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Once you are engaged and you have popped open some champagne to celebrate, you should get down to business and establish a budget. This will help you keep your sanity in the months to come, assure you are staying organized and that payments are being made appropriately.
However, creating a budget can be difficult when you have no idea what wedding vendors cost. Most of you are probably thinking, hello this is my first time getting married, how am I supposed to know what a wedding photographer costs? No worries my dear, I am here to help!
1. Talk to your families
It is important to establish who is paying for the wedding. Have a conversation with your family separately and determine if they are able to contribute and how much they can contribute. It has become more acceptable for both families to contribute to the wedding costs and a lot of the time the bride and groom even help pay. Once you establish where the funds are coming from, you will have a better idea of the budget you are working with.
Also consider reading: 6 Important Conversations to Have Before Marriage
2. Research Vendors
Use the internet or call your local vendors to research prices in your area, every region/state will be different. What a wedding venue in Texas costs is going to be different for brides in the East Coast New York. Calling 2-5 different vendors in each category (venue, caterer, photographer) will give you a range of what the price will be and from there you can get a good idea of what to budget.
Be sure to ask what these prices include-you don’t want to be surprised with hidden fees or think you are paying for an all inclusive package when really you were quoted for a basic package. For example a venue in some areas of Texas may cost $5000 for the ceremony and reception venue, tables and linens. While an all inclusive venue covering ceremony and reception venue, tables and linens, and catering could cost $8000-10,000. Just be sure to ask a few extra questions or ask if they can send you an email with package details.
Here is a list of websites I recommend where you can search specifically for wedding vendors:
VP Wedding Planner (specific to South Texas brides)
3. Ask your recently married friends
Throughout your wedding planning process don’t be shy to ask for help and advice from your friends and family. If you have a friend you are close with, start by asking her how much she paid for her vendors. Just let her know you are trying to create a budget and get an idea of what a vendor costs so you were curious what a photographer or wedding cake cost. If their wedding was held in a city close to yours, you can even ask for vendor recommendations.
4. Consult with a Wedding Planner
Wedding planners are industry experts! They often have different planning packages customizable to your budget and your needs-whether you want them to help you start planning from day one or just to finish up the details a month before the wedding. If you decide to hire them for the entire wedding planning process, their services usually include helping you create a budget and assuring that you stick to it.
5. Create a rough draft guest list
It may seem early to create a guest list especially if your wedding date is a year or more out but creating a list will give you an idea of how many people you need to feed and buy invitations for. The cost for 100 guests is a lot less than 250 guests.
6. Download a budget app
You can have comfort knowing you aren’t the first bride worried about creating a budget. I am currently using and LOVING The Knot Budget Calculator. It is super user friendly, you can use it both on a computer or download the app on your iPhone or Android, so you can access it on the go.
Here are some adorable notebooks to keep you organized during your wedding planning
How did you create a budget for your wedding? Leave your advice in the comments below, xoxo
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