before ever after

Planning Your Wedding Budget? 5 Expert Tips to Get You Started

posted on April 02, 2024

If you’re newly engaged, chances are, you’ve already started fantasizing about your perfect celebration — what it’ll look like, who’ll be there, and what you’ll wear. You might have already set up a wedding Pinterest board and started scrolling through inspiring Instagram accounts. Now, it’s time to set the wheels in motion and bring those ideas to life.

First on the to-do list? Creating your budget. Whether you’ve selected a build-your-own strategy or an all-inclusive venue like Walters Wedding Estates, there are a few basic decisions all cost-aware couples need to make. Here, Walters Wedding Specialists weigh in on some key factors to consider — from figuring out your family contributions to keeping a close watch on hidden expenses.

Touching first look between father and daughter at Iron Manor, The Milestone Montgomery.

1. Decide on the “Who”

No, not “who” is getting married — that’s the easy part! One of the first decisions you’ll have to make regarding your budget is determining who is going to be paying for the wedding. This includes not only the ceremony, but also the pre-wedding parties, reception, transportation, florals, accommodations, and everything in between.

Traditionally, the bride’s family bears the brunt of the cost, but today, many couples are choosing to pay for most of their big-day expenses themselves. Whether you go halfsies with your parents or handle the bill yourselves, it’s important to discuss the topic with all parties involved and make sure your communication is open and clear.

2. Figure Out Your Guest Count

Another tricky wedding-planning decision? Determining your guest list — or more specifically, the size of your wedding. This guest-list-making process will largely determine your budget. “Guest count numbers impact everything — the more guests, the higher the cost,” Walters Wedding Specialists say. Remember that the majority of your spending will go into taking care of your guests’ needs (food, drinks, entertainment, and more) on your wedding day.

An intimate affair with only 75 guests, for example, will cost less than a lavish ballroom celebration with more than 300 people. Want to tie the knot on a smaller budget? Consider narrowing down your guest list. Once your guest list is set, it’s time to think about some other big-ticket items in your budget.

Guests applaud the newlyweds in the grand ballroom at Iron Manor, The Milestone Montgomery.

3. Discuss Your Priorities

“What means the most to you on your special day?” Walters Wedding Specialists advise asking yourselves this question. “Venue, food, and bar are some of the more costly aspects in the wedding budget. It’s always a good idea to lock these in first at the beginning of your journey to ensure that you are able to balance your budget throughout the rest of your planning process.”

Sit down with your partner and talk through your must-haves and wants. This could mean different things for different people. You might place an emphasis on a gorgeously plated, sit-down dinner; others might envision a more casual buffet-style experience. You might want to offer your guests a signature cocktail; others might prefer a simpler bar setup. Luckily, Walters Wedding Estates offers a range of customizable food and beverage packages — as well as an array of other amenities and offerings.

4. Be Realistic

You might already have a long-standing, vivid image of what you want your dream wedding to look like, and it’s probably important to you to turn that vision into reality. However, it’s also important to make sure you have enough resources to cover the cost of that vision. (Nothing is worse than starting off your marriage on shaky financial ground!) Be realistic about what you’re willing — and able to — pay each step of the way.

Rest assured that you can still have a memorable celebration on a range of budgets. “During the planning process with Walters Wedding Estates, our team of Wedding Planners work alongside you to assist and guide you through your experience,” Walters Wedding Specialists say. “You have the flexibility to start out at a lower budget when you book with us and build up from there.”

Bride and groom enjoy celebratory sparkler exit at Iron Manor, The Milestone Montgomery.

5. Stay Organized

Now is the time to let your organizational skills shine. Whether you prefer notebooks or spreadsheets to store, organize, and track data, make sure that you’re accurately recording every expense and payment. “Organization is key,” Walters Wedding Specialists say. “Monitor your spending in all areas to avoid overspending in one area and not have enough room for the rest.”

Additionally, make sure you have enough wiggle room for any hidden fees that might arise. This will prove to be especially helpful if you’re considering the DIY route to wedding planning. Alternatively, select an all-inclusive venue that does all the legwork for you. Walters Wedding Estates Specialists will break down each and every line item on your proposed bill — no hidden fees — and help walk you through every decision.

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