If you’re like most brides (and even some grooms), you’ve dreamed of your wedding day for months, maybe even years. Whether it’s a traditional church wedding, or a casual outside affair, you have a vision in your mind of what YOUR special day will look like.
And then reality hits you…how are you going to pay for all this? Having worked with a number of couples over the years, I’ve found that the most successful (and least stressful) weddings have three things in common:
1) A timeline that allows a couple to secure the vendors they want. For example, here in the Chicago area,
most of my brides and grooms are booking their photography and videography services with Pickman Photography 15 – 18 months in advance of their wedding date!
2) The most important aspects of the wedding are prioritized by the couple. Consider the list below; which things are “must-have’s” and which would be considered an additional luxury. The answers can be different for everyone. If you’re on a budget, as many couples are, prioritizing the items from the list below will allow you to put your funds towards those things that will have lasting memories for you.
- Photographer & Videographer
- Church and/or pastor/priest, Justice of the Peace/Officiant
- Marriage License
- Venue/Banquet Hall
- Food/Catering (rehearsal dinner, reception, appetizers, main course/buffet, alcohol/champagne toast)
- Wedding Cake & serving utensils
- Entertainment (band or DJ)
- Transportation (limo, antique car, horse & carriage, trolley)
- Wedding dress & accessories (shoes, veil, jewelry)
- Groom’s tuxedo or suit (rental or purchase) & accessories (shoes, socks, tie, cufflinks)
- Hair & Makeup pre-ceremony
- Flowers (bride and bridesmaid bouquets, groom and groomsmen boutonnières, corsage & boutonnière for parents/family members, flowers for the ceremony, centerpieces for the reception)
- Guest favors
- Gifts for wedding party
- Gifts for each other (bride & groom)
- Guest Book
3) Creating a budget. Once you and your fiancé have determined what you’d like to include in your wedding day, determine the costs and whether any family members will be helping with expenses or if you will be paying for the wedding yourselves. The longer your engagement, the more time you have to plan and save money. However, even if you plan to marry soon, sitting down to figure out costs and creating a budget for whatever your timeline is, will help you make wise choices and help you avoid unnecessary debt.
Ask lots of questions to avoid hidden costs. For example, when you get a quote from a caterer, find out if it includes the china, flatware, glassware etc. or if it is for the food only. When researching photographers, we typically offer several different packages. Some will include extra hours, a 2nd shooter and/or a video component. Again, discuss your needs to find out what option is the best value for what you want!
For additional information and assistance in budgeting for your wedding, there is a great article from The Knot https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-budget-ways-to-save-money as well as a Wedding Budget Calculator https://www.theknot.com/wedding-budget/start.