Post # 1
This is something I’ve been wrestling with for a while. My SO and I are planning on getting engaged soon, but we can’t afford the ring right now, so we decided to start doing a lot of our planning now. We want to start price comparing and nailing things down and actually getting the ball rolling. The only problem is, I have no idea how to even begin to budget for this!
Do you just throw out a number and stick to it? Or did you shop around a lot and then try and get the best deal and call that a budget? Or did you do some complicated math formula that involved your salary and expenses and such?
My SO and I are going to be paying for a lot of this ourselves so having a budget and sticking to it is very important to me. We also plan on having around a two year engagement to be able to have the wedding we want.
Post # 3
I would definitely start first by looking into several places to see what their price points are, because pricing is vastly different depending on where you are getting married. Also, the earlier you book, the better, because a lot of times pricing increases every year, and you can lock in the previous year prices. Also, make a list of must haves, wants, and can do without. That will make it easier to control the budget if things are turning out to be more expensive. Good luck!
Post # 4
@MrsSl82be: Thank you! I feel so lost in all this, lol.
Post # 5
Not sure what’s typical for your area or the type of reception you’re looking for, but we started by putting together a guest list. We also examined what we had in savings and what we thought we could save in the time between engagement and the wedding without putting ourselves in the poor house. 🙂
We found ourselves in the position of having a lot less people to invite than we thought (invited 75, expecting 63) which meant that we could go a bit more expensive per head than if we had 150 people to invite.
I found weddingwire.com to have the best budgeting tool. If you plug in your big number, it breaks it down by category but still gives you the ability to rearrange and prioritize monies where you wish to spend more/less.
I think beyond that, it’s all about what your end goal is. Ours was to not go into debt. We settled on $15,000 as a total amount. I forgot to budget for a rehearsal dinner, but FI’s parents have offered to chip in.
Rehearsal dinner aside, our actual is going to come in around $15,500. Not too bad. 🙂
Good luck in your planning!
Post # 6
Are you talking about a budget for the e-ring or wedding budget?
My Fiance and I didn’t follow the rule “3 months worth of salary” but rather, we just decided on a set amount and what we can afford. I started looking around at websites like http://www.bluenile.com or http://www.heartsonfire.com to get an idea on how much things costs. Also, I read several articles learning about the 4 C’s. Next, we looked at retail stores like Robbins Brothers. I found them overpriced compared to smaller independent jewelers. One thing I did was print out a picture of the ring I like to show an independent jeweler and get a quote on how much it would cost to replicate it.
As for a wedding budget, I used websites like http://www.theknot.com or http://www.marthastewartweddings.com to get average percentages of wedding categories. This is also based on how much both you and your SO are will to spend and how many people who both want to invite. I also used my online financial tool (www.mint.com) to make a goal and figure out how much I would need to contribute monthly.
I hope this helps, good luck!
Post # 7
@Fricky: Thank you! We live in the Midwest, but not in a big city so we don’t have to worry about the big city mark ups, but we are looking to have a fairly non-traditional wedding and reception. We won’t be getting married in a church and we’d really like something gothic-y but all the places we’ve looked at are too expensive.
@Dub D: We have the ring picked and are slowly saving up for it, I say slowly because we just moved and that threw a wrench into things, but we’re having trouble nailing down a budget for the wedding.
Post # 8
Definitely start shopping around in your area to see the prices of things… venue, photog, etc… which will give you a rough estimate of cost.
Then you gotta do the fun part of looking at your income (combined or not) and expenses.. You do need to know what is realistic for you to save/put aside/spend on the wedding in the amount of time you’d like to have it.
Just because what you CAN spend doesn’t match what it looks like is COMMON to spend in your area doesn’t mean that you still can’t have everything you want.
Which brings you to deciding what are the important things to spend the most money on… venue?… photog? (usually a sign one to spend on)… food…. decor?… large guestlist?.. etc
After you know what’s important to you and your soon to be, you can figure how to cut costs on the things less important.. ie I DIY our invites, bouquets, and other decor… We chose a venue that was on the lower end in our area.. and we went with brunch as opposed to dinner for food.
You’re definitely in a good place for planning AND budgeting… as there are alot of bees around here that have had awesome weddings for WAY less then projected or expected.
Post # 9
For the ring – the ring was not that important to me at the beginning. We got matching silver bands with a beautiful Baroque design. Now, I’ve been wanting a “real” engagement ring, but we will see what happens. I want one for my shower in 2 weeks, either gemstone or a CZ, and I’m ok with either of those.
For the wedding, we decided when we wanted the wedding to be (9 months). Then, I calculated how much money he and I could save in that 9 months for the wedding. That was our budget for the whole thing.
But I have a very low budget wedding with hardly anyone chipping in. My dress is from China, our church is free, and I am making most of the food (cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and cakes). A friend is doing the photography, I am getting my flowers at the LA flower district, and almost EVERYTHING is DIY or from Amazon. We are even using pretty paper plates, because it’s cheaper than clear plastic plates (and we have 250 guests). But this is what works for us, and you may have plans for a complete gala.
If you have an idea of what you want, figure out first ballpark estimates for your venue, caterer, photographer, wedding dress, rings, and florist. Once you have that, figure how much money you can save each month, and then figure out how many months it will take to pay for your wedding. That is how long your engagement will be.
Post # 11
We are not yet engaged either but I have done a tun of research and price comparison already. Here are the steps I took in order to come up with a rough budget:
-Start with your guest list. This is going to affect everything you need to put money towards so you need to know what number your estimating off of.
-Get an idea of what kind of wedding you want to have. Indoor/outdoor, contemporary/vintage, themed/traditional. These things affect your decision making which in turn affects your price point. We want to have an outdoor tented reception. That means I need to think about putting together cost for EVERYTHING. This tells me the types of things I need to budget for.
-Start doing a lot of online searching if you haven’t already. Find out what venues cost, what open bar or alcohol might cost, how much it might be to rent chairs or a photo booth or how much a bridal bouquet is. Some of this might be estimated guess work but that is ok. Nothing is permanent so don’t feel like these numbers have to be locked in.
-Input all of this information into an excel spreadsheet or an online budget calculator( I really like Martha Stewarts). Some of the online ones start with a percentage of the total budget you input. I prefer the free filling ones just because then you can adjust things more to your liking not to what they say it should be.
-Don’t forget that EVERYTHING can be changed. If you make a budget and it is $50,000 don’t think you have to spend that much or you are stuck. All of those numbers are estimations. Obviously your venue budget is a little more strict then your flower budget but just know that you came up with some of the basics and you have a place to start from.
I hope some of that made sense or was helpful. Also, in terms of saving or knowing how much you can pay for, once you have decided on a number your comfortable with obviously divide that by how many months you have to plan and adjust accordingly.
Post # 12
@MsBrooklynA: Thanks so much! I’ve been doing tons and tons of research so I have a great idea of the kind of wedding we want to have, but I’m lost on price ranges and what the “norm” is for my area or in general.
Post # 13
@MissComicBook: I obviously don’t know where you’re located but some of the things I did to figure out norms were to attend some bridal shows, take a few of the prices of venues in the area and compare them as well as find an average between them. I don’t have an overabundance of places to choose from though so that was easier for me then someone in a larger area. Also, maybe do a meeting with a DOC or two and see if they can give you some information on vendors in the area. They should be able to help you get a start on who to check out.
Post # 14
@MsBrooklynA: Thanks for the advice. We’re in Ohio, so I don’t have to worry about the crazy markups some brides have, thank goodness.
Post # 15
I agree with PP about figuring out how many people to invite! That is the best way to lower costs. Also I wouldn’t have a set number, I think a range is better. The best thing I found too was weddingwire.com. They had a great budget calculator to show you how much you could spend on each portion of your wedding. I would also consider when you need to book things i.e. pay downpayments. Maybe in the beginning you need to save a bit more for the downpayments and then you can save a little less for a couple months before more expenses come. Good Luck!