Figuring out your wedding budget can be stressful, but don’t worry — whether you’re dreaming of a lavish hotel affair or an intimate garden get-together, answering these questions will help you figure out what you have to spend to make it happen.
Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides’ families still pick up the entire bill, but more and more groom’s families are participating too. How do you bring up the conversation? For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions. When you do talk, here are strategies for determining your initial budget.
- Ask both of your folks to commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget.
- Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding (such as the ceremony, honeymoon, or catering) instead of just committing to a dollar amount.
- Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding.
How Much Do You Actually Need?
Just like buying shoes, an apartment, or a pair of jeans, when it comes to financing a wedding, you should figure out how much you need to spend to get what you want. Set your expectations accordingly.
Here is a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
- Reception: 48%-50%
- Ceremony: 2%-3%
- Attire: 8%-10%
- Flowers: 8%-10%
- Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
- Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
- Stationery: 2%-3%
- Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
- Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
- Gifts: 2%-3%
- Miscellaneous: 8%
• To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund.
• If you’re paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.
How Much Can You Save?
As soon as you’re engaged, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. Saving 20% of your monthly income is a good — though painful — goal. The longer your engagement, the more you’ll be able to store away.
Ways to save: Limit your spending on small stuff (renting movies instead of going out; indulging in a coffee once instead of twice a day; downloading just the song you love instead of buying the whole CD). These changes will hardly affect your quality of life, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some wedding essentials.
Make the most of your money: Instead of stashing your money in a low-interest savings account, consider a term deposit account or buying shares. The interest rate can be double that of a savings account. Just check the fine print to avoid penalties or locking your money away for a fixed term and being unable to access your money in time for your wedding.
by Liz Zack