(Closed) How do you even start a budget?!!!

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 2
1838 posts
Buzzing bee

Work out what you can reasonably afford without going into debt. Start there. 

Then look at venues you like and see if they fit into your budget. If not, scrap them. Same goes with photography. There are some great online calculators that help you work out what percentage of your budget should be taken up by certain expenses (catering, photography, attire, etc).

Post # 3
238 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I’ve found it helpful to ask venue, photographer etc if we can make monthly payments after we pay our initial deposit to help afford the expensive stuff.  So far our venue and photographer gladly accepted and are allowing us to pay $100/ea a Month until it’s paid. I find this easier then paying full price a few months before the wedding and doesn’t disrupt life paying bills and money problems too badly.

Post # 4
2314 posts
Buzzing bee

Figure out what you can afford!  Pick a number and stick to it.  Make a list of prioriteis, must haves, wants and do not need….stick to it.  Decide on the feel you want your wedding to have. Then do some looking before you go shopping and see what you might want and how that works into your budget.   your priorites may change once you see the prices.  

My priorities are food, photo/video, and entertainment.

Must haves – photo/video, alcohol, breakfast with bridesmaids, bridal bouquet, DJ, simple 3-tier white cake

nice to haves- makeup/ hair, limos, flowers for honored guest, full pre-reception, cookie bar, large cake, up lighting and custom dance floor lights, flower pettals for tables, place cards, candles & mirrors for table decor

do not need- flowers, over the top centerpeices, photobooth, ice sculptures, live music, special silverware, upgraded linens, favors, special napkins, and the list goes on.  

My do not need list has been the most helpful because when i see an idea or someone suggest something, if its on that list we came up with we dont do it.  It has kept our budget in check.  It also helps to revisit these list after you book your venue and make necessary changes

Post # 5
2238 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

View original reply
beachbumm105:  You figure out how much money you have to spend on a wedding plus any contributions from family members (if applicable). Once you have a number, there are some good guides out there that give you an idea of what percentage should go to each aspect of planning (ex. 50% of your budget should go towards your reception). Of course, every wedding is different and people prioritize different things, but the guides are helpful as a starting place. Many vendors don’t post their pricing online, but I’ve found a simple email usually gives you an idea of their price range. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, either!

Post # 6
3234 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
beachbumm105:  Figure out what you can afford. If no one has offered to help you (aka family) then assume you’re paying for the whole wedding yourself. Figure out when you want to get married and how much you can save before then. That’s your budget – you then figure out ways to make that budget work. 

Post # 7
4695 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
beachbumm105:  We didn’t necessarily start a budget.. We started by doing a lot of research about how much things cost on average, how much things we liked/ wanted cost, and how much we could stomach paying.. 

A lot of stuff doesn’t matter so figure out what matters to you, and what you can reasonable afford/ care to spend on 1 day.

Post # 8
1430 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Depending on your circumstance as to whether you have savings, likely need to top them up or start from scratch, I’ve just in general found it helpful to have a personal monthly budget for income and expenses.  Once I had this, I worked out what I wanted to put aside monthly towards the wedding and multiplied this by number of months to wedding – which is how I arrived at my basic budget.

My advice is to budget conservatively so that it’s achievable. Then check out venues / catering for quotes – often the biggest expense – and go from there! 

I found it helpful to sit with Fiance and make a spreadsheet of various things to consider and to prioritise. We’ve allocated nominal amounts from the budget to each item/grouping and it’s been quite satisfying to track and tick off!

Post # 9
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I started assuming I was paying everything, so my budget was what I had saved.  We then found out my mom wanted to buy my dress and his parents wanted to help out.  We stayed close to the initial budget I had set, but I was not stressed once we had initial money come in.  We ended having more in savings than we started the process with.

Post # 10
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

View original reply
beachbumm105:  Start with deciding what you can afford and how long you plan to save.  Are you paying for everything or will family be helping? If family is helping, it’s important to talk to them early and often about what they can afford and how they envision that money being spent (do they want tohave a say because they’re paying, or are they simply gifting you the money and leaving the rest up to you).  

Then come up with some general ideas about the kind of wedding you want to have (big and swanky or small and rustic, simple decorations or elaborate, indoor or outdoor, daytime or evening, season?, etc.) and a rough estimate on guest list (are you thinking closer to 50 or 500?)  Then start calling venues that fit into your general vision and ask about pricing.  Most don’t list it on their websites because it’s highly variable.  For example a small friday night wedding for 30 people will cost a lot less than a huge saturday wedding with 300.  

Once you start getting some ballpark estimates it’ll help you refine your budget and vision.  For example, if you want to have an all night party at a downtown museum for you and your closest 200 friends and family, a budget of $5,000 just isn’t going to cut it.  Whereas, if you’re wanting a simple beach ceremony and a casual cocktails and appetizers reception for 50 poeple, $5,000 is a perfectly reasonable budget. 

You really can spend as little or as much as you want when it comes to getting married.  It all just depends on what your vision of a perfect wedding is.  For example my husband and I had a summer wedding with the theme of “backyard BBQ meets garden tea party, all with a coastal flare” We spent about 12,000 and had the wedding of our dreams with about 90 guests.  On the other hand, my sister had a wedding with almost 300 guests and spent upwards of $70-80k. But, it was the wedding she wanted so she was happy with spending that much, I personally would have had a heart attack! 

Just start with what you’re comfortable spending and build the wedding around that. 

Post # 11
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I got the Knot app and used their budgeter.

Post # 13
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

A. Build in 10% for “overages.”   Things come in with unexpected costs.  

2. Dont forget about tips and extras.  When you get quotes from venues, make certain to ask BEFORE YOU SIGN, does this include gratuities?  Any other extras?  Linens, etc? Once  you sign, you have no leverage.  OF COURSE, they will tell you extras not included.   If you are using a venue that does not do its own catering, ask if you can use whomever you want, or if you have to select from theirs.  A venue which supplies nice linens and chairs may seem more expensive, but in the end it may not. 

3.  Bridesmaids cost money.  Yes, in the US, they pay their for their dress, but you will buy gifts, bouquets, etc.  

4.  Not assiging guests to tables costs money.  You will need 10-25% more seating (to avoid people being split up), more centerpieces, linens etc.  

5.  Things not so important, imho.  Favors, fancy STDs (send a nice letter to your grandparents, email out of town friends).   REMEMBER, any one who gets a STD MUST be invited.  Your plans and friends may change over 8 months and you will be stuck.  YES, it is nice to think about that cute magnet on everyone’s frig, but do not spend for this if you are on a budget. 

6.  If you requires your BMs to have their hair or makeup done, you should pay for it.   If it is up to them, they pay.  Consider that. 


7.  When you ask each girl to be Bridesmaid or Best Man, ask them what they are looking to spend on dress.  Stay under that number.   If you demand a certain shoe, you pay.  If you say,  a common shoes, such as black or silver, and you accept what they have, you do not have to pay.   Tell Maid/Matron of Honor, before planning bacheloretter, ask each girl what they can spend.  Stay under that number. 

8.  IMHO, engagement pictures are not necessar.  If your photographer says included in package, ask him or her for a reduction and cut out.

9.   Consider a high quality Bridesmaid or Best Man gown in white or ivory for your wedding gown.  Will save uber bucks. 


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