Wedding planning can be overwhelming, but knowing these wedding budget basics can help you get to the big day—without going into debt or resorting to selling your internal organs.
You’ve got the ring and you’ve been floating on Cloud 9 for two weeks. Then the big question hits you: How are we going to pay for all of this? While planning a wedding can be seriously stress-inducing, realizing the fact that you need to pay for all of it is enough to cause a nuclear meltdown for the average couple. Going through these wedding budget basics one-at-a-time is, therefore, necessary if you want to avoid an all-out Armageddon.
During the exclusive #TopKnottersChat last November 16, Summer Reyes Carullo of VRC Creative gave our Twitter followers professional (and free!) money-related advice. Read on for the second part of our recap, solely devoted to the wedding budget basics you need to know.
Wedding Budget Basics: 4 Questions You Need to Ask
1. When, Where, and How Many?
Your budget is primarily determined by three things: the number of guests, the date, and venue of the wedding. The number of guests you plan on inviting is crucial since the caterer will be charging you per head and more guests mean a bigger venue is required. Many couples put off writing the guest list until the last moment but this is especially important and is considered one of the wedding budget basics, especially for those who move in larger social circles.
Secondly, where you choose to have your wedding is an important factor in determining your wedding budget. If you’re getting hitched in Boracay or Bali, no matter how good you are at penny-pinching, it’s bound to be more expensive than getting married in Manila.
Similarly, the date should be taken account. If you’re planning to get married on your third year anniversary as a couple, prepare to pay higher if that date falls during wedding peak season in the Philippines (December to January). But here’s a silver lining: when you book suppliers in advance, you can usually get their current rates even if you’re availing their service at a much later time.
2. How much are you willing to spend?
Taking into account the number of guests, the date, and the venue, draw up a ball-park figure of your wedding budget. Apart from the caterer, the church, and the reception venue rental, you’ll most likely need to assign digits to the following too: dress and tux, the rings, entourage, sound system, makeup, photo and video, coordinator, entertainment, transportation, flowers, and invitations. Add those numbers up on your calculator, take a deep breath (or a shot of tequila), and dare to look at that final figure without fainting. Are you still standing? Good.
Now divide that number further by the number of months you have left until the big day, then by two. If math confuses you (like it does us), here’s the formula:
That is the number you’ll need to save individually every month to pay off your wedding. Is it an amount you can handle while still eating three square meals a day? If your answer was “yes”, then you can go ahead and start booking all your dream suppliers. But if your answer was “no”, then you absolutely need to proceed to the next step.
3. What are your non-negotiables?
Rank which ones on the list you can afford to splurge on and which expenses you can tone down a little. The truth about these wedding budget basics is that there isn’t a cookie cutter for great weddings at a budget. Rather, priorities vary for every couple—some might not want to slash their guest list, while others might not mind doing so in exchange for better videography. You can read what other couples and pros have had to say regarding what to skimp on. Also, do some research on how to creatively trim your wedding budget.
Then adjust the amount for each item and do the math until it’s down to a number you can realistically live with. As one reader and previous bride puts it, “Don’t go into debt for a wedding!”
4. How can I keep saving?
Now that you’ve arrived at an amount you can live with, it never hurts to be on the lookout for more bargains, especially since some expenses can still come unexpectedly. While we advocate for respecting all your suppliers and valuing their work and their professional fees, there are still some wise spending habits that soon-to-wed couples can develop.
Consider attending bridal fairs like “Before I Do” to window-shop for suppliers—vendors usually offer to give discounted rates at such events. They can also customize a package for your budget i.e., do away with the album if you’re a little cash-strapped.
There are many other little ways to keep saving! Create a playlist in lieu of hiring a band or string quartet. Get your friends to help you DIY on small items. For destination weddings, try looking for local suppliers who can do the job to save on out-of-town fees. The possibilities are endless. But always keep in mind these wedding budget basics so you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture!
In the end, it’s all up to you as a couple to decide how you will plan for your expenses. But we hope that being armed with the knowledge of these wedding budget basics will help you make decisions that you can truly be happy with as a couple—til death do you part. We bid you lots of luck and success (especially during your money dance)!
Thanks to Summer for being our gracious guest during the #TopKnottersChat. VRC Creative does planning and coordinating for weddings as well as social and corporate events. They are also the team behind the #BeforeIDoBridalFair at SM Megamall.