I’m finally getting around to answering reader requests. Hurrays up in here!
Melissa wrote in and asked:
I just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! I’m getting married in March 2013 with a $5,000 budget, so any tips on budgeting would be great.
Budgeting for a wedding can be a horrible, insane-person-making process.
You will be fighting against the wedding industry, your family’s wants, your own wants, and the opinions/expectations of what a wedding needs to have. It’s an uphill battle, to say the least.
But here is another way to look at it. $5,000 is plenty of money to get married. So is $50,000. So is $50 (or however much it will cost you to have a city hall wedding). Budgeting can be frustrating but it’s possible to have a perfect-for-you wedding on exactly the budget you have.
I’m no expert but the following is my experience and tips for working on a smallish (for a wedding) budget.
Tips On Budgeting For Your Wedding
- Plan to overspend. Unless you are an amazing person who can track every cent spent at all times even the day of your wedding…. you are probably going to spend over your budget. There are going to be things that pop up last minute that might only be able to be fixed by spending extra. If you have a strict budget for $5,000 I would set your actual wedding budget at $4,500 or so and then save that extra $500 for any expenses you forget or come up at the last minute. Plan to overspend and you really won’t!
- Spend on what matters and skimp on what doesn’t. This is pretty common advice for any kind of budgeting. Your wedding is special so you should spend as much as you can on the things that really matter to you. Before the wedding sit down and pick 2-3 items/services that mean the most to you and plan to spend more on these. For us we wanted good food and great photography so these two things took almost half our entire budget. For the rest you can work with the money you have left over and find ways to make it work.
- Utilize the people you know. When you get married you can use a lot of friends and family to help save money. If you are close enough and feel comfortable asking this can save you a ton of money. You can ask friends to help out before or at the wedding instead of giving you a wedding gift. This way you can cut down on the costs associated with paying other people to do things for you (generally people overcharge for wedding related services).
- Look outside traditional wedding vendors. The wedding industry is slightly crazy. Okay, it’s super crazy. Vendors mark up EVERYTHING the minute you mention that it’s for a wedding. If you are working with a smaller budget I recommend you go outside the traditional wedding vendor circle. You can get a better price for food at a local restaurant rather than a traditional wedding caterer (and it might taste better). You can get a cheaper deal for a reception location if you avoid the most popular venues in your community. If you think outside the box and look around you can most definitely find deals and save money on your wedding vendors.
- Research everything online. The internet is a magical, magical thing. You can research ways to save money on your wedding on thousands of sites. You can find a better deal for the wedding dress that already caught your eye or find a discount for favors that you want. You can find an amazing photographer who is starting out or offering a deal. Basically the internet is your friend when it comes to researching wedding purchases and saving money.
Those are my best tips for planning a budget wedding! It’s definitely possible and worth it for some of us. Good luck in your planning!