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Well it is time for the big B….budget setting….but, do not be scared, it is true you wish being saying “I do” instead of creating your big day budget…but believe me, it is one of the most important steps on the planning process..and it should be done before starting planning one of the biggest and more expensive events in you life.

Setting a wedding budget is a very personal decision made by you and your fiancée together; it would be definitely influenced by cultural and religious aspects of your life…of course family expectations and traditions will also be an important part of the decision making process.

Before assigning each wedding category a percentage of the budget there are some general aspects worth considering creating a very realistic wedding budget:

  1. Your wedding style: how do you envision your big day? Is it a courthouse ceremony with a very small party following it or is it a ballroom and sit-down dinner for 300 guests? Defining your wedding style is the first thing to do before setting a budget because it will give you a very rough idea of how much you are willing to spend.
  2. Financing your wedding: It is crucial to think and decide where the money to fund the wedding will come from. Is it your savings as a couple? Maybe your parents’ support? What about friends and family contributions? Or are you willing to take on some debt so you can have your wedding dream?
  3. Prioritize: You and your fiancée need to think and define what would be your “must-have” wedding items; the “must-have” are those non-negotiable items that answer the question: “what is that wedding item located at the very top of your priority list?”. Having your top priorities defined helps you allot the right percentage of your budget to each category.
  4. Tracking your spending: once all the above is done it is recommended to do a final check to see if the budget breakdown zeroed out the cost of your dream wedding. WeddingPuzzle has developed a very useful tool…a detailed spreadsheet to help you not going over your budget and also to be ready for any unexpected costs, so please include in that tool any hidden costs (even gratuities).

Depending on each couple’s priority list, on average, the budget is divided as follow:

  • 50% Reception: includes venue, catering, bar and drinks, cake and cutting fees, site rentals (lines, chairs, lounges, etc) late night snack or after party meal.
  • 10% Music and entertainment: ceremony musicians and reception band or DJ.
  • 10% Dress and attire: engaged couple dress/attire, any alterations, accessories, and beauty (hair salon, nails, etc)
  • 10% Photo and video: photographer, videographer, albums, engagement shoot, etc.
  • 10% Flower/Décor: flowers, lighting, decoration rentals, etc.
  • 5% Ceremony: Location rental, officiant fee or donation, rings, marriage license.
  • 5% Stationary/guest details: invitations, save the date, postage, name cards, menu, favors, transportation, welcome bag, etc.

The main idea behind setting a budget is to know how much one of the most important events you will host in your life will cost and where the money would come from, and also to help you stick to it. However, there could be moments when you need to adjust it to not go over budget. Here there are some examples:

  1. Change the venue: compare costs between a venue that offers it all and one that needs to have many add-ons to make it look “wedding-beautiful”.
  2. Edit your guest list: the cost of each attendee could be really high; so consider editing your list to have the people that really mean something to you and your fiancée.
  3. Host it during a different time/season: usually having a wedding during summer time is more expensive than during winter time…also why not choose another day but a Saturday?
  4. Prolong your wedding engagement: many couples decide to have a longer engagement to help them save more money, and also because it makes it easier to negotiate with vendors when there is no rush.
  5. Host the ceremony and reception in the same place: which could save lots of money on transportation for the wedding party and guests.
  6. Live band vs DJ: although it would be nice to have a live band, we cannot forget that a DJ usually charges a lot less and everybody will be equally happy to celebrate with you.
  7. Write your own invitations: having calligraphy on your invites is a beautiful touch, but it is a nicer one if it is you the one addressing the invitations.
  8. Use fewer vendors: find out which vendors provide more than one service; for example: a DJ who also offers lighting services or a baker who also offers edible wedding favors. This way you would have to deal with less people, which equals less stress and saves money on set up and delivery costs.

The most difficult part is done…the big B is already taken care of…enjoy the rest of the planning process of your wedding day!

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