Tips for Assembling a Wedding Budget

Ah yes, the budget!   When we meet with clients here at A Southern Soiree, this is one of the first topics we cover and one of the most important steps to take after you get engaged!
Year Average Wedding Budget
1990 $ 15,208
1995 $ 17,000
1997 $ 19,104.00
1999 $ 18,874.00
2000 $ 21,100.00
2002 $ 22,360.00
2005 $ 27,852.00
2007 $ 28,800.00
2008 $ 28,700.00
2012 $ 31,010.00 (estimated)

(Chart from Fairchild Bridal American Wedding Survey)

With the average wedding cost at over $28,000, it’s no wonder tackling the budget is one of the most overwhelming tasks on your to-do list.

Each couple will differ in the amount of money they have to spend on their special day and in their priorities of what is most important to them.  Some clients find that photography is one area they wish to allocate a significant amount of their wedding budget, for others its flowers and decor.  Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of walking down the aisle in an elegant designer dress or maybe you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie” who wants the food and beverage for their reception to be outstanding and top notch!

In our initial consultation with our clients, we often ask them to rank what they personally feel is the most important to least important when it comes to the following aspects of their wedding day:

  • Bridal Gown and Accessories
  • Ceremony/Officiant
  • Coordinator (p.s this is very important in our opinion) 😉
  • Entertainment (DJ/Band)
  • Favors
  • Flowers
  • Food
  • Invitations
  • Location
  • Photography
  • Specialty Rental Items (linens, chairs, tents, lighting)
  • Transportation
  • Videography
  • Wedding Cake

There is no right or wrong way to rank these items, it’s truly different with every couple!  After couples have ranked their wedding  day priorities from most to least important, we can then help them establish a personalized wedding budget.

A few more handy tips for establishing a budget:

  • Establish an overall dollar amount that you can spend on your wedding.  We recommend having your goal budget amount that you work towards and then what we refer to as your “drop dead” budget number.  Meaning that when it comes to the budget, under no circumstances should the wedding go over that “drop dead” number.  This helps to keep you on track when you’re selecting vendors and making important monetary decisions about the wedding.
  • Review that guest list…again.  The easiest way to reduce the overall cost of your wedding is to reduce your guest count.  Be sure when you’re assembling and reviewing your guest list that the people on there are people that you truly want to be a part of this memorable and special day.  Remember, your single biggest expense will be reception food and alcohol, so you can reduce that amount by decreasing the number of people you’re inviting.  Considering cutting out those guests who you haven’t spoken to in 15 years and who you wouldn’t know if you passed them by on the street.
  • Consider having your wedding during the “off-season”.  Generally, November through March tends to be considered the off-season for weddings.  However, one note on December weddings:  You will pay higher prices for Saturdays in December because you  will be competing with corporate holiday parties.  Having said this, also consider holding your wedding on a Friday or Sunday.  Most vendors (venue included) will offered reduced prices for any day other than Saturday!

Although assembling your budget can seem like a daunting task, once it’s tackled, you get to do the more fun and exciting things like sampling cakes and selecting  flower arrangements!  Best of luck in planning your big day! 🙂