Don’t get caught up in trying to make your wedding day rival the Trump’s. You don’t have to put in time and money to impress people. People want to come and celebrate with you. They want to congratulate the guy who was lucky enough to get you. They aren’t expecting you to entertain or wow them. So, relax and have fun.
Determine the type of wedding and reception you want and talk to your family about how much money they would be willing to spend. You need to have a pretty concrete idea so you can make decisions based upon that budget.
The more you try to do, the more it will cost you – and not just financially. If you try to do too much you’ll wear yourself out physically and emotionally and you’ll lose sight of what is really important – marrying the love of your life, for now and forever, in the house of the Lord.
How much should the budget be?
There are no guidelines. You could spend next to nothing, or you could spend $5 million (the amount said to be spent by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.) The national “average” is somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 according to the Fairchild Bridal Group and Conde Nast reports (but in the LDS community it is usually under $10,000 – according to 82% of the LDS brides who responded to the survey on this website). In order to come up with a realistic budget, it would be helpful if you did a little research on how much it costs to do some of the things you’d like to do. If you loved the music at a friend’s wedding and you want to hire that band, find out how much they charge before preparing the budget. If you guesstimate $500 and plug that figure into your budget, then discover they charge $1,200, you start out $700 over budget and will have to cut somewhere else. Choose an amount that both you and your parents are comfortable with and won’t put either of you in debt.
Once you know exactly the amount of money you have to work with, STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET! If you go over in one area, cut back by that amount in another. There is nothing worse than returning from your honeymoon to a stack of bills and debt. When planning out your budget, allot a slush fund for the inevitable extras that will spring up. It’s nice to have some cushion for unexpected and unforeseeable expenses.
Allot the most money for things most important to you.
Small details can ultimately add up to large expenses. You must prioritize your wants
and needs. A great way to enjoy a more elaborate reception is to limit the guest list.
By having a small, intimate affair you can afford to spend considerably more on flowers,
food, and other details. However, if keeping it small is not an option, there are still
ways to stretch your dollar to the utmost. First rank the aspects of the wedding that
are most important to you. See what you would be willing to scrimp on or forgo
altogether, and what aspects are a priority.
You have to decide what is really important to you and try to make that work by cutting back in other areas. Again, prioritize! You can have the wedding you have always dreamed of if you narrow your focus. What maters most? Fun? Feeling beautiful? Dancing? Budget accordingly. Find places where you can cut corners (i.e. a free venue like a friend's backyard or the cultural hall, a groomsman with a downloaded CD as your "DJ", a photography student from the local college instead of a professional.)
Do you want fabulous pictures? Does the dress have to be to-die-for (even though it eats up half of your entire budget)? Are you more concerned about your guests having a good time? Does your wedding have to be the party of the century? Think about what you’ll remember vs. what your guests will remember (or even notice!) Do you care about the food? How important is the cake? What about flowers? Are you a detail person or do you care more about the overall feel? What can you do to personalize your reception – or is that important to you?
Spend the money on the things that will add to YOUR memories (five years down the
road will it matter if the menu was chicken or prime rib? What about if the cake was
by a French pastry chef or courtesy of a local grocery store?) You will look at pictures
but most important, you’ll remember the things that really mattered, and it just so
happens that those are the things that don’t cost a dime!: the vows you made, the
covenants you entered into before God, and the way it felt to marry your best friend
and the person you wished to spend an eternity beside.
How to get back some of what you spend
You might consider getting a credit card that gives you frequent flyer miles and charge
everything to that card. You may save money on your honeymoon flights or get an
upgrade to first class – wouldn’t that be nice. ( But keep track of your charges. Don’t
let the credit card expenses become “Monopoly money.”)
You could donate your dress to Deseret Industries or some other charity and get a tax
deduction. Or you could sell your dress on eBay.com
Keeping track of expenses
You can use a budgeting tool from the weddingchannel.com or theknot.com Go to one
of those sites and you can track your budget online for free – or make up your own.
You may not be using all these items, but it is good to be aware of them.
Contact person phone # Estimated / Actual
Ceremony Site Fees (Lucky you – the temple is FREE!)
Reception Site Fees
Thank You Notes
Wedding Photos Package
Ring Ceremony Music
Ring Ceremony Flowers
Corsages / Boutonnieres
Flowers for Wedding
Knife for cutting the cake
Flowers for Reception
There are a number of items that I didn’t include in the budget, but you might want to consider, such as:
Sound system for the ring ceremony or reception
Gifts for officiator, bridal party, mother of bride, etc.
Gift baskets for out of town guests
Transportation to take bride and groom from the temple to the reception and to
their hotel after the reception
Any transportation needs for getting the bridal party to where they need to be
or relatives from their hotels to the reception
Hair & make up for the bride (& bridal party?)
Babysitters for reception & something to entertain kids (craft table, etc.)
Accommodations for special out of town guests or bridal party
A honeymoon suite for the bride and groom’s first night together
Disposable cameras for the reception
Amy special order items he bride might want (custom labels for water bottles, etc.)
Additional rentals (linens, glasses, silverware)
To see sample Budgets, go to asimpleldswedding.com/Budget.html