Creating A Budget For The Wedding Of Your Dreams

Creating A Budget For The Wedding Of Your Dreams

The average wedding in the United States costs around $25,000. Obviously, it generally costs more to get married in Honolulu than it does in Omaha, but weddings can be very expensive regardless of location. Wedding cost calculators online can help you get an estimate of average wedding costs where you live.

Creating a budget for your wedding is smart, because little costs add up to big money, and being prepared helps you keep spending in line with your budget. Creating a budget with a free app like Mint is a great way to budget for a fixed amount each month to go toward wedding expenses, or to add wedding-related line items to budget for. When creating a budget for your wedding, keep in mind that unanticipated costs can add 30% to your budget, so it pays to prepare for every eventuality.

Costs You Might Not Anticipate

Here are a few costs many couples forget to include when creating a budget for their wedding.

•Hidden fees in contracts - like cake cutting fees charged by caterers or venues. On average, expect around $1.50 per guest.

•Taxes - particularly sales taxes. Many wedding items are expensive to begin with, and sales taxes make these costs even higher.

•Room "dressing" at your venue - including linens, chairs, and lighting. Atmospheric lighting to highlight floral pieces and tables can easily add $1,000 to your costs.

•Service fees - charged by some private clubs. These are not distributed to tipped employees, so you need to consider the cost of gratuities as well.

•Tips - you may be dealing with several workers expecting gratuities on your wedding day. Consider tips for drivers, bell hops, and other hotel and venue workers.

•Outdoor wedding costs - such as marquee tents. The canopies themselves are not that expensive, but flooring can make costs go up considerably. Other extras like power generators and permits add up as well.

While some fees can be negotiated, many couples choose to hire a wedding consultant with a good track record. These people can sometimes negotiate costs down enough to make their fees worthwhile, and of course, they can save you considerable time in planning.

Start now: Creating a budget with Mint can help you plan effectively for your wedding. Click to get started.

Save on Wedding Costs

Here are a few tips for keeping spending in line when creating a budget for your wedding:

•Choose a less expensive date or time, like a weekday or Sunday. November and January are often less expensive times to hold a wedding due to less competition.

•Save on the bride's dress by searching online retailers and independent seamstresses on sites like Etsy. You can also rent wedding gowns, or repurpose a bridesmaid's dress in a cream or white color.

•Consider a playlist and sound system as an alternative to hiring a DJ. You'll have complete control over the music and can choose your favorites. Check if your venue has a sound system you can use or rent.

•Stick to beer and wine so as to keep guests happy and keep reception costs down.

Save on Food

Food is one of the biggest wedding expenses, but you can satisfy guests without overspending. Creating a budget specifically for wedding food can help you rein in costs without sacrificing fun. Here are a few ideas for food savings:

•Instead of a wedding repast, have a traditional afternoon tea with champagne

•Have a dessert reception instead of a meal, and include wedding cake, perhaps a sundae bar, petit fours and other pastries.

•Consider a morning wedding followed by brunch. Brunch costs considerably less than a full dinner. A fruit bar and omelet station will keep guests filled up and keep costs down.

•Have a garden party with extensive appetizers and a signature drink rather than a full bar as another way to save on wedding food costs.

Prioritizing Is the Key

When creating a budget for your wedding, prioritizing is the key to making it work. You and your fiancé(e) should each make a list of what's most important for your wedding. Compare lists and see which things you both prioritize.

One way to come up with a priority list is to think back on weddings you have attended, and what you liked (or disliked) about them. Discuss with your partner how each item fits into your budget, and be prepared to compromise. For example, choosing not to have a "destination" wedding can free up money for the amazing floral arrangements you want.

Once you and your partner establish priorities, it's smart to carry a list of them with you when meeting with wedding vendors or your wedding consultant.

Weddings are expensive, but by creating a budget for your wedding well in advance, you can control spending without giving up what's most important to you and your future spouse.

Start now: Creating a budget with Mint can help you plan effectively for your wedding. Click to get started.