Updated: Nov 2, 2018
So many wedding blog articles talk about the first item on your wedding planning checklist being the creation of your wedding budget. However, very few of them talk about just how to do that. Well I will let you in on a secret, it's just like creating any other budget. First you have to breakdown what you want for your wedding day and how important those things are.
Just like creating your home budget, you look at the things you need versus the things you simply want. And you factor in the things that you might not need or want but have to do. Like inviting your mom's co-workers to your wedding. There will be many factors that add to cost.
So I will ask you like I ask all my couples..... What is the most important part of your wedding day? What do you want guest to remember? What do you want to experience on your wedding day?
The responses vary just as my couples do but the important part is that you begin thinking what you want for your Wedding Day. Do you want a grand wedding with lots of different treats and favors for your guest? Do you want a party experience with a full bar and lots of dancing all night? All these things will go into deciding what you want. Then make a list so you can begin to decide how important they are.
If the venue location is top priority then you will want to find a venue that gives you the most value for your budget. If catering is most important, then you will have to find a venue that will allow you to have outside caterers or a venue with good food. This slight shift in priority changes how you shop for other items on your list.
Assign a rank to each of the items on your list. Creating priority in what you want gives you a order to assign to your budget. Now that you know what you want and how important those things are, you can figure out what they cost. Wedding planners are a great source for determining vendor cost. You can also do a quick search via Google to find price ranges in your area.
A finished list would look something like this
Venue with garden space
Caterer that has lots of creative options
Photographer with fine art style
DJ with witty personality & variety of music
Decor like the wedding I saw on Instagram
Our Best friend as Officiant
A Baker that can do this cake I saw on Instagram
The Dress that is also on Instagram
Calligraphy on the invites, place cards and table numbers
Super cute accessories on Instagram
This list can get pretty long....
How important they are
Photographer with fine art style (to help create the lasting memories you will cherish forever)
Venue with garden space (to match the vision you have for your photography)
Decor like the wedding I saw on Instagram (to follow with the idea of a cohesive vision)
Caterer that has good pricing on per person cost (this change could be to accommodate more guest or because you overspend on #1-3)
The Dress that is also on Instagram (going back to creating your overall wedding day vision)
By the end you will notice somethings will slide off your list because of changes in priority.
Don't forget to factor in that every vendor will want to collect payments at different times. There may be large balances near your wedding day if you don't plan accordingly.
Determine fixed cost and when they occur. Factor in your variables like bills that might fluctuate based on use. Aisle Planner is actually a subscription that varies based on then number of active events I have. And factor in your one time cost that might be associated with an event. Then put it all together. Your contribution to the budget, fixed cost, variables and one time cost. There is your complete budget.