The simple most important thing you should do when you first start planning for a wedding is to discuss and set a budget.
Here are some steps to guide you:
- Discuss with your fiancé how much of your own funds you want to use, if you are going to ask your parents to help with the expenses, and if you are going to go into debt for some of the expenses.
- Draw a realistic guest list that includes the must have on the list and the optional on the list as well as if you should limit the plus-ones. If parents are pitching in, you should consider their contribution and their guest list in the budget. 10 to 20% of guests won’t attend especially if they are coming from abroad.
- Cut your budget by 10% to give you room for surprises to your budget. Typical Wedding budget percentages are:
- Ceremony: 3%
- Attire: 10%
- Flowers: 8%
- Entertainment: 8%
- Photography: 12%
- Stationery: 3%
- Wedding Rings: 3%
- Transportation: 2%
- Gifts: 3%
- Reception 48%
- Use a spreadsheet such as Excel to set up a spreadsheet with the different categories and three columns that include an estimated amount, a modified amount, and the actual amount. Use the above percentages as a guide to allocate your funds. Adjust your numbers after calling vendors and obtaining proposals or according to your priorities.
- Book venue first as this is the largest portion of your budget and it will help you lock your guest count. Book the caterer second as this is also part of the reception costs (might be included in the venue). Book your photographer next as you need at least six months ahead and sometimes as much as one year ahead to be able to book them.
- Don’t forget to change your budget as needed!