Brides and Grooms I’ll be upfront with you and tell you what this blog post is not about. This post is not a regurgitation of what Wedding Wire or The Knot has reported on the average wedding budget. By now you have probably heard a good chunk of that information.
What I will remind you of is that their statistics are the national average and does not apply to you unless you see the numbers in your area.
So if this isn’t about explaining that information, what is this all about? So glad you asked. I want to outline what wedding budget denial looks like so you can avoid it. I would like to show you how to be realistic about your wedding budget in your location and where to start your journey. If you are hosting a DC Wedding a Miami Wedding, a LA Wedding, you will be able to take these simple steps to best determine your wedding budget.
Signs You’re In Wedding Budget Denial
Photo: Inno Nhara
Denial Sign #1
You think you’ll have enough money and decide to bypass creating a wedding plan. The first thing I recommend couples to do when they decide to move forward with wedding planning is to create a plan. It is not the job of the Wedding Planner to create your wedding plan or to come up with a theme or style. As a Wedding Planner our job is to execute your plan and bring all of your ideas to life.
I typically start all of my consultations off with one simple question. What is your wedding budget? Do you know why that is? When I first started wedding planning, I use to sit back and hear all of the wonderful ideas couples had about their wedding. I even reassured them that I would be able to do all of it.
Towards the end of the consultation I then asked about their wedding budget. If a couple told me their wedding budget was lower than what it would cost to execute their plan, I found myself explaining to them that they couldn’t have everything they have asked for. You want to know what happened then? Couples would then ask why did I confirm that I could do all these things. I gave them false hope because I didn’t set realistic expectation from the start.
The lesson from this is to find out how much money you will have to spend on your wedding. I mean actual money. Not money you think you’ll get from family or loans.
Denial Sign #2
You immediately start adding everyone to your wedding guest list. The number 1 thing I see most couples struggle with is their guest count. They feel pressured to invite everyone to avoid hurting feelings. Maybe you underestimate how much each guest will cost. Some would rather go into debit than to tell people NO.
After you have determined what your wedding will look and feel like, it’s then time to determine how many people will actually experience your wedding You as the couple have to understand the more people you have at your wedding the more it is going to cost. This one fact will never go away no matter what you do or who you hire. None of us can conjure up that type of magic.
Denial Sign #3
You believe your wedding budget will be enough to cover everything you want. When this does not happen you scream prices are too high or that people are charging more just because you’re having a wedding.
I’ll give you an easy breakdown for the average DC wedding. You can take this example and apply it to your location.
Typically the food and beverage for DC weddings and events cost about $175 per person. This does not include the tax and service fees. They can certainly go well past that and you can find some venues or catering companies that can beat that price. In using the $175 example, let’s say you are having a wedding for 125 people. For food and beverage only, you can estimate that you will pay $21,875.
If your wedding budget is $50,000 then you have no worries because you have a lot of room to either add guests or to enhance your design and customization. However, if you have a a budget of $25,000 then I recommend revisiting your guest count. Why? That is the easiest way to give yourself more money to work with so that you can afford your wedding gown, favors, hiring wedding vendors, etc.
Tip: You can find the average cost per person by asking hotels and catering companies in your area.
Denial Sign #4
Couples assume they know what the cost of flowers, linen, and rentals are and don’t want to pay a cent more. Did you know that 40% of couples underestimate the costs of weddings? I will say it is hard to determine what things costs. Take flowers as an example. The cost of wedding flowers are based on what type of flower, is it in season, and how hard is it to get that flower. If you are in the middle of winter and want peonies most likely you will have to have that flown in from another country and guess who’s paying that cost?
Now that you have your ideal flower type, you then have to understand what it costs to create that centerpiece. Most lush centerpieces will cost you anywhere between $300 and $500 for one. Are you just paying for the flowers? Short answer is no. Like any product you buy, you are paying for the cost to create/manufacture that item. Add on delivery and set up fees and you will see how a single centerpiece can start to add up.
This example can be applied to the cost of a wedding cake, a wrapped dance floor, a hanging installation, and other design ideas you might have.
Tip: If you are nearing the top of your budget, ask your vendors for ways to keep you within budget. Do you really need to have a high centerpiece for each table? Why not alternate between high and low? Do you need linen that is $100 each when there are plenty of other great options for $45 each?
Photo Candice Picard
Denial Sign #5
You rely heavily on Instagram and Pinterest. I’ll say this to anyone planning a wedding. Nothing is new these days. It’s all about how you reinvent what you see. Instagram and Pinterest are amazing sources of inspiration. They can also be sources of confusion as well.
What you see on these platforms tend to never come with a price point. Remember what I said in point #4 about flowers? Everything you see online tends to not come with an outline of what went into that and the cost itself.
Let’s use a hanging installation over your dance floor as an example. If you wanted something of this nature here’s what you can expect the cost to include:
Flowers or whatever the decor is
Equipment holding up the decor
People installing the decor (think hours)
Designing the installation
I urge you to use Instagram and Pinterest as sources of inspiration. Based on your budget, work with your Wedding Planner to see how they can give their own version of what inspired you.
This post is not to discourage anyone from having the wedding of their dreams. It is a way to help decrease your disappointment. This affects all wedding budgets as the rich and wealthy also run into issues with their budget just like someone on a $25,000 budget does. The goal is to be open minded, set clear expectations and be wiling to compromise.
Are you struggling with your wedding budget and need some guidance? Let us help you plan out what you want to see at your wedding. Click here to get in touch with us.