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Whether your wedding budget is $5,000 or $50,000, you’re going to want to make your wedding day as spectacular as possible. Thus, stretching your wedding budget to cover your biggest wedding dreams will be a priority. But even if you’re just a few weeks into wedding planning, you’ve learned that planning a wedding on a budget is no easy feat!
If you've followed my team on social media, you probably already know that we are ladies who like to make every cent our clients' spend work its hardest for them. We understand the struggles you're going through and we've seen a few really common mistakes made over and over again as couples try to stretch their wedding budget. Here are seven of the most dangerous wedding budget mistakes couples make.
Wedding Budget Mistake #1: Not Doing Your Research
Hands down the biggest wedding budget mistake couples make when planning their wedding is not doing their research. Every decision you make regarding your wedding should start by researching the options available to you within your budget.
Trying to secure a florist? Then research the florists in your area that match your style and are within your budget. But there are so many, how do I even begin to narrow them down? This is where the internet and word of mouth become your best friends.
Scour the internet for local listings of wedding florists. Review their portfolios online. Reach out to them and ask for images of their work and their typical price ranges. Then reach out to your friends and family and ask for recommendations. Has someone close to you recently gotten married? Do you have a family member in the wedding industry that can provide a recommendation? Finally, take the results of all of your research and narrow down your choices to three to five potential vendors.
But won’t that take a long time? Yes, but when you are tight on money, you have to make up for it with time.
Thus, TIME is how you’re going to avoid the pitfall of committing to a vendor before realizing there is a better, cheaper option across town. Or rushing into a decision based on emotion instead of your wallet (overspend much on your dress, anyone?). Taking time to research every aspect of your wedding will keep your wedding budget planning on the right track.
Wedding Budget Mistake #2: Not Prioritizing Your Wedding Must-Haves
When you first get engaged, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the wedding options. What venue will we choose? Which florist has the best in-season flowers? But before you and your partner put a single deposit down, it’s important to sit down and prioritize what wedding elements are most important to you.
You don’t want to go through the time and expense of booking major wedding vendors such as your photographer, venue, and florist, only to realize that you and your partner are really into music and would like to spend a good portion of your wedding budget on having a live band or a world-renowned disc jockey.
After you’ve set an overall budget for your big day, think of three wedding elements that are most important to you and your partner. Are y’all big foodies and what to have some of the best-tasting food for your guests? Then put catering down as a priority.
If having a gorgeous ballroom wedding venue has always been on your wishlist, then make sure you make it a priority to set aside the appropriate amount of your budget to secure your dream venue.
Once you pick your top three wedding priorities, be sure to be flexible on everything else. Making three wedding elements a priority and being extremely flexible on everything else will keep your wedding vision intact while maintaining your wedding budget.
Wedding Budget Mistake #3: Not Keeping Track of Your Expenses
Not keeping track of your expenses is the easiest way to bust your wedding budget. And typically it’s miscellaneous or unplanned for expenses that create chaos for our budget-minded couples.
Didn’t think about the gifts you’ll need to purchase for your bridal party? Forgot to include vendor gratuities as a line-item in your budget? Underestimated how many hours you would need for a specific vendor on your wedding day? These are all wedding budget mistakes that will cause you to go over your planned budget.
For example, let’s say you wanted to purchase drop-off style catering for your wedding because you thought it would save you money on staffing costs. But who will cut and serve your cake when it is time? And who will clean your tables as the night wears on?
It's not impossible to save money on your wedding by cutting down on certain expenses. You just need to think critically about the services that need to be provided and the items that need to be purchased and ruthlessly track those expenses so that you can stay on budget. But don’t worry, you don’t have to think of every expense on your own. There are many great wedding budget spreadsheets, like this one, that makes it easy to keep on top of your budget.
Wedding Budget Mistake #4: Not Having a Contract for Services
Many couples choose friends or family members to provide wedding services when trying to save on their wedding budget. These “friendors” usually offer their services for significantly discounted rates or as a wedding gift to the newly married couple.
But please don’t think that because the relationship is familiar you don’t need a service contract. Not having a contract for services may seem like a minor thing. After all, it's Aunt Susan who offered to bake your wedding cake and she would NEVER let you down because she loves you. She's a cottage baker and has done a ton of birthday cakes and awesome dessert bars for friends and family. You don't need a contract with people you love and trust...do you?
Yes, you absolutely do! A contract protects both of you and ensures that should your former roomie have a fight with you and decide not to come to the wedding or should Aunt Susan get the flu, SOMEONE ELSE will be performing their duty on your big day.
I know it feels formal and a little weird asking people you're close to for a contract if they haven't offered one but it's important to be able to hold one another accountable. You should be able to hold them accountable for the service they have offered you and they should be able to hold you accountable for some form of payment (even if it's a case of beer or dinner out on a Friday night).
Having everything spelled out in a document protects the person providing the service, you, and your wedding day. It's a win/win! Check out this free standard service agreement you can use for virtually any wedding service.
Christa Elyce Photography
Wedding Budget Mistake #5: Not Re-Reading Contracts 2-3 Months Out
Speaking of contracts, another wedding budget mistake couples make is not re-reading vendor contracts two to three months out from the wedding. Hold on here! You are a savvy couple and you read your contracts when you signed them and talked over all the important details. Why on earth would you need to double check those just when everything starts to speed up and life feels like a run-away train headed right into the wedding day?
Headcounts, deadlines, and fees--that's why! Going back to mark final payment deadlines on your calendars, linen selection and napkin fold deadlines, details on additional charges for changes in your headcount, and fees that may be due to security officers in cash, are just a handful of the reasons you want to read back over everything a few months out before life gets really crazy.
You will solve problems before they become problems on the wedding day and possibly even save yourself some money by doing this. So sit down with a glass of wine or your favorite beer one evening and double check your details. I promise you'll want to email and thank me for suggesting it once you do!
Wedding Budget Mistake #6: Not Consolidating Your Vendor Services
One of the best wedding budget tips you can follow is consolidating the services you receive from each wedding vendor. Each vendor you hire for your wedding incorporates travel time, set-up and breakdown time, as well as equipment rental in their overall prices. Thus, when you hire multiple vendors to perform wedding services, you spend a considerable amount on these extraneous expenses.
However, if you can purchase several services from one vendor, you’ll be able to cut down on these transaction costs. Many times your florist can also provide several of your rental items (e.g., linens, tableware, chairs, etc.) as well. Disk jockeys are a great source for purchasing lighting for your venue space.
Many vendors who offer several different services often provide bundle deals. Be sure to inquire about additional services you can purchase from each vendor you are looking into. Consolidating these services will not only save you money but time and sanity as well, as you won’t have to coordinate with so many different vendors.
Wedding Budget Mistake #7: Not Having a Point of Contact on the Wedding Day
Many budget-minded couples forego a day-of wedding coordinator hoping it will help them stay within their wedding budget plan. However, if they fail to designate a “point of contact” for all wedding-related matters on the big day, they’ll soon realize what they saved in dollars they lost in peace of mind.
Not having a point of contact on the big day means that every time anyone has a question about anything they will come to the source of all knowledge when it comes to your wedding--YOU. Having one person dedicated and ready to answer questions, set out small decorative details, and direct the set up of your event can save your sanity.
They won't be able to do everything a wedding planner would do, BUT in a pinch, this can at least allow you to get ready in peace and have a touch more calmness on your big day.
This wedding day timeline is a great one for your point of contact to have so that s/he can direct everyone on their assigned places and priorities.
All any bride or groom wants is a wedding day that is flawless and successful from beginning to end. Whether you invest in a wedding coordinator to make sure you've eliminated these seven common wedding budget mistakes or set aside extra planning time to implement these wedding budget tips, your wedding day will be better for it.
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