So you just got engaged. Although the first thing you might want to do is jump right into planning, whether that is buying a dress or picking a venue. You need to do one very important thing first. Have that dreaded money talk. I know I know that is NO fun and a gross way to start your wedding planning journey, but it has to be done.
Now you’re thinking “I know I have to make a budget but I’ve never gotten married before! I have no idea what kind of prices are reasonable for anything!” This is the time to do your research and gather some inspiration. Do you know you have expensive taste? Or are you more low key and laid back? I wish I could tell you a magic number to spend on your wedding but there just isn’t one. Just like every couple and marriage, every wedding is different. Not everyone is going to spend the “industry average” that is why it is an average.
First, think about what you and your fiancé want for your wedding but also keep in mind what is realistic. Discuss with each other and possibly your parents what you are going to contribute. And keep your bank account in mind! There is no reason to go into debt for a wedding!Once you come up with a number or even a range for your budget you can move onto the next step. And I know what you think it is. Plugging your budget into a website like the knot and letting it generate amounts that you should spend on each vendor given your budget. If you take one thing away from this blog it is to NOT do that! As I mentioned before EVERY WEDDING IS DIFFERENT! Just because Sally and Bill spent $3,000 on floral and decor does not mean that you have to or that you should.
The ACTUAL next step is to pick out THREE things that are the most important to you in regards to your wedding. Maybe it is the dress, maybe the food, or maybe hair and makeup! Whatever it is you prioritize your budget to those areas.
For example we will have two engaged couples. One will be Sally and Bill. And the other will be Hannah and Caleb. The dress is VERY important to Hannah she has to have a designer gown, Sally on the other hand is okay wearing anything as long as she looks good. This doesn’t mean that the dress is not important at all to Sally but instead of it being a 2 (when ranking it 1 to 10) it is more like a 6 on the level of importance. So does it seem right to tell both girls to spend $6,000 on a wedding gown? No not at all!
So sit down with your fiancé and each of you SEPARATELY rank from most important to least important the elements of your wedding (meaning the vendors and things you will be purchasing). THEN come together and discuss a budget for each item accordingly. But keep in mind what is realistic.
You can do the same thing if your parents are contributing to the wedding. Say they are paying for half of the wedding. This shouldn’t mean that they are making 50% of the decisions for the wedding. You can make the same list with them about what is important and they get to make 50% of the decision on that area. Maybe mom wants you to have huge gorgeous elaborate centerpieces. Let her have 50% of that decision because that is what is important to her. Maybe the entertainment isn’t as important to her, so she shouldn’t have as much if any opinion on this. Setting these clear boundaries from the beginning will help keep the peace later on. I know that sometimes it is easier said than done but just gently remind your parents that it is your wedding and while you are grateful for their contribution you want to make the final decisions with your fiancé.