One of the first and most important things to do when you begin your wedding planning is for you and your fiancé to sit down and work out a realistic budget. If you follow my tips below and fill out the worksheet, you should be able to have a clear understanding of your budget.
First, look up several vendors you are interested in and local to the location of the wedding. This will give you an idea of the pricing of photographers, DJs or bands, florists, etc. Make sure you ask about hidden costs- taxes, service charges, etc. Once you know what to expect, you can create a more realistic budget to suit your needs.
If you know that your parents are willing and able to contribute, meet with them to discuss how much they are willing to contribute. Are they willing to contribute a set amount or take care of a certain aspect, (ex. grooms parents usually take care of the rehearsal dinner).
Finally, take a look at your finances and discuss how much of your money you both want to contribute and to which aspects you want to allocate different amounts. Complete this equation to assist with the amount of money you can contribute:
Once you know the budget, you will be able to allocate the budget. Below is my suggested allocation but if a piece of the wedding means more to you then you can allocate more to that.
Reception - 50%
Venue rental, catering, cake, alcohol, and rentals. Keep in mind taxes and service fees.
Ceremony - 5%
Venue, officiant, the wedding rings, any special decor.
Wedding Attire - 10%
Don't forget to factor in alterations, accessories, hair and make up and the groom's tux.
Photography/ Videography - 10%
Florals and Decor - 10%
Music and Entertainment - 10%
Other details - 5%
Printed materials such as save the dates, invitations, postage, transportation, bridal party gifts or welcome bags for guests.