I started thinking about wedding budget breakdowns after watching the above video by Vox (love Vox, by the way) recently on the "wedding markup," which goes into the nitty gritty on why weddings are more expensive than other gatherings. A large part of this markup is the fact that it is a once in a lifetime event, which puts more pressure on vendors to provide top of the line services. However, this doesn't mean that you as the customer should expect to break the bank, and there are ways to become more savvy when it comes to researching your options!
At the end of the video, Vox recommends that you should always ask for a price range for a vendor's services even if they don't have those prices listed on their website before you consider them further. It seems like really obvious advice, but they point out that many vendors don't have their prices listed anywhere on their websites - you'll wind up perusing their work anyway, falling in love with their style, emailing off an inquiry and then finding that they are way out of your budget - wasting both your time and theirs.
The Wedding Budget Breakdown
Coming up with a reasonable budget before you even begin to seriously consider vendors and become enamored with their work is a great way to begin your research. The flowers, the food, the dress, the decor - all of these elements contribute to your wedding in their own ways, from keeping guests happy to beautifying the venue, but it's up to you to weigh their importance.
The Knot provides a great wedding budget 101 guide to get you started.
I love their simple but highly effective tip on choosing three priorities to allocate more money to, and then three that would be at the bottom of the list. It's not about "making do," it's about just sitting down for a moment and considering what services are truly important to you.
For instance, a good friend of mine is both a foodie, a musician and a visual artist - just as I expected, her wedding had an amazing live band, delicious food and gorgeous wedding invitations that she made by hand. As party favors, her dad offered his own strawberry wine.
Although The Knot does have their own wedding budget calculator, through my own research I discovered Cost of Wedding, an intuitive and informative website that provides an estimate on your wedding costs based on what you are purchasing, your location and the amount of anticipated guests. I like this website because it's extremely straight forward - in less than fifteen minutes you'll have the baseline numbers you need.
If you haven't worked on a wedding budget yet, I highly recommend utilizing those two resources! Budgeting is the most important aspect yet the least fun when it comes to planning a wedding, but these websites make it a simpler and pain free process.
Your wedding budget acts as a framework when researching vendors - if your top three priorities are live music, gorgeous fresh flowers and professional photography, you'll know that you can allocate more of your budget to those services.
On my website, I make my prices and services as transparent as possible on my contact page. I list my lowest package price so that potential clients know if I'm in their budget right off the bat.
Moreover, I like to offer payment plans for all my brides and grooms because I find that it makes things easier when it comes to budgeting.
Interested in working with me? Head on over to my wedding roadmap and get a feel for my personality and style.
And please leave a comment below if you found the two resources above helpful or have your own tips and tricks - I would love to hear them!