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While not everyone planning a wedding has an unlimited wedding budget, being prepared and planning carefully can help all brides- and grooms-to-be have a wonderful, memorable wedding. Here is a simple breakdown to wedding budgeting that will help make the planning more manageable. Most couples go over budget by about 10 percent, so if you are prepared ahead of time, you will know what is most important to both of you, and you can scale back in other areas.

First, a wedding consultant’s fee is typically a percentage of your total budget, but some charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate. Be sure you are aware of this expense when you work on your budget.

For your total budget planning, include everyone who will be involved in paying for the wedding and reception. This includes you, your fiancé, his parents, your parents, and any generous relatives and friends.

Next, it is safe to plan that your reception will take approximately 50 percent of your budget. This includes food, drinks, a site fee, catering, the bar, the wedding cake, and transportation from the ceremony to the reception.

Music will take approximately 10 percent of your budget, and includes the ceremony itself, a cocktail hour, and the actual reception.

Wedding attire generally accounts for about 10 percent of the wedding budget. This includes your dress, headpiece, jewelry, undergarments, shoes and gloves, hair and makeup styling, and the groom’s attire.

Your floral budget also makes up about 10 percent of your total wedding budget. This is where a lot of couples go over their budget, so choose flowers carefully. Flower budgeting includes: the bridal bouquet, wedding party flowers, the ceremony site flowers, and flowers for the reception.

The visual record of your wedding typically occupies another 10 percent of your budget. This includes your wedding album package, an engagement portrait, event photography, and all videography of your big day.

Stationery usually comprises four to five percent of your wedding budget. This includes wedding programs, postage, thank you notes, announcements, and all invitations and coordinating enclosures.

The last category for your wedding budget breakdown is the “incidentals” category. You will need to allot five to six percent of your budget for this category, which is where you put all those little things that don’t fit into other categories. Everyone has little things “pop up” so it is best to be prepared and budget them in ahead of time. It will save you stress later. The “incidentals” category includes: wedding favors, marriage license, hotel room for yourselves (if you’re not leaving for your honeymoon directly after the reception), wedding rings, attendants’ gifts, church fee(s), etc.

As soon as you and your fiancé are ready to plan your wedding, have a heart-to-heart talk, just the two of you. Have him make a list of what is most important to him related to the wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. You should do the same. Rank and rate each item and then compare lists. Then, talk it over and combine the separate lists into one joint list that makes both of you happy. You should do this while planning every aspect of the wedding, from the flowers, to the cake, to the music, etc. Sure, it will take some time, but it will help avoid some of those invariable arguments and tearful melt-downs that can accompany wedding planning. Plus, both the bride and the groom will have a say in the planning, and without the two of you, there would be no wedding and reception.