Post # 1
Hi Bee’s… need a little insight if you don’t mind. We just got engaged last week. We will be paying for our wedding mostly ourselves, with a little help here and there from my parents and his mom will be paying for the rehearsal. We will be using our tax returns and we will start to focus on saving with the wedding particularly in mind. I’m not sure exactly how much my parents will be giving us… I kind of planned to sit down and ask them what they can contribute when the time comes that we start really planning. (Please don’t think I’m complaining, I’m grateful for anything they can give and don’t expect a lot, we don’t mind paying ourselves!)
Here’s where I need advice/experiences. How do I figure out a budget if we don’t know how much we’ll end up with? How will we book a venue in time without knowing how much we’ll be getting back in taxes, etc.? I realize we have to figure out how much we’ll each be saving per week and whatnot, I’m just having a hard time figuring out how we will plan without having the actual money when we start planning. I don’t even know if what I’m saying makes sense, lol so I’m sorry if it doesn’t!
I guess all I’m looking for is advice/insight from other Bee’s who have paid for/are paying for their weddings themselves. Any info appreciated, thanks!
Post # 3
I started out with an overall budget. From there, I checked websites like theknot and weddingwire to figure out what % of my total budget I should be putting toward the venue, dress, photographer, etc. Of course, I didn’t stick to their numbers 100%, I just used it as a guideline. And then I started to search for venues that were within our budget. And then the photographer. And then the dress. I pretty much tackled the big ticket items first. Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions or would like for me to share my budget excel sheet…
Post # 4
The first step for us was to set a monthly savings goal we could reach. The second step was to have that amount automatically deposited into our “wedding account” monthly. Next, we guestimated limited parental support and any other random gifts we would get. That’s pretty much how we did it. We also thought, realistically about how much a wedding costs, and that determined our budget. My best advice is set the date enough in the future that you can just about cover all the expenses with your savings so reality can match your dream. Parents can hit hard times, and suddenly that’s $2000 you’re short. Good luck!
Post # 5
@bas0587: I know this may sound insane. You need to get the money from your parents before you start this or don’t depend on their money at all. Have you read all of the posts on here about parents not paying or backing out paying what they had originally promised. It happens all of the time and the added stress if they can’t pay may kill you if you spend it before you have it.
You need to create a monthly spreadsheet and figure out how much you can save. Then take the average of the first 90 days of savings and assume that’s what you will save every month. Then you can figure out how much you have to spend. You may want to shop for a high, medium, and low priced option in every category and then make sacrifices after you determine what’s most important, or if you fall in love with a photographer for instance, you may be willing to sacrifice money from your dress or cake budget. You have time to do this. Make sure you leave yourself a cushion too in your budget for unseen expenses.
Post # 6
Duh, agree with PP, first step is to figure out how much you can save every month. To help you figure out your monthly expenses/savings, I have a detailed budget excel…Let me know if you’re interested… 🙂
Post # 7
I would leave taxes and possible money from parents out of the budget for now. Focus on how much you and your fiance can set aside in savings every month.
Once you got that number down, figure out your top 3 or 5 priority list. For example, for us it was:
- Wedding Dress
Most of your budget should be put towards those areas…
Best of Luck!
Post # 8
Thanks for the help Bee’s, I already feel a lot better. The thought of booking stuff without knowing how much we’ll have in the end was scaring the crap out of me, so the simple notion of figuring out how much we save each month was very helpful, LOL not sure why I didn’t do that to begin with…
Post # 9
I wouldn’t plan a wedding without any money or savings. In general, you should be able to cover the entire wedding yourself without outside assistance. If you end up getting help, it’s definitely very nice but from a budget point of view, don’t expect it. That way, any extra can go towards padding or savings towards your future. Also, while tax returns are nice, they’re not really going to contribute that much to a wedding (a high return means you’re lending the government money interest free!)
Start with saving as much as you possibly can. It helps if you’re slighly ocd about keeping track of all your expenditures. It is ok to splurge once in a while. I usually go with an expensive smaller item (starbucks or ice cream) rather than a cheaper larger item (clothing and apparel).
Based on how much you can save per month, estimate a rough timeline for 1 year or so if you want to get married soon or 2-3 years if you’re ok with a long engagement. You must be realisitc about what you can afford to pay. Expensive tastes means extra cost. Hotels, museums and wineries are more pricy. Restaurants slightly cheaper. Public parks and backyard is probably the cheapest.
I use google doc to estimate my expenses. I emailed vendors for cost estimates (no hurt asking anyways) and craigslist for service estimates. It’ll get you in the ballpark.
My parents and FI’s parents both contributed equal amounts. They pretty much did a bank transfer/check and let us decide what we want to do with it. Even without, we’d both still be able to afford the wedding, continue living our current lifestyle, have enough for our future, etc. It’ll put a big dent in my savings but nothing we can’t recover in 1-2 years if I return to being thrifty.
Post # 10
Tons of good advice above. I would also start coming up with a ballpark idea of head count. The number of guests REALLY drives the dollars. Call some venues, photographers, florists, etc and ask for pricing (trickier with florists unless you know what types of flowers you want). I had a good understanding of how much venue and catering was going to cost. Photographers were an unpleasant surprise.
Research these boards–there are lots of Boston Bees so probably lots of pricing info.
I agree with the other bees about parental support. Take that number out of your equation in case it doesn’t happen. The worst thing that happens is you under-estmated your savings and have lots of cash left over:)