Before laying down the first deposit, engaged couples planning a wedding ceremony and reception need to safeguard their finances and their relationships by having a money talk. Making commitments to vendors before settling on a wedding budget will lead to unnecessary stress for whoever is footing the majority of the bill. Sit down, mix up a cocktail or order some yummy appetizers, and spend a couple hours with your fiancé going through the four points outlined below.
- Pick Number
BEFORE booking the venue and choosing the dress, figure out how much money you can spend on every little detail. Write it down. Add it up. Only $10,000.00? Thank goodness you realized that before you booked the $7,000.00 venue. As you find that hard number, keep in mind that you will likely go over budget. I’m warning you, it just happens, so prepare by rounding down on your budget, knowing that unforeseen circumstances may cause the final number to round up.
Once you have that solid number, rate the big wedding categories (venue, dress, food, decor, flowers, cake, entertainment/music, honeymoon) in order of importance. Again, write it down. Note which categories are completely unimportant to you so that you keep your money focused.
People tend to forget to factor tipping into their budget. Tipping is not mandatory but a gracious bride ensures her vendors are properly thanked. After checking the contracts, if gratuity was not included, a 10-20% tip is recommended for the reception staff, servers, caterers, musicians, photographers, and hair and makeup artists. The florist, officiant, and wedding planner do not generally expect a tip but if you were thrilled with their services, make sure they know with a little tip and, at the very least, a note. Make sure you have the tips figured out before the wedding ceremony. Before the wedding, designate a reliable someone—sometimes the coordinator or one of the parents of the bride—to pass out the tips at the end of the wedding reception.
4. It’s Just Stuff
Remember, whether you have $2,000.00 or your budget is over $30,000.00 (the 2017 national average), it’s just stuff. The ceremony observes a commitment between two people to love and cherish one another for the rest of their lives, through good times and bad. The reception is a celebration of that commitment. Ultimately, it’s not about the menu nor how good the pictures will look on Instagram. If you are most concerned about what people will say about the party, perhaps you should more closely examine your motives for getting married.
Married ladies, what did you prioritize? Any further money advice for the brides? Share in the comments!
Emily is a friend of the farm and a HPF bride who, after several years of event planning, now works as a florist, designing and creating for Emily Kaye Designs.