You can plan the wedding of your dreams, even if you don’t have unlimited funds (most of us don’t), but you have to decide what is most important to you and your honey. Is it a 5 star menu or a certain reception site? Maybe the season or even the music? Flowers and photography?
What you need to do first is create a list, and put it in prioritized order. This will lay the groundwork for every single decision you will have to make about your wedding. Refer to this list to determine how your budget is structured and what shape your wedding will take. If you concentrate on your top priorities, the rest of your wedding planning will fall into place.
This is what Big-Wedding-Tiny-Budget calls a Sane and Sweet Step in the Cheap Wedding Planning Process. It will keep you both Sane – (NO! DON’T JUMP!) – and you Sweet!
WEDDING PLANNING PRIORITIES:
(Don’t forget to let your fiancé pick one or two. OK – Just one)
- Number of Guests
- Ceremony Site
- Reception Site
- Time of Day
- Formal, Semi-formal, Informal
- The Dress
- Beverages: Full Bar versus partial or none
- Food/Catering: Lunch, Brunch, Cocktails, Hors d’œuvres, Dinner, Desserts
- Other (you fill it in!)
Prioritize the list, and then highlight the top five. So far so good! You will now refer to your Wedding Budget Guideline and figure out how much money will be allowed for each priority. Although every wedding is different, below you will find the average percentages normally spent on each category.
- Ceremony – 2% (Location Fee, Officiant, Accessorites/Lagniapp)
- Reception – 48% (Location Fee, Rentals, Food, Wait Staff and Gratuity, Beverages, Bar Service and Gratuity, Cake and Cutting Fee)
- Bride’s Attire – 10% –(Wedding Dress, Veil, Shoes, Undergarment)
- Photography/Videography – 10%
- Music – 10%
- Flowers – 10%
- Invitations – 4%
- Lagniappe (Miscellaneous) – 6% – Transportation, valet, thank you stationary, etc.
Do some research online or using your phone book to get an idea of what things cost in your area. Then you’ll be able to realistically allocate your available money toward each category.
The great thing about your budget is that you can continually adjust your money allocation as you save money along the way. To do this, take a look at big-wedding-tiny-budget‘s website for more money saving tips. For example, let’s say your budget is $5,000 so you have allocated 10% ($500) on your dream wedding dress. Well as luck would have it, you found your dream dress at a sample sale for $200… Voila! Now you have $300 to allocate somewhere else in your budget.
Luckily, planning your big wedding on a tiny budget does not mean you have to sacrifice your taste and personal style. With some thoughtful planning and attention to saving money, you’re on your way to a gorgeous affair that with memories to last a lifetime!
See Wedding Planning Priorites: Part 2: Should it really be a priority?