Let me first preface this blog by saying, “I’m a little bit of a nerd”... I like creating budgets. I makes me happy to know were my money is going. Sadly I’m not as good at sticking to them as I am at making them... My hope is that no matter if you are a spender or a saver this blog will help you as you plan your special day.
Let’s start off with why. Why is it important to set a wedding budget?...
I see two main reason...
1. Have The Day You Want.
I’m sure you have very specific dreams and expectations in mind when it comes to your wedding. You know the flowers you desire. You know the type of venue you fancy. And you have your dream dress decided in your mind. One thing you may not have thought about is how much your dream wedding will cost... That’s why a budget is so important. It’s not saying no to your dream wedding. It’s actually the path to get there.
Think of it like this. You don’t want to spend to much on one aspect. then run out of money for something you really want. Let’s say you find a really great cake. You’ve sampled it and it tastes even better than it looks. Then you find out that it costs $7,000! If your budget 50,000 this may not be a problem, but if your budget is like the one my wife and I had it’s just not gonna work... You may end up with a beautiful cake, but no venue or dress.
Many people think that a budget is just a tight wads tool to crush dreams, but it can easily be the exact opposite! When planned out well, a budget can help you decide what’s really important on your wedding day and what’s not.
2. Have The Life You Want.
As amazing as your wedding day will be it only accounts for 1 out of the 27,375 days of a average persons lifespan. That’s less than 1% of your life. That’s pretty crazy right!? That’s not to say your wedding is not important. I LOVE WEDDINGS! That’s why I do what I do! But I love happy marriages more than even the most amazing wedding.
The leading cause of divorce in America is caused money related issues. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to get on the same page with finances right from the get go. Creating a wedding budget is a great way to start a healthy conversation on the topic. It’s a perfect opportunity to begin to practice something you will likely be doing for the rest of your life.
As much as I wish this were not true much of our life is built around the health of our finances or lack there of. Where you live, where you work, where you send your kids to school, even what cereal you buy at the grocery store are decisions based on money. If your marriage is going to be surrounded by these and many more financial decisions it’s important that you start it on the same page.
So how do you go about creating a wedding budget? I’ll be honest when Debby and I got married I hadn’t the slightest clue. (I wasn’t as big of a nerd back then I guess...) Here’s a few tips I’ve learned since then. They should help you start of better than I did.
1. Know What’s Important To You.
Like I mentioned in the beginning you may have some very specific dreams and expectations for your wedding day. Write them down. Share them with your significant other and hear what He/She has to say. Now there’s a trick to this. You have to be open. Chances are what “Wifey’s” values may not line up with “Hubby’s” wants. In fact, some may be the exact opposite... But isn’t that what marriage is all about? After all opposites do attract.
During this exercise it’s not as important to decide everything you’re doing for your wedding as it is to hear each other out. Listen to why he or she values these things. You may actually find yourself understanding and loving each other a little bit more in the process.
After you have heard each others lists it’s time to pick your top three. I’m sure both of you will find you have a few non-negotiable’s. Write these at the top of the list. Maybe it’s a gorgeous dress. Maybe it’s a awesome DJ. No matter what they are those six non-negotiable’s you choose together are your list. You know that if you can manage to go all out on these six elements that you will have a great wedding.
2. Be Flexible.
A budget can often be thought of as something ridged and unmoving. That’s not the case. Think of a budget more as a living thing. It moves as you move. That’s not to say you just disregard it and spend whatever you want leaving your budget to play catch up. That just won’t work out to well. You just need to stay flexible and realize that sometimes things are going to cost more than you thought. All that means is that something else has to cost a little less.
A ridged budget is a great way to start fights. I remember when I first started budgeting. I was so black and white. I either stuck to my budget or disregarded it completely. This inconsistency led to very tense conversations around the dinner table. You don’t want that. Trust me...
As long as you remain flexible and keep an open mind you will do great.
3. Stick To It
One of the most important things about a budget is YOU. You have to stick to it.
I mean this in two ways. Obviously you need to stick to what you’ve written down. If you have $6,500 budgeted for a venue you better stick to that. No matter how beautiful that resort in Jamaica may be it’s not worth loosing out on all the other things you have planned for your day.
Aside from that I also mean stick to it in that you continue to try even if your budget is a little off. I personally don’t believe in a perfect budget. Every person will have their own wants and needs. Many times your wants and needs may even change midway through, and that’s ok. It’s ok to adjust your budget. Your first, second, third, forth, and maybe even fifth or sixth draft won’t be perfect. That’s ok. All that really matters here is that you are making a plan and in doing so you are setting yourself up for a gorgeous wedding and a beautiful and blessed life.
Now I know that’s a lot to take in. Budgets are not always easy. That’s why I created my own budget sheet that you can download. This simple and easy budget form is based off of my research on countless wedding blogs and talks with wedding planners. It includes the suggested percentages for weddings already programmed in. All you have to do is set your maximum budget and it will tell you how much you can spend in each category. Now since I know that not all weddings are the same. I’ve also included a section for you to input your own wedding budget and compare it to our suggestions.
Budgets aren’t always fun and they’re definitely not always easy, but they are a part of life. If you can start of marriage with the same mindset in regards to money you will be starting way ahead of so many other couples. I sincerely hope the included wedding budget will help you and you fiancé find success and financial freedom in your marriage.