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The Art of Realistic Wedding Budgeting


black and white bride and groom portrait
Photo By: Kari Creative Photography

Let us first start off by saying, Congratulations! Being engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life as you prepare to celebrate the start of you and your partner's lives together. Planning a wedding can be so much fun as you pick the perfect aspects and aesthetics for a party all about the love the two of you share. Amidst the flurry of inspiration boards and Pinterest-perfect visions there's one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked: Budgeting. While it is definitely not the most glamorous part of wedding planning, being realistic about what you can comfortably afford is essential to avoid unnecessary stress and financial strain. Here's why setting realistic expectations for your wedding budget from the beginning is key, along with some tips to help you navigate the process with ease.


bride and groom portrait
Photo By: Lauren Crumpler Photography

Why Realistic Budgeting Matters:

  1. Financial Wellness: Let's be real, weddings are expensive. Being realistic about what you and your partner can comfortably afford is essential to avoid unnecessary stress and financial strain. Setting a realistic budget allows you to enjoy your special day without worrying about the financial repercussions afterward.

  2. Prioritization: Every couple has different priorities when it comes to their wedding day. Whether it be an epic dance floor, or amazing catering, by establishing a budget, you can identify what aspects of the wedding are most important to you and allocate your resources accordingly.

  3. Avoiding Disappointment: Being realistic with what you and your partner can afford is so important in avoiding disappointment during your wedding planning process, as well as day of. If you and your partner establish clearly how much you can afford for each vendor this will help in great lengths in the long run when it comes to planning and not overspending in one area that leads to cutbacks in another.

wide shote of wedding reception
Photo By: Lauren Crumpler photography

Tips for Setting a Realistic Budget:

  1. Know Your Limits: Take an honest look at your financial situation and determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on your wedding. Consider factors such as your income, savings, and any contributions from family members.

  2. Research Costs: This is a BIG one. Before diving into wedding planning, research the average costs of different wedding elements IN YOUR AREA. This will give you a better understanding of what to expect and help you set realistic expectations for your budget. We often see couples astounded by the price of things not fully understanding all the work vendors put into what they do, or everything that is needed logistically to make what they want happen. Having a realistic expectation can help avoid those jaw dropping moments when you get a quote from a vendor.

  3. Be Realistic When it Comes to Your Venue: So often, we see couples fall head over heels for a venue that is not realistically in their budget. If your total wedding budget is $30,000, a $15,000 venue is not realistic in the long run when still needing to hire catering, bartending, florals, rentals, hair and makeup and more. Make sure you also consider venue requirements such as full-service catering, a coordinator and other rules.

  4. Consider Your Guest Count: Your guest count can be a HUGE impact on your wedding expenses. The cost of a 100 person wedding versus a 300 person wedding are vastly different basing on catering costs, centerpieces, florals, bar service etc. Being realistic with your budget also means being realistic with your guest count. If you are planning a large 300-person wedding with a budget of $20,000 you may need to significantly cut back the invite list. Catering costs alone could easily exceed $10,000.

  5. Prioritize Your Must-Haves: Sit down with your partner and make a list of the elements that are non-negotiable for your wedding day. Whether it's a specific DJ, photographer, or catering package, prioritize the things that matter most to you and allocate a larger portion of your budget to these items.

  6. Be Flexible: While it's important to stick to your budget, it's also essential to be flexible and willing to make compromises along the way. If you're dreaming of a free-standing arch covered in florals or any other large installation, but your budget for flowers is only $2,000 you will need to compromise for something different. Keep an open mind and be prepared to explore alternative options if necessary to stay within your financial means.

  7. Factor in Hidden Costs: Don't forget to factor in "hidden costs" such as taxes, gratuities, delivery fees, and vendor fees when setting your budget. If you have a hard stop on your budget, factor in 5-10% of that for those hidden fees to avoid being caught off guard later on.

  8. Consider Cost-Saving Measures: Get creative and explore cost-saving measures to help stretch your budget further. For example, repurposing florals from ceremony to reception is a great way to be cost effective with your flower budget and make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

  9. Track Your Spending: Throughout the wedding planning process, keep track of your spending to ensure you're staying within your budget. Use a spreadsheet or budgeting app to monitor expenses and make adjustments as needed.

  10. Be Strategic: While planning your wedding be strategic when booking your vendors. Make sure you have all of your required vendors booked before you go too far into your wants. For example, make sure you have your planner, caterer, and photographer booked before going to crazy with your florals or decor or specialty vendors such as a photo booth. Booking your required vendors first will let you know what wiggle room you have in your budget when it comes to add-ons and extras.


bride and groom walking down aisle
Photo By: Eyeronic Love

By setting realistic expectations for your budget and prioritizing what truly matters to you, you can create a beautiful and memorable wedding day without breaking the bank. And as always, feel free to reach out to us for any of your wedding planning or budgeting needs! You can contact us via our Contact Page or give us a call at 830-632-5162! Happy Planning!


the perfect day team photo
Photo By: Lauren Crumpler Photography

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