Many of you are very excited. Maybe even flying around like Peter Pan. You are engaged. Awesome! Now what? Planning for your wedding can often be your first real test as a couple. It can really be an insight to your partner you may have issues with or you may be thankful for. In many cases, from my past experiences, I think most guys will simply say "yes dear". This I will tell you can be a smart tactic for you gentleman... after you get married. In order to help you all stay sane and happy, I have provided a pretty practical budgeting guideline below to help you figure out how much you should be setting aside for each of your vendors while you plan your wedding.
As of a most recent statistic I read, the average wedding cost is approximately $30,000. That's nothing to sneeze at. Traditionally, the bride's parents pay a huge chunk of this, while the groom's parents pay for the rehearsal dinner. Honestly, I can't remember my last couple who were able to confirm this still happens. More commonly, everyone is chipping in anywhere they can. First things first, you are getting married. This will be a great time to set up the joint checking account, assuming you decide to do this. At least set up one that will be used to pay for your wedding. An account that if empty cannot be spent. It will keep you on budget, and help you avoid using credit cards; please don't do that! If you have to pay for your wedding with a credit card, you may want to rethink getting married in my opinion. YOU DO NOT WANT TO START YOUR RELATIONSHIP IN DEBT!
The budget: Let's use the $30,000 figure as an average, again. Your budget will differ but this is a good starting point. Note the ways to save listed after each budget!
The Reception: 45-50% $13,500- $15,000 - be very selective on who is invited.
Attire: 8-10% $2,400 to $3,000 - shop online with places like SimplyBridal.com.
Flowers: 8-10% $2,400 to $3,000 - do the flowers yourself, Costco, but please don't go fake flowers for the bouquet.
Photography: 10% $3,000 - perhaps do your wedding album later or keep it to one photographer.
Videographer: 5-7% - $1,500 to $2,100 - if you choose to have a videographer at all, do not skimp here! If you don't have one, you just saved $2,000. Also consider wedit.com if you absolutely want to spend less than $500 here. Bad videographers will be killed by your photographer. :) Be very selective and get your photographer's input if possible.
The Rings: At least 5%. $1,500 - I will have to say the recent trend has been to spend about $200 total on the rings. How? It's called CZ and Carbon Fiber or Tungsten.
DJ/MC/Live Band: 10% $3,000 - including uplights (which may not be included with your venue), wireless mic, dance floor lighting, etc. - I beg you don't spend a penny less than $1200-$1500 here. A $500 DJ will destroy your memories of your wedding regardless of what your photographer captured. Your MC is your guests real memory.
Hair and make-up: 1% $300 - Please be careful here. You can save a bunch often, but your photographer will end up doing a lot of extra photoshop work if your make-up is not spot on.
Now if you notice, I just about hit 100% and I have not included the invites. It should not be much more than 3% of you budget overall. E-vites are all the rage as of late as I understand. How about gratuity? I will cover this in another posting here on our blog.
Also consider setting aside about 3% for the "oh crap I forgot about that" budget. Things like gifts for your wedding party or maybe your transportation etc. Again, these are guidelines and should be used as such. The things that are more important to you should take up the higher ends of the percentages thereby allowing you either flexibility or just money back in your pocket for your honeymoon.