(Closed) NO idea how to pick a budget and date!

posted 6 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
4284 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@virgomasala80:  Start making a rough guest list. From there figure out the vision of the wedding you want. Start pricing things and build your budget from there. Or you can decide just how much you want to spend/ can afford to spend and build the rest from there. Good luck! Congrats!

Post # 4
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@virgomasala80:  First off, congrats on the engagement!  I agree that this summer would be cutting it close, but it can still be done depending on how much spare time you have.  As for the budget, the way my Fiance and I did it, is we figured out how much we could spend without going into debt (current savings + the amount we could save every month).  Then start gathering prices and figuring out what you’re willing to cut out (we cut the aisle runner, size of the wedding party, make-up artists, etc) and what you can DIY (invites, flowers, etc).  I think there are some tools on theknot.com that can help you budget things.  I know some brides have gotten wedding planners, but I’m not using one, so I can’t really give any feedback on that.  Hopefully some other bees can chime in here.  Best of luck!

Post # 5
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Budget is something I struggled too, as I didn’t have firm numbers. I think the first step is deciding what you guys can afford and more importantly how much you want to spend.

That is going to be a big factor in your guest list. Look online at the venues around around and you may get a good idea at the max amount of people you can have. Then of course you decide how intimate you want it to be and all that.

Post # 6
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Start with the guest list.

Make two. 1 that is everyone you want and another that is a paired down version.

Then decide how much money you can save or can afford to spend (savings, gifts, etc) (even if its more than you want to spend at the moment). 

Then start looking at venues and decide if the venues you like are within your budget. If they are not then start looking at the ones that are. 

Almost all caterers and venues charge per head whether its seated or buffet style. So you can estimate that 1/2 of your budget is usually spent on food and alcohol. use that as a guideline when finding your venue/caterer. You can spend less certainly, but it gives you a starting place.

Once you find a venue that works for your budget ask them what days they have available. Since you want to get married this year you may not have a ton of options and have to go for availability. 

Post # 7
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

Aw sweetie don’t stress!! And welcome to the bee, by the way!

I don’t think the exact date is THAT important, first decide on a month and find out which venues are available then. It sounds like you’re busy in September with your new career, and that could keep you busy for awhile, so it might be nice to get married in the summer – especially since you don’t want to have too long of an engagement. If you got married in August, that gives you 8 months to plan your wedding, which, trust me, is plenty of time! 

As far as setting a budget – you need to talk to your Fiance about what you two are comfortable spending. Find out if either of your families can contribute to paying for the wedding, and if so, how much they are comfortable contributing. Once you agree on a dollar amount ($1k, $5k, $10k, whatever it may be!) that everyone is comfortable with and can afford, you can move forward with everything else.

After we decided on a time of year to get married (we got engaged on Jan 1st of last year, and married on Nov 10th, so we had a 10 month engagement, and it was a little too long haha) and you have a budget, think about who you and your families want to invite and make a preliminary list – you will need a ballpark estimate (20 people, 50 people, 100 people, 150 people, 200 people, etc.) to figure out which venues will be able to accomodate your group. We made a list of our closest friends and our relatives who we expected could make it, and we looked for venues that could fit 100 to 200 people. We ended up having 120 guests, but it was nice that our venue had enough space for 200 in case our guest list had crept up during our engagement.

For us, we decided to have a wedding in the fall, we made a general guest list, we checked out venues that could fit 100 to 200 people, and our favorite venue was only available on November 10th, so we booked it for that date. That’s what helped us pick the exact date. I know everyone has different ways of picking a date, but being flexible about the exact date really helped us out, since otherwise we would’ve had to pick a different venue.

There are TONS of tips out there on how to save money on your wedding – there was a thread on the bee yesterday about which things are worth it, and which things brides skipped (e.g. hiring a wedding planner, booking transportation, hiring a DJ, hosting an open bar, etc.). So as you progress through wedding planning, you can come back here for pretty much endless budget-saving ideas.

The best thing you can do is read “A Practical Wedding.” I bought that book a couple weeks after we  got engaged, and I read a chapter every night – it’s really light, quick reading, and it’s not a very long book – and it made me feel WAY WAY better about wedding planning. It puts a lot of things into perspective, and it’s a really good reminder that you don’t have to have “all the things” you see in fancy magazines and blogs in order to have a successful, fun wedding.

Good luck! And let me know if you want any other advice! This might be overkill haha, I’m sorry 🙂

Post # 8
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I second the suggestion for “A Practical Wedding.”

Here’s what I did:

– Get the guest list sketched out. I’d recommend using Google Drive to start to store these documents because it makes it very easy to edit and share them with multiple people. You may want to categorize people. Have a column for Bride/Groom side, a column for Family/Friends/Coworkers/Parent Requests, and at this point in the game, you may want to assign each person an A/B/C rating. A = MUST invite them, B = Really want to invite them, C = Would be nice to invite them if there is room. You don’t have to use those ratings long term but it will help you figure out how many people there are on the list. I was shocked at how quickly the list grew.

-Use a budget template. Google Drive has lots of them for weddings. I liked the Style Me Pretty All-in-One Planner template, but I really just used the budget form. The budget will have lots of things you won’t use on it and will probably be missing some expenses you’ll have, but it’s a great place to start.

– If you don’t know what to fill in for a certain item on the budget, there are a few things you can do. One is start dialing/emailing! That is what I would recommend for catering, venues, things that are going to be unique to your area. For things that are a little more universal, like flower costs or tux rentals or all that, you could come search on the bee for past budget threads where people share their costs.

Once you see what the budget adds up to, you can start to decide where to cut or add to. If you have anyone in your life that has recently been married, running that sample budget past them is a huge help so they can tell you “Oh, you way under-estimated on that” (I did that with flowers) or “You can get it way cheaper than that.” Now, them telling you that doesn’t mean you have to change your budget, it just helps calibrate your expectations so you can maybe change your plans for that item (I ended up doing silk flowers).

Share that budget with anyone you think might be contributing and see what they think of it and how they’d like to contribute, if at all.

The date will start to flow naturally from there. You’ll see how long it will take people to be able to give you what they want to contribute and/or for you to save up. You’lll find out if vendors offer off-season discounts. You’ll hear from friends and family if there are times of year already booked up with other stuff.

Here’s my one caution. I thought I was going to have no problem doing a wedding for $15k. I’m a frugal deal shopper, I do tons of DIY and am good at it, and I only had a few things on my “very important to me” wedding list.

However, with my taste, I was too low on that. And I didn’t think of a lot of the little detailed items (postage, undergarments, wedding party gifts, aisle runner, cake stand, etc). I’m coming in more around $22k. That is for an anticipated attendance list of about 150 (but about 255 invited).

There are CERTAINLY lots of people that do weddings for far less, so I’m not trying to be discouraging. It really just depends where your guest list comes in at and the choices you make. You mentioned having catering instead of a per head cost… well, they’re the same thing, except one is buffet style and one is plated. I’m not really saving a ton of money by going buffet. Now, if you did catered sandwiches from like Panera or something, that might be a savings. I looked into Fazoli’s, if you have one near you – their catering is CHEAP!! So that’s an option.

Things just add up really really fast. I do have one big splurge item, but other than that, when I look at each line item, I was pretty cheap on everything. $300 for my dress, $800 for flowers and centerpieces for 20 tables, DIY invitations, no transportation, no fee to rent our venue, only doing beer/wine/signature drink, $25 for FI’s wedding ring…

But dang, it adds up. You can do it, but just be prepared for that first number to come in with some sticker shock!

One other money-saving suggestion: Barter. If you or Fiance have any skills (mine is marketing, but examples might be construction, hair-dressing, cleaning homes, car repair, whatever), you will be shocked at how many people will trade with you. I am saving well over $1000 by doing trades with my salon, my day-of coordinator, and my seamstress for alterations/bridesmaids dresses.

Post # 9
2194 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

i would say you dont pick the budget as much as it picks you……like others have said talk to your/his parents and find out if there will be any contributiond (and sny stipulations like must invite 250 of aunts cousins nephews) and then figure out what you can contribute.

if parents say something like oh we would like to cover the dinner (or flowers or…) ask.if they could give a round estimate to help you plan appropiately

you say you don’t want to spend the average $…..be aware this generally means significantly different expectations as its not that people want to spend so much its just that it all adds up (not saying better or worse wedding but thinking you can have a semi formal sit down dinner w dancing for 200p on a saturday night for $10,000 is pretty much impossible) 

Post # 10
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@virgomasala80:  I’/m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but we decided on our date (not the exact one, but roughly the month and time of month) and budget by looking at what we could save over time and compared it to our estimated guest list.

So, basically, we added up both sides of our family who we wanted to come, added in their plus ones, then made a lsit together of the few friends we wanted to come (it’s a smaller wedding). After that, we figured out how much we could realistically save each month, and noted on the calendar how much we’d have by each month for a year from our engagement. We realized that we wouldn’t have enough money to get marrie til late summer or early fall.

At that point, i started contacting venues with a guess of a wedding being some weekend in the first half of October. We founda  place we loved for a price we loved, and chose our date based on their availability and our projected finances.

Post # 12
9672 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Everyone else has pretty good advice

1. Start with a guest list.  List out all your family you want to be there and his.  List all your friends you want to invite.  Plan on maybe 70-80% of those people showing up.  If your list is too big, bring it down where you can.  This # is what you need to help pick a venue. 

2. Research venues.  I think the venue you have it at will determine a lot of your budget.  If you are wanting to save money find somewhere that will let you bring in your own alcohol and catering (so this might eliminate hotel ballrooms, for instance).

3.  Look at your finances/income and determine how much you can save each month/put towards the wedding.  Also see how much any family can contribute.  That will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend.

Since a lot of vendors book a year out, you might be better off doing an end of the year wedding in November or December.  Since this is the slower season you can usually save a little bit of money by doing it during these months (not a ton in my experience though).  Otherwise, you could do January or February next year.  I think winter weddings are lovely and I don’t personally understand the obsession with summer weddings.  I only picked out our date because it was the date of our first date. 

Things like flowers or decor can be done very expensively or very cheaply.  After the venue (rental, alcohol, food), usually photography is the next most expensive thing so I would tackle that after the venue.

Also it will be helpful to decide what are the most important things to you and what kind of wedding you want to have.  A great party?  Decor?  the photography? great venue?  I would write down the 3 most important things and focus money into those areas.

Be prepared to go over a bit.  Before I knew anything I thought I $10K was enough for what I wanted…but I was pretty wrong so I ended up wanting to spent around $15K.  Well…I will spend around $20K for everything except the honeymoon.

Post # 13
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@virgomasala80:  Make sure you check into off-season with any vendors you may be using. A few of my vendors offered off-season discounts between November – April. That could help you save money, although at $5000, I don’t think you’ll be using many vendors to be honest (unless your guest list is very small).

Post # 14
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@virgomasala80:  I saw that you’re going to try to go with a $5,000 budget, which can be totally do-able. You have a good plan already by starting with the guest list.

We are paying for our wedding primarily by ourselves, although Mother-In-Law has gifted us money that we will be putting toward the day.  We never set a true budget, we just went with things we knew we could pay for in cash when all was said and done.

Our biggest saving came from looking farther out of town. We live in a large area, and the venue we had originally wanted was $5,000 just for the space. It is beautiful, and I was sad to move on, but I knew I didn’t want to skimp in any other areas. There was a smaller town that was about halfway between us and our family. We found a woman who had purchased and remodelled a Victorian house specifically for hosting weddings and events. There is also a barn on the back of the property that is usable reception space. We are getting the entire property, linens, flatware, dishes, etc…for $600.

I had been planning to do my own flowers, but again, because we ended up in a small town, the florist is eager for the business and is keeping the cost lower than what I would have paid for bulk flowers.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, think outside the box. I never would have dreamed we’d end up getting married in the town we chose, but because we did, we are able to do so much more.  We’ll probably be spending just a touch over $5,000.

And if you choose August, 8 months is plenty of time. We got engaged in July (after three years together) and our wedding is in March. I ordered my dress at the end of September, and it comes in January 25, so plenty of time for alterations, etc.

Good luck, you can do it!

Post # 15
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I agree with all of the advice above. Definitely read A Practical Wedding! That’s how I figured out how much to budget for everything. There were only a couple of categories that I changed later (photographer for example).

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