Budgeting, this may as well be a four letter word. One of the first things a newly engaged couple should do is learn how they should be starting a wedding budget. There are so many things to think about when it comes to a wedding budget and it is pretty intimidating to figure out where exactly to begin. Once you have a final number for your budget you can begin putting an amount of the budget into each area.
If you are looking for a comprehensive wedding budget to use, try these Wedding Budget Spreadsheets. You can customize these to git any category you need and they come in some awesome colors (the purple is my favorite!). Same of my categories are Attire, Venue, Rentals, Gifts, Tips (more in this in a bit), and Back-up Plan aka rain.
When you have your budget planner and a total number ready to go, start researching! There are several websites out there to help with this, WeddingWire has been my favorite but The Knot is a big help as well. These sites let you search by type of vendor, price and state. It is also a big help to read each review to see other customer experiences. Once you start to figure out average prices in your area, keep track of the quotes from each company.
As you begin to go through each vendor you will need, decide what your big items will be. For my wedding I knew I would spend a little extra on photography and videography because it was most important to me. For other brides it may be their dress or flowers, each bride wants something different from their wedding day, and now is the best time to figure out what you want the most. Talk with your Fiancé about what is important to the both of you, and move on from there.
If you are able to, start seeking advice for vendors from any friends that have recently been married, anyone in the industry, or anyone that could assist with things you need. This could be a big impact once you realize all of the people you actually know. This can also be helpful in deciding if you want to substitute anything. For example, if you know someone that is a really good baker but not a wonderful cake decorator, have a cookie or cupcake bar instead of serving cake. Then have a cake decorator make a small cake for you and the groom to cut.
When making your budget be sure to leave a little cushion for everything, something can always come up and that extra money will be helpful. In the end if you don't need it you will have it leftover and still be thankful you counted that into your original budget. Tips are almost always not included in a final vendor price, so be sure you count for that as well. The chart below is a good way to figure out the tip you should give to each vendor. Be sure someone is assigned the task of handing these out during the wedding.
When you are starting to narrow down items on your budget, keep in mind the season of your wedding. If your wedding is in the summer, will you need a tent? What about heaters for a winter wedding? These are things that often slip through the cracks because all you can think about are the dream weddings from Pinterest. Luckily, some places you can get everything as a package deal.
I like to keep a running list of questions that come into my head about all things wedding, but especially budget. Every night I Google, Pinterest or ask someone each of my questions and keep note of the answers. This could be something as simple as do I tip each server separately or give the money to one person for them to hand out, or something larger like who will pay for the Bridesmaids to have their hair done? Keeping note of each question will make things easier for everyone in the end.
If you come up with any questions along the way, feel free to ask!