(Closed) Setting a Wedding Budget

posted 8 years ago in Money
  • poll: If you could set your own budget, how would you proceed?
    The sky is the limit! If you can do it, enjoy it all. : (3 votes)
    4 %
    Keep it high end, but within reason. : (33 votes)
    40 %
    Do a moderately nice party, but keep it modest. : (38 votes)
    46 %
    It's just one day! Spend as little as possible to enjoy yourselves. : (8 votes)
    10 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    877 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    My Fiance and I have chosen to pay for the wedding ourselves.  We both have well-paying jobs, are debt-free, and have a large amount in savings.  However, being a frugal couple, we don’t plan on throwing a lavish wedding just because we can.  Even though we have a $25K budget for 140 guests, I have a feeling we’ll spend closer to $20K.  We’re doing a lot of DIY projects and looking for things used or borrowed to save on costs.  If we were getting help with wedding costs, I’d still have the same budget/mindset.  We have financial goals for the future and I don’t want our wedding costs to significantly interfere with them.  Do what you think feels right for you and your Fiance.  Think about how important a fancier wedding is to you guys vs having a simpler wedding and saving up for something else in the future.  Good luck!

    Post # 4
    Member
    1103 posts
    Bumble bee

    The way we did it was to go through a wedding budget I found somewhere online. It listed all the bits you’d probably buy (dress, flowers, reception, etc) and an indicative cost. We went through it line by line and decided what we were happy to spend, taking some costs up and others down and some away completely, based on our priorites and what kind of day we wanted. At the end of that we looked at the total, looked at each other and said “are we happy with that” and decided we were. We did some sums to make sure we’d be able to put that amount aside in a year (we didn’t want to wait longer than that), and we could, so that was the end of that. In the end both sets of parents offered us some money so although the budget stayed almost the same, our contribution went down (which was a nice bonus).

    It was a lot of money when you consider it was just one day, but it gave us the wedding we wanted, and we didn’t have to go into debt for it. It also meant we didn’t have to shop around much – we just went with the photographer we liked, the florist we liked, etc. I did DIY a bunch of stuff, including invites, which saved some money, but for the most part we just bought what we wanted. It was much more stress free that way, I admire brides who are keen bargain hunters but I really didn’t have to energy or motivation to do it myself and I’m very thankful we could afford to not stress about it too much. You can have a beautiful wedding on any budget so it’s really just up to what feels comfortable and natural for you!

    Post # 6
    Member
    24 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    My fiancee and I are definitely the ‘It’s just one day” type as we are looking toward buying a house in the near future.  Every dollar we spend toward the wedding is essentially one dollar that could be used toward having a down payment on the future home.  We both want to celebrate the fact that we are getting married but celebrating that within reason.  We’ve set our budget at roughly 3,000.  Surprisingly, it seems like we’re close to pullling this off.  There’s been a lot of craigslist hunting, friend/relative networking, dave ramsey-esque negotiating skills, internet bargin bin searching but I don’t think people will know that it only cost about 3,000.  But they may catch on as we smile our way to the bank with the money we’ve saved!

    Post # 7
    Member
    576 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I first looked up what the average wedding cost, YIKES!  Then we did like mountain.bride but when we compared it to how much we could save and how much our parents were pitching, we realized that wasn’t going to happen.  So we just set it at $10,000 (including our honeymoon) because that seemed doable for L.A. and that’s how much we’d be able to save and have contributed.  Sometimes I wish we had set it lower and other times I wish it were higher.

    Also, our guest count is about 175.  We both have big families.  Besides family, I’m only inviting 6 friends and 5 coworkers.

    Post # 8
    Member
    3316 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    To be honest, there is no perfect answer.  We were paying it all ourselves, and definitely don’t have a lot of money.  At the same time, our wedding was a huge celebration for us.  By the time it happened, we had been together for nine years, but only in the last year of that had it even been possible for us to have a legal marriage anywhere.

    I did some research on what we could get, in terms of the things most important to us, for various budgets.  It broke down like this:

    Me:  Having a Jewish wedding was very important to me, so we had to figure in a rabbi, synagogue, chuppah (wedding canopy), ketubah (Jewish wedding contract), ketubah frame, and glass for breaking. Because as a same-sex couple we couldn’t get married in our local area, we ended up with exhorbitant nonmember rates for the rabbi and synagogue.

    NotFroofy:  It was important to have a “wedding” dress and accessories as opposed to just a nice party dress, although she was willing to go with a budget wedding dress.  She also wanted a professional photographer for the ceremony, although not necessarily for the reception.

    Both of us: We wanted to have a party back in DC with our friends–between 50 and 100 people, depending on who RSVPed yes.  We also wanted to cover as much as possible of the expenses of the few guests we invited to the ceremony in Massachusetts, as they were immediate family and close friends and all helped with the wedding in some way.  We therefore paid for their accommodations, and all of their food, from the night before the wedding to the morning after the wedding.

    We were willing to go low budget on, DIY, or skip absolutely everything else.  After some research, I figured out that to get the things that were important to us, along with spending at least a little for other stuff, was going to amount to about $10,000, so that was the budget we set.  Even with that, I made a point of paying for the most critical stuff first.  That way, if I miscalculated and ran out of money, only the unimportant things would be missing.

    So it’s not like there was one clear answer.  We were willing to go high budget on the most critical things, while still going low budget on the things that meant less to us.

    Post # 9
    Member
    708 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    New Years Eve in NYC. That is going to be rather difficult keeping the cost down if you want the traditional wedding, ie: ceremony, 5 hour reception with dinner and dancing. Keeping the guest list down is huge. We are getting married int he city and originally wanted 150 guests. We are currently at 237. Unbeleiveable. Thankfully we are not paying for it ourselves. If we were, we would probably picked somewhere in Jersey or LI. Is that an option for you two? If so, I would highly recommend moving out of the city. Also, is moving your date a possibility? I found that the day after NYE all of the prices in NYC dropped significantly. Our venue for NYE was $225/person. January 8th – $150/person. Also, all of the hotels in the area are much cheaper after NYE.

    Post # 10
    Member
    3219 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2010

    We didn’t really set a wedding budget. My parents said they would give us 8k, My mom said she would give us 1k plus flowers and my dress(es) and FH’s mom is paying for the DJ.

    We kinda just went into it on what we wanted to pay for things. And I also pay for things here & there so I can have a bigger sum of $ left after the wedding for the house.

    DJ- We ended up paying $650 for 5 hours. His first quote was $950 FH and I decided we are not paying someone almost $200/ hour for ANYTHING.

    Photog- We got some what we thought were ridiculous quotes (others don’t) We ended up finding someone we thought was AMAZING for $400 with a disc.

    Food- We more went with how much we wanted to spend and invited that many people. I would suggest asking your venue for a the corperate menu they gave it to us by accident and we’re saving $30+ per person!

    Invites, décor & other paper goods- were more on what I wanted them to look like and less about caring how much I spent

    Post # 11
    Member
    11325 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    If I could afford to do anything I wanted, I wouldn’t set a budget. I would still not go for a lavish event, but I would evaluate each decision individually to find what I thought was good value. I value photography really highly so I would probably spend quite a bit on that. I don’t value flowers as much so I’d probably go cheaper on those. I think budgets are the source of so much anxiety and if you don’t need to have one, I wouldn’t. 

    Post # 12
    Member
    240 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I am somewhere in between “If you can do it, enjoy it all” and “Keep it high end, but within reason.”  For me, my parents wanted to pay for the wedding as this was as much a celebration for them as it was for us.  So they paid for the big ticket items like the venue, photography, wedding planner, transportation paid by my parents as this was as much a celebration for them as it was for us.  There were definitely a few extras that I felt were too frivolous to ask my parents, so ended up paying them myself without them knowing (upgraded to chivari chairs, had custom printed menus instead of the ones offered by the venue, specialty lighting, custom-built cocktail bar).  But even with the added “extras,” I did my best to keep it within reason.  Like, I wanted to rent ivory satin napkins and could not discern any visual difference between the $5 one vs. $8.50 one, etc.  So, if you have the means, enjoy it!  But just remember that even amongst the higher end vendors, it can be worthwhile to shop around!

    Post # 14
    Member
    2866 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    I’d set it at what you think it reasonable but for LESS that you’d want to spend. Weddings have a way of growing so while you are financial able to spend the money on it, only spend what you think is financially responsible.

    You don’t want to have buyers remorse for spending a ton on a single day, but you don’t want to skimp as well.

    The thing about setting a lower budget is that you can always upgrade things later as you see how much things actually cost rather than freaking out about how expensive everything is and panicking to cut things that seem frivolous. Plus it helps you focus on the things that you and your Fiance think are the most important.

    Post # 15
    Member
    499 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    It really depends on what your priorities are, I think. Is it important to you to have a lavish day to remember? Or is it important to you to add your personality through DIY projects? And also, what are the most important parts of your day? Location? Food? Pictures or video?

    In order to set a budget you have to first know where your priorities are, and then know how many people you envision having. You seem to have a guest list number, but I can’t tell if you’ve sorted out your priorities yet or not. You need to sit down and envision what you want the day to be. Then based on your vision and priorities, you can research the types of vendors that are most important to you (Officiant, or caterer, or photographer, etc.) and get an idea of what this thing should cost you. Then set your budget realistically with your new information in hand and stick to it.

    Post # 16
    Member
    275 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    We are paying for everything ourselves and have set a budget no higher than $8K.  We live in a fairly small town so it wont be too hard to do, but we wanted to make sure that we have everthing we want to have a great time and memerable wedding.  I am doing all of the projects myself and we are making all of the food.  It has been alot of fun making everything for my wedding and being involved.

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