whats a budget?

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
Member
7997 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

I strongly recommend not booking anything until you do have the money saved.

It sounds to me like you will be going into debt for your wedding. Most people have the money saved already or they set aside a certain amount each month so they will know how much they have when the day arrives.

It’s not worth it to start your married life in debt. Don’t do it.

You save for a wedding the same way you save for anything else. Generally to get the amount you’d spend you set a max budget and work backwards. So say you know you can only spend $10K before going into debt, you find vendors that fit well within that budget and cut anything that makes it go over.

Post # 4
Member
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

If you find a vendor you like, they will draw up a contract and in it will tell you what all the payments are and when they are due.  Some of them might be willing to work with you on that, i.e. smaller payments but more payments.  Definintely don’t book unless you are comfortable with the contract and being able to pay for it.

When we started, I took our total budget (the money we already had, ours plus my parents) and broke it down into how much for each piece of the wedding.  We were not spending any more than what was already set aside.  I told our florist, this is the budget and she gave us what we needed in that budget.  I shopped around for a DJ and photographer until I found ones in the budget, and got lucky with both.  Stick to your guns on what you truly can afford.  Agreed with PP, not worth going into debt over a wedding that’s only for a day.

Post # 5
Member
1071 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club

To figure out my budget, I looked at how much weddings in my area generally cost. (You can google that).

Then I spoke with my parents and FI’s parents to see if they were gonna contribute.

There is a budget calculator on the knot (or you can google one.) This tells you how much percent you should pay for each vendor. 

All that helped me figure out a practicle and realistic budget. 🙂

Post # 7
Member
489 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

How do you not have anything saved? I wouldn’t have started planning if I had nothing. I strongly recommend you start saving a certain amount per month. I have a mortgage, bills to pay (although no CC debt to pay off) and we manage to save every month. It’s not always the same amount, some months more some less, but we put something away each month. Even if it’s just $100. 

Have a goal in mind. We set a goal of how much we wanted to save and we’ve passed that goal with 5 months to go. (New goal is to double the original). If we have money leftover after the wedding, it goes towards furnishing the house.

Post # 8
Member
2562 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

It sounds like you would be better off watching your pennies for this wedding – you don’t want to go into debt over it.

I’d forgo some of the things you mentioned, like the photobooth or the candy bar. From my experience, not many people realize they can grab the candies! Nor do many adults want that much candy around after a night of indulgence.
Be ruthless with cutting things out of your wedding that you don’t need.

When you speak with a vendor, don’t tell them your whole wedding budget – all they see is dollar signs.
Generally, I’ve found it eaiser to just ask for their prices up front, “I’m sorry, I really would prefer not to divulge my budget. I would love it if you could send me an estimate. We’re interested in service X, Y, and Z. An estimated number for that would help us make a more informed desicion.”
If a vendor really pressured me to give them a budget number they very rarely gave me any of their pricing info after I gave them information, even if I asked for an estimate. I scratched those vendors off my list – if they can’t be upfront with me, I don’t want to deal with it.

If you want to hire that vendor, then yes, be upfront about your budget numbers. “We’ve determined we can spend $X on photography, we don’t have a lot of wiggle room. What can are you willing to work with us on to meet that cost?”

[ETA] By the way, if you really have nothing saved up, and you want a wedding for say, $15,000, you’ll need to save $1,250 a month to save up that amount in a year. Just keep that in mind if you have no savings now (which, apart from saving up for a wedding, is kind of a worry all on it’s own!) 🙁

Good luck.

Post # 9
Member
8426 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@AndysCraftsNmore:  I think you have to prioritize.  What is more important to you, fancy flowers or an elaborate cake?  Your wedding dress or an open bar?  My wedding budget was originally $10k, I ended up spending $12k because we got some unexpected help from our moms.  The majority of my budget 60%+ was spent on my guests (2 dinners, 1 brunch, open bar, gifts, favors, etc), my next largest expense was photography, followed by attire, videographer, DJ, etc.  My lowest priority items were flowers and invitations/stationary (both DIY) and I completely cut out a make up artist and mani/pedi.  I agree with the other posters about not going into debt for a wedding; marriage is stressful enough as it is, no reason to add fuel to the fire.

Post # 10
Member
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@AndysCraftsNmore:  

@canarydiamond:  I don’t think you need to have all of your money set aside before you book but you do need a plan as to how you will pay for it when the time comes. For example, my FH and I are getting married 15 months from now. We are putting in $1K per month into a wedding account. That and some family contributions will pay for the wedding.

Recommend you have a reasonable and realistic plan you can live with before you book things.

When in doubt, estimate HIGH!

Post # 12
Member
2042 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My parents set my budget and my grandparents matched it.  That is how I came up with my budget.  rehearsal and honeymoon are all getting paid by FIs family. 

Post # 13
Member
1040 posts
Bumble bee

The way we figured it out was, we wanted to have our wedding in May of 2014. We went through our monthly bills and figured we could set aside $600 each month toward a wedding fund… so $600 X 12 months (at the time) = $7200. That’s our wedding budget.

Also, I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to spend more than $1000 on my dress, and that my venue was going to be free… so it was a bit easier for me to figure out everything else from there.

Most importantly, take the time to look around and contact A LOT of people. Most photographers in my area cost $3000+; I emailed 7 of them, being upfront about my budget, and only 1 was willing to work with it. But I’m glad I took the time to email all 7 of them. A lot of vendors are flexible and will modify their packages to lower their rates. 

Post # 14
Member
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m fairly anti-traditional budget. When we first started planning, my M.O. was “spend what seems reasonable”. To me, $5000 for a DJ is not reasonable. Neither was $8000 for a photographer. We did end up setting up a budget, but it’s not hard and fast. Let me explain:

So when we were first talking about getting married, FI and I looked around online and estimated the minimum amount of money we’d need for the cheapest possible wedding that fit within our standards/goals. We settled on 10k. Then we figured out how much money we’d have to save to have 10k by our proposed wedding day. This meant we would be living on a VERY strict budget (no ‘fun’ money at all), but we were willing to do it for the wedding of our (scaled down) dreams. Thankfully, his parents were able to contribute a small amount, and my parents were able to contribute a large amount to our wedding (we could use the money for whatever we wanted, but we opted to spend it on our wedding), so that put less pressure on us to save, and allowed us to increase our budget significantly (to be clear, we don’t expect or ask for any money from our parents, but were very happy, surprised, and gracious to recieve it).

 

So, after all that, once we all put all of our wedding monies into the pot, we’ll have 20k (FI and I each put $x in every month, so that money isn’t there now, but will be, and my parents are giving us 1/4 of the money they promised to us every three months). From that 20k, we decided to base our total wedding budget on 16k, to give us “wiggle room” and give us money for a honeymoon/in case one of us loses our job/etc.

 

So, I went online and using Wedding Wire’s budget builder, I made a budget using 16k and 140 guests. I adjusted their amounts (some things we didn’t need, some things we needed and they didn’t have, etc), and ended up with our total budget.

I have the luxury (and I realize not everyone does) to definitely have some wiggle room. I really use our budget as a guidline. So, for example, we had 1k budgeted for a DOC. After getting pricing packages emailed back, I realized we’d have to spend more to get the level of service I expected. We ended up booking a DOC who was $1250 – slightly over our budget, but I’m not beating myself up over it. Now, if you book EVERY vendor “slightly over budget”, you’ll very quickly end up spending an extra 3 or 4 thousand, so that’s why a budget is helpful. While we spent over on our DOC, I know at the end of the day we won’t go into debt because I spent less than half my dress budget (budgeted $1200, spend around $580).

More than anything, the budget to me is peace of mind. I don’t want to be scrambling the week before my wedding trying to figure out how I’m going to make the last payment to our photog/venue/etc, and I know we won’t have to because of the balance on our spreadsheet.

 

I highly recommend sitting down with your FI and figuring out how much you can each save every month. Set up a seperate savings account for that money, and only spend/sign a contract to spend what will, at the end of the engagement, be in that account.

FWIW, you are missing a TON of stuff on your budget (that’s why I recommend checking out Wedding Wire’s budget builder). Postage, for example. If you send out a postcard save the date, a regular-sized, not over-weight invite with a postcard RSVP to 100 guests, that’s about $100 in postage alone (and that’s not including postage for thank yous from the wedding and any showers you may have). Plus your invitation supplies/printing/designing/whatever. Candy bar containers, linens, and rentals you may need, alterations to your dress (can be as low as $50, but as high as $500!), shoes and accessories for you, bridal party gifts, transportation, hair, make-up, wedding night accomadations if you don’t want to go back home, food for the day of the wedding for you and your bridal party while you get ready, tux rental, ties, shoes, etc for guys. Do you want any signage? Any decorations? Bubbles or confetti at the end of the ceremony? There’s a lot of little stuff that will really add up.

Post # 15
Member
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I don’t have a budget. I’m doing kinda what you’re doing. Looking for vendors I like that are a good deal. I’m not splurging on anything but still getting what I like. I don’t have any savings put aside for the wedding but I’m still in college and parents are paying for all of it. Do your research on vendors find good ones with good reviews. No DJ is worth 5k even with a photobooth, keep looking 

Post # 16
Member
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

As far as the “what you should spend” thing – just remember that’s all averages. There are people who spend $0 on whatever the wedding thing is, and some people who will spend $15,000 on that exact same thing. Generally “they” say you should spend 10% on flowers. We’re spending less than that (around 7%), but they’ll still be gorgeous – we just don’t need as many flowers as a “normal” wedding would because we have small bridal parties and won’t need any floral decorations for the ceremony.

 

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