Preparing to Set a Realistic Wedding Budget

Hello Lovelies! 

I could not be more excited to kick off a fun series here on The Budget Savvy Bride! One thing I’ve been wanting to include more of is advice from wedding pros who “get it.” I was so thrilled to connect with Dee Gaubert of No Worries Event Planning. Not only is she genuinely super nice, but she’s also incredibly savvy and smart. Even the name of her business speaks to my heart — don’t you want to have “no worries” about your big day? Dee will be popping in on a monthly basis to share some insight and advice with all of you! Hope you enjoy this series, please be sure to give Dee a warm budget savvy bride welcome!

xoxo, Jessica

As a wedding planner, I find there are two numbers my clients are working with in regards to a wedding budget: The amount of money they are comfortable spending, and the amount of money the wedding they want would actually cost. The majority of the time, couples that I work with lowball their budget significantly at first because what they envision for their wedding day simply costs more than what they want to spend.

As hard as it seems, getting to know true costs of a wedding is actually a freeing and powerful process.  As a consumer, it’s so important to arm yourself with knowledge so you can develop a realistic wedding budget that allows you to have what you want (within reason) at a price you can afford. Here’s how:

Do your research.

Collect pricing information and proposals from vendors and venues you are interested in. Creating proposals takes a significant amount of time for wedding professionals, so be open and honest with them that you are in a ‘fact finding’ part of your planning process, so that they understand the proposal is sent in a speculative context.

Pay attention to special requirements – and amenities – of venues.

For example, that rustic barn venue you love may require you to bring in everything, including kitchen equipment and seating; whereas another location may cost more to rent, but if it already has an industrial kitchen, tables, and chairs, you may actually save money.  The photo below, by True Photography Weddings, features a venue, Calamigos Ranch, in my home base of Los Angeles that, like a hotel ballroom, already has tables, linens, and chairs in-house, but has the rustic, unique look many couples seek.

TruePhotographyWeddings Calamigos Malibu

Favors from friends can help!

For example, if you have a musically inclined friend, they may be honored to play your ceremony and cocktail music, saving on that cost and bringing a personal element to the occasion. If the favor requires significant technical skill – such as photography or florals – it’s wise to choose a friend who is a bona fide pro to provide the services.

I’ve been a bride myself, and I know the stress of developing a wedding budget firsthand. I also know that what really matters are the moments: Hugging a relative you haven’t seen in years, sharing heartfelt vows with your fiancé, and dancing the night away with your closest friends. If you can’t afford the priciest peonies or the highest-end hotel, you can still have the most magical night of your life, and a solid, thoughtful budget will allow you to do that without losing your mind – or your shirt! Follow these tips to get yourself started and you’ll definitely be on the right track.

Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here

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