When planning a wedding, there are many important decisions that need to be made.
One of the most important is the size of the guest list, because the reception and catering is your largest wedding day expense.
Developing a sensible wedding budget for any size wedding is not rocket science, but you need to start by knowing your numbers.
Here is a basic formula you can use to get started.
The first step is to calculate how much money you actually have in hand to start with, from all sources. Never base your decisions how much you think you’ll have, only what you know you actually have.
The most common sources are your savings and your parents. Let’s say you come up with a total of $20,000 between all your sources.
The next step is to figure an allowable cost per guest. To start, use $100 per guest. That’s a reasonable number to use if you’re getting married in this area.
Plan to spend about half ($50) of your allowable cost per guest on the reception and catering, the other half ($50) toward everything else.
Multiply that by the number of guests you plan to invite, and you’ll have a rough idea of the total amount of money you’ll need. Using the figures above, you should be planning for 200 people.
If your guest list total is 250, the formula would indicate you’ve got a $5000 hole to fill. You may or may not – but at least you’ll know before you start signing contracts.
On the other end, if you’re only planning on having ten guests, you may be hard-pressed to stay within that small a budget. But for the average wedding, the basic formula is a good place to start.
Wedding budgets are not set in stone. But creating a sensible wedding budget starts by knowing and understanding your numbers. If you have only so much money to work with, you will need to adjust the way you spend it accordingly.
If you are looking to get an idea of what other couples are spending for a wedding in your area, feel free to use our Wedding Cost Estimator to compare costs:
Once you have decided on the size of your wedding that comfortably falls within your budget, comes the fun part – seeing how much you can save on all your wedding expenses.
Get advice from the vendors you choose to work with. Tapping into their expertise and contacts will save you money.
Do some online research. You’ll find tons of great money-saving tips and do-it-yourself ideas that will help. Pick and choose ideas that fit your time and talents.
By applying and sticking to a sensible wedding budget based your actual numbers, you might be surprised by the money you save.