The first task of any savvy bride-to-be after the sparkly diamond has been placed on her finger is to figure out the wedding budget. If family members are helping with expenses, get together and discuss the amount being contributed and any expectations about how their contribution affects the guest list and other important details.
Once it’s been determined how much you have to work with, it’s time to decide how you want this money to be spent. Below you’ll find some great wedding budget tips from our wedding celebration experts to help you tie the knot in style without breaking the bank.
- Head count counts! Undoubtedly the first thing to affect the bottom line of a wedding is the guest list, so keeping that manageable is a top priority. Start things off right by purchasing a 4-color pack of index cards and distributing one color to the each set of parents, plus one for you and one for the groom. Each party should return no more than their allotted number of index cards with the name and address of those they would like to invite. If they have additional entries, it offers the opportunity to revisit the budget/contribution question.\
- Of ‘maids and men’: Along with guest head count, another item that affects your budget is the number of people in your bridal party. Each member means more flowers, gifts, as well as the expenses they incur between hosting events and purchasing attire. Keeping the bridal party small (even just one attendant each) has become very popular lately for these reasons and looks very chic.
- Fall in love with your location: Selecting a location that already appeals to you esthetically means that you’ll save a ton in decorations. If the venue is typically out of your price range, inquire about discounts during off-season months (typically November-March) or non-traditional days of week such as Friday and Sunday.
- Sample sales: Oftentimes you can find your designer dream dress at 40% off or more by shopping a wedding dress sample sale. Sure, some of them may require cleaning or fixing minor imperfections, but the cost savings will far outweigh what you’ll spend on making it picture perfect.
- Make friends: Ask the coordinator at your wedding facility if there is a wedding the day before or after your big day. If so, speak with the bride to see if there are any decorations that you could collaborate on. You can also discuss wedding purchases you may need to make with friends getting married to see if you could benefit from purchasing items in bulk or reuse for both weddings. Remember that many wedding leftovers can be resold afterwards such as votives, vases, and linens.
- Dreaming big: If you have something you’d really like to do that’s out of your budget, leave it on a “wish list” in case you come in under budget in other areas. It’ll keep you focused on the prize and more motivated to not overspend.
Focus on what will make the greatest impact on the overall feel of the wedding. If you’re considering a $3 favor, but don’t think you have the cash for specialty linens, consider that your favors can add up to $30 per table, which is the approximate cost of many beautiful linen choices that will make a beautiful statement in the room. There are many online budgeting tools (such as the calculator available on The Knot) to help you make these sorts of determinations and focus your money on the areas that are most important to you.
Happy wedding planning!