Your budget is one of the first steps when it comes to wedding planning, and we definitely recommend setting it up before you start booking anything for the celebration. While we love the idea of being able to execute the wedding of our dreams without having to worry about bills, unfortunately, this may not be the case for many couples. To avoid unnecessary squabbles and headaches later in the journey, it’s best to create a practical wedding budget right at the very beginning, and then try your best to stick to it throughout the process.
Steps to creating a wedding budget:
1. Talk to each other
Start by discussing about your ideal wedding with each other. Talk about how you would like it to be, if you have a dream venue, what kind of theme do you want and so on. Another important thing to also discuss about is the size of the wedding. The number of guests will impact your expenditures greatly, so while you don’t have to come up with an actual guest list right now, it’s a good idea to have an estimate of the headcount.
2. Set a priority list
The next step is to write down the top three priorities that each of you have for the wedding. For example, one of you might care more about great music, a beautiful venue and gorgeous photos. Your partner, on the other hand, may want to focus more on videography, entertainment and good food. Once you have each other’s priorities noted down, you can then come up with a way to meld them together and achieve a cohesive theme. Going down the road, these top items will be the segments of the wedding that you may be willing to splurge a little more on, and you can adjust the spendings on other segments accordingly.
Before you start crunching numbers, send out inquiries to different vendors first. This will give you an idea of the current market price for each section of your wedding. If you haven’t been involved in planning a wedding for the past couple of years, the costs of certain items may surprise you, especially when it comes to hidden costs that you may not be aware of. In order to come up with a practical budget, we suggest doing adequate research to get a good idea of pricing, and then figure out the amount that you’ll need for your big day.
4. Who is paying?
Now that you have a ballpark number, you can then talk about who will be contributing to the wedding funds. If your family members are planning to help you out, this will be the time to have the discussion with them about the amount that they can commit to. These discussions are best held separately, so that your respective families will not be pressured to match each other’s contributions. Some family members may prefer to foot the bill for certain segments of the wedding, such as the flowers, your cake and so on, instead of giving an actual amount. If that is the case, do remember to ask if there is a limit to how much they are willing to fork out for each of these items, or include them in consultations with those specific vendors so they are informed of the pricing.
5. Set up your wedding budget spreadsheet (download wedding budget sheet here)
The numbers are in, you have the available funds noted down, now you can create your wedding budget spreadsheet. Below are the steps to setting it up:
- Write down your total budget at the top. This is the estimated amount that you are planning to spend for your wedding. Putting the figure at the top of the sheet makes it easier for you to stay grounded, especially when it comes to budgeting for more extravagant items in the wedding.
- Create a column called Wedding Expenditures, and under this column, list down each section of your wedding expenses (e.g. reception venue, centrepieces, invitations etc.)
- To the right of this column, write down the estimated budget for each of the sections. To help you out, here is a breakdown by The Knot on fund allocations:
- Reception: 48 – 50%
- Ceremony: 2 – 3%
- Attire: 8 – 10%
- Flowers: 8 – 10%
- Entertainment / music: 8 – 10%
- Photography / videography: 10 – 12%
- Stationery: 2 – 3%
- Wedding rings: 2 – 3%
- Transportation / parking: 2 – 3%
- Gifts: 2 – 3%
- Miscellaneous: 8%
Remember that these allocations are not set in stone, you can adjust the numbers based on your wedding priorities. The divisions are just a guideline so you don’t go overboard with your spendings, so as long as the total amount doesn’t stray too far from the original, you should be good.
- Next, create a column for the actual cost of each section. This will be filled up when you obtain quotes from vendors and decide on which one you will book for your wedding.
- After the actual cost column, set up the remaining columns: Deposit amount, deposit due date, instalment amount, instalment due date, balance amount, balance due date, and payment details. These information should all be gathered either before or right after you book with your desired vendors, so all the numbers will be organised for easy reference further down the road. In payment details, you can jot down the methods of payment acceptable by each vendor, so that you will have the appropriate funds ready when the fees are due.
Once the spreadsheet is done, remember to constantly update it whenever you obtain new information from your vendors. Some vendors may incur a penalty if you fail to submit payment on time, to avoid these unnecessary expenditures, don’t forget to keep a strict watch on the dates or set reminders to ensure nothing is missed.