A budget is the first place you should start when you start planning a wedding. It can determine your date, your guest count, your vendors, and what you have to scrap in order to save.
According to USA Today, the average cost of a wedding in North Carolina is $20,950. With NC ranking 8th in the number of weddings per year/per population. The average dress alone cost $1,168 according to 2017 statistics.
While this is simply the average, setting a budget can help you if you are trying to save money and it can keep you from spending too much. This post will help you understand how a budget works, and how you can start planning a budget before you go to your first wedding show.
1. Set a number with everyone involved.
Sit down with your family and determine who will pay what amount. Without this ball park range, you will not be able to go forward with anything you have planned. There are budget calculators on websites such as The Knot that can help you calculate and save.
2. Make a list of services and vendors.
Make a list of vendors that you dream of having at your wedding. Most venues outside of a church, park, or relative's back yard range anywhere from $2,500-$20,000. The venues that cost the least, provide the least amount of services. The more a venue costs, more than likely it includes catering, decor, and service. Average photographers that I work with range anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Catering can be anywhere from $15 per person to $100 per person depending on the services offered and included in the price! List as many vendors as you can on the first draft of your budget. There will be costs that pop up along the way, so leave room for wiggling. You can see more averages here.
3. Create a guest list.
Sit down at your computer and list everyone you intend to invite to your wedding. Guest count determines 80% of your wedding budget. If you plan on having a 300 person wedding, it will be a challenge to do so under $25,000. The things that are determined by person include (but are not limited to): Venue size, food, appetizers, dessert, alcohol, china, silverware, chair rentals, other decor, invitations, favors, and the list goes on... Guest count can add to your total number, so if you want to save yourself $100, remember that every guest counts.
4. TRY to stay off Pinterest.
Pinterest is a great resource for creating a color palate and showing ideas to your vendors, but Pinterest can cause false hopes and unrealistic expectations. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest. But thinking Aunt Sally will have time to DIY your wedding bouquet (or will even want to) is a bit unrealistic. Aunt Sally wants to enjoy your big day, so let her. This can also cause you to go overboard on your budget. So try to create a mood board, or go on when you really need it.
I hope these tips will help you in setting your budget for your big day and you can celebrate in style when it is all said and done!