Post # 1
While there are a lot of guidelines out there about setting a budget for the engagement ring (e.g., 2 months’ salary), there isn’t enough guidance for my liking on what to set as a wedding budget! There are formulas and charts galore describing what percentage of your wedding budget should be devoted to what items (i.e. attire, food, photography, etc.) but my fiance and I are having a super hard time deciding on a target budget! We’ve seen a few reception halls in what we think is our price range, but really — how do you know?? With so many options out there you can always spend less or you can always spend more… but I need help in determining the "right" amount to spend. We live in the NYC area so things here are pricier in general and a lot of the websites that provide estimated costs of weddings just don’t seem realistic to me. I’m one of those girls who has never bought anything full price and I consider myself a bargain shopper. Weddings are a whole different ballgame though! Any advice on this from brides in metro areas that are facing sticker shock but still want a "nice" wedding? How do you get comfortable with choosing your budget, and in turn, your venues?
Post # 3
I have never heard that a wedding budget should be two months salary. I have heard that DeBeers pressures a couple into spending two months of his salary on an engagement ring.
Post # 4
Â I’m not in the metro area , but I live VERY near Palm BeachÂ FL. So prices are slightly above most other areas in the state , no where near NYC though. I’m right there with you though. I’m very proud of always being able to find the discount deal.Â
Â What we did is look at several venues and get their pricing , what was included , ect. I went to both places I knew would be well out of our budget
and well under the budget. This gave me an idea of what the "average" could be. I also made a list of what was my musts. I knew I wanted good food , a great photographer and a particular cake.
Â We finally came to terms with 16,000 , for 100 , and a 300 + Bar-B-Que the next day. I still look at it and think "WowÂ , thats alot of money" but it pays for what we wanted.Â
There are some GREAT deals out there , and some not so great deals out there , I hope this helped , even alittle.Â
Post # 5
I don’t think there is any set guideline for anybody, especially not the engagement ring rules.
There are NO rules to budgets for anything. I only have a few recommendations. Spend whatever both of you feel comfortable with so long as it isn’t a hardship where it will greatly affect your situation and possibly strain your relationship.
Post # 6
I think that the two of you should sit down with any one who might contribute and find out what, if anything they are going to contribute – then determine how much you can afford to spend. Go with that total amount.
What I learned was, we said "Here’s what we can afford $XX" and everything had to fall in it. Did we go over a bit? Yes but not by much and it was only because we forgot (duh!) to add the tax and gratuity in for the reception hall.
Also, those "spend this on thie and that on that" charts were no help to me whatsoever. I spent a TON on my photography and not so much on my dress. A TON on my reception and next to nothing on flowers.
You have to figure out whats most important to you in your wedding – and go with the flow.
I know maybe none of this even helps….lol. Well I hope something helped even a tiny bit.
Post # 7
Your budget should be whatever you feel comfortable spending so long as you do not go into debt. That’s the golden rule. Do not go into debt for the wedding.
Post # 8
Before we really started looking at places for our wedding, we talked with both sets of parents and figured out what they could contribute. After we got that number, we looked at places and figured out how much we would have to contribute without going into debt to get what we want. It comes out to work out with my dad paying 50%, us paying 25% (or hopefully less), and his parents paying the other 25% (which includes the RD).
We live in a semi-metropolitan area (Philadelphia) and knew that we would have to spend since it was important to us to have the wedding right in the city. Since that was a major priority for us, we are spending more on the reception and trying to cut costs in other ways. My goal is to make our invitations, we’re going to use flowers that are in season, we are keeping the favors simple, etc. But I knew that my reception venue was the right place the second we walked in so I would do almost anything to have our wedding there. It will all work out in the end!
Post # 9
Baghdad Bride has some great advice. You know you’re spending too much if you are considering taking out a loan, applying for another credit card, or borrowing money from someone.
Post # 10
Thanks for all the advice! We definitely would not consider going into debt for a wedding; and my fiance would never allow that even if I suggested such a plan. We already have the money we’d be spending saved up, it’s just that when I think about spending such a large sum of money on one day it doesn’t seem practical to me! I grew up with a single mother who could barely afford to feed me and my younger brother, so blowing all this money on a "party" is not what I’m used to. We would be using money we already have saved, but then I think we might be smarter to spend it on other things like paying off our student loans, taking a longer or more lavish honeymoon, buying a bigger apartment, etc. It’s just such a large sum of money to me that it’s kind of like "sticker shock" and just wondering if other brides had the same experience. 🙂
Post # 11
I knew from day one that we had to sit down and figure out some kind of budget. i live in the San Francisco bay area, so things are pricey. First thing was first, who was going to pay what? That was tough because I haven’t asked my parents for anything for years, so I didn’t want to ask them for help. Luckily, my dad <span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-style: italic”>wanted to pay for the big chunk (venue, food, alcohol and hotel rooms) that in it of itself is around 20k. My mom is paying for all my wedding attire, DJ, Mariachis, flowers and photobooth which is around 7K. My Fiance and I are going to be putting in around 14K by the time the wedding comes around. So, as you can see its not cheap to have a wedding (and we aren’t doing anything crazy huge just around 150 people). What my Fiance and I did was sat down and created a Excel spread sheet and started making a list of all the things we knew we were going to pay for. We guestimated how much each thing would cost and once all that was added up we had a goal to save 14K by September. We broke it down to how much we put away each payday and so far we are on track. It’s really hard to look at the numbers, but you don’t want to start out your new life together in debt.
I hope this helps you get started in the right direction!
Post # 12
isnt it such a buzzkill how much weddings cost?? no matter if the budget is $10K or $1M – it never seems like enough…
definitely spend what you feel comfortable spending… how we divvied up the money was we decided our top 5 most important elements and went from there… food and beverage took up most of the wedding pie, with photography and honeymoon following in importance…
we try not to charge anything and are paying cash in monthly installments – which makes us happy and the vendors happy since theyre getting paid way ahead of time…
my best advice – dont go into debt or refinance your home (one of my gfs did this and she’s now 2 months behind!!) or over-extend yourself or anything like that for just one day – do what you feel is comfortable for your lifestyle but most of all – enjoy the process!
you dont want to be eating ramen and 99cent burgers so you can have a fab wedding ya know??
Post # 13
Wow… well, what my fiance and I did was just come up with a number. How much could we afford to spend before our wedding got here – without going into debt. Once we had the number, it was my job to make sure everything fit within our budget.
There are many ways to save – consider a weekday or Friday night wedding. Our venue, for example… the first time I looked at it, it was way too expensive, and they had huge guest & food/beverage minimums. (We’re having a small wedding) I looked at it again, about a month later and decided to call them. We’re having a Thursday afternoon wedding, and they took their price from $2000 to $900!!!
You also have to decide what is the most important to you. The things that are most important, you can spend more money on…
Post # 14
I didn’t have a fixed budget. I just had ideas of if I pay $xxxx, then it’s too much for the venue, $xxxx, then it’s too much for a dress, etc. I had my comfort zone for each type of vendor. If a vendor is really important to me, then that limit would be higher.
Granted, we are paying for the wedding ourselves, so we didn’t have to take into account any parents’ budget & wants 😛
I think we are doing pretty good so far I think it would come out to be way lower than the "regional average" — who knows how they come out with those numbers, maybe just to make you happy 😛
Post # 15
We figure out how much we were comfortable spending. Which is not to say how much we can afford – we could technically have spent more – but how much we felt was reasonable to spend on what at the heart is a party that basically lasts one night, even though it celebrates a momentous event. We knew that there were things we really had to have – photography was pretty important to us, and we knew the photographer we wanted, so we priced that out early. We also knew the venue we wanted – so the main thing remaining was how many people we could afford to invite. Both our venue and our photographer are good but not spectacular; our photographer does beautiful work that we love, but he doesn’t have a fancy website; our venue is our local country club, where we are members, and although there are fancier places in town they have no facility fee, and very good food at reasonable prices. We wanted to do something nice – definately dinner – for our reception, and so came up with a max guest list of about 50. At that point my parents stepped in – they wanted to invite about 70 more people – and offered to help financially.
I think that we did several pretty smart things. First, we started with a pretty good idea of what things should cost on average. Second, we figured out what was really important to us. Third, we then made the rest of our decisions within that framework. Our wedding is still relatively modest – at a budget of just over $10k – but nice. I don’t really think we ever had "sticker shock." And I realize it’s a little different in the big city, but we could have easily spent three times as much right where we live. It’s just that we would rather have a much smaller party, and a nicer honeymoon, or new kitchen cabinets, or put a down payment on a new car. Don’t feel like you have to spend some amount of money that feels out of hand to you just because other people spend that much. If you think something seems way to expensive, look around for a less expensive option. And this website is great for comparing cost of different things – venues, flowers, catering – to give you an idea of what might be reasonable, or possible.
Post # 16
Budget was the first thing we addressed. We already have mortgage payments so we had to budget carefully so we could still afford our home!
Needless to say, our whole wedding is costing around $5,000. But our venue (my cousins lake house – free use), my dress (grandparents bought it), our cake (grandparents again), and our honeymoon (staying at cousin’s lake house) were all gifts to us. We are paying for everything else.
I probably won’t even end up spending $5,000. But I feel good knowing I have $5,000 set aside in case I need it.