We all know money doesn’t grow on trees and most brides are aware that the average wedding in the US is typically a little over $30k ($33,391 to be exact). Very few brides know how much should be allocated to each and every aspect of the big day. To be honest, there’s no perfect formula and it varies. For example, the old approach for your floral budget was about 10% of your total budget but this is just a rough guideline to start with. You ultimately have to figure out what matters most which is why I recommend the following approach:
Rank the vendors in order of importance to the two of you. For me this went like this (1. Venues 2. Flowers 3. Food & Bev 4. Photos….) Because flowers were important to me, we spent a higher proportion of our budget on them. This came with an opportunity cost and meant I had to make choices in other areas to free up funds. For example, I eventually caved on Chiavari chairs to free up $500 extra to be spent elsewhere… probably flowers. We opted for a DJ instead of a band to save about $2,500.
Determine what is a must have for each of your items and what is important. For us we had to create a fun environment but it didn’t have to be too formal. This allowed us to go with a buffet style menu from Fox Bros BBQ and collect a variety of silverware, napkins, in different prints and colors rather than requiring fancy silverware and linen rentals.
Figure out how much your willing to handle yourself and what you are comfortable delegating to friends and family. Be conservative and cautious not to take on too much but keep in mind, the more you do yourself, the more money you’ll save. It’s up to you to figure out what level of savings is worth the extra stress.
Once you’ve done this, do a little research on the typical wedding budget allocation and adjust based on your priority list. Nail down your top 3 vendors being cautious to ensure you have a thorough understand of the total cost for each vendor. For example, many venues will offer low prices for venue rental but they insist that you go through them for alcohol, food, flowers and more. In some cases you end up paying more for less. For me this was a deal breaker. I only looked at venues that allowed me to bring my own vendors and I estimate we saved more than 30% on our total wedding cost by doing this.
Soon I’ll write on floral budgets specifically and tips and tricks for saving money.