The Key to Wedding Planning for Every Budget: Keep it Authentic
You’re getting married, congrats! After you tell all your important people about your engagement, you will likely want to dive into wedding planning. But where do you start? Pinterest wedding boards? Deciding on a wedding date? Picking a ceremony site? Making a list of guests? Hiring a wedding planner? You might be surprised it’s none of those. The most important and first step to your perfect wedding is calculating your wedding budget.
We know, it’s not sexy. Budgets and finances as a whole can feel like a topic to be avoided. It can be boring, scary, or even feel impossible to sit down and add up all the wedding expenses. But there’s another way to look at it: as a facet of your unique couple personality. When you really sit down and work it out (we show you how using Honeyfund’s 1-Page Wedding Plan), the number you arrive at is a reflection of who you are, right now, together. It also conveys what’s important to you two. Just like the love you share together, the joy you’ll experience on your wedding day, the funny, quirky aspects of your love story and your individual characters — your wedding budget is part of the foundation for your celebration. Without knowing how much you can spend and how much you’re comfortable spending (two very different things!), you can’t even begin to plan what will become your wedding day.
Don’t most weddings cost $35,000? How can I afford that?
Think you can just use average wedding costs and be safe? Think again. The “average” wedding costs published each year by The Knot (currently at about $35,000) is actually a phantom number, meaning a very few are spending that amount. In reality, half of all weddings cost less than $20,000. Read more about the misleading nature of this statistic, how it drives overspending, feelings of inadequacy and a lot more problems.
So, you know spending $35,000 is ludicrous for most, and you want to determine how much YOU two will spend. How do you build a wedding budget? Download Honeyfund’s 1-Page Wedding Plan for a complete step-by-step guide to creating your authentic wedding budget.
A unique approach to wedding budget planning
1. Start with your next big goal
The first step in planning your wedding is actually planning your life after the wedding. Aka, the first year of marriage!
What are your goals for that year? Will you finish a college degree? Buy a house? Start a family?
Think of it this way: When you wake up the morning after your wedding, how much money do you want to have in the bank for that college degree, home down payment, or family budget?
Hint: It won’t be a lot if you’re committed to spending $35,000, the cost of an average wedding! This is a good exercise to make us realize how crazy that is. In fact, if you invest the average wedding cost at age 28, you’ll have $1.2 million dollars by age 60! That’s one expensive wedding.
2. Don’t pick a date until you’ve answered this question
The next step toward planning your perfect wedding is determining how much money you will have saved by the time your wedding rolls around. To figure that out, start with today’s savings. Then decide how much you can save per month from each of your paychecks, side gigs, etc. Then have a conversation with each person who will be contributing financially toward your wedding day. Total those contributions.
Now sit down together and put all those numbers together. How much will you have saved if you get married in 12 months? 18 months?
Lastly, don’t forget to subtract that “next big goal” number from your savings. Remember, that’s how much you want left in your bank account on Day 1 of your marriage.
3. Once your budget is decided, stick to it.
Make an agreement that nothing changes without sitting down and consulting together. If a parent or family member who pledged to contribute funds drops out, if someone loses a job, if an unexpected emergency happens, just sit down and re-work the numbers. Use that new budget, and stick to it.
Remember: There is an average cost for a wedding, but then there is what you and your partner want to spend. You don’t want an average wedding, so why have an average wedding budget? Decide on the wedding budget that’s true to YOU. No matter the number, your budget is not only possible, but it’s also special to you. Have fun discovering the wedding that you create together on the wedding budget that works for you.
How to make YOUR wedding happen on YOUR budget
We’ve got all the inspiration you need in our series of posts on non-traditional weddings that will keep your guests talking long after you have recited your vows. From backyards to destinations, virtual weddings to parking lots (and more!), we break down what you can do with budgets of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000+, including how much to spend per person on the reception, how to slash your budget for the wedding dress, where to get a wedding cake, how to nail the rehearsal dinner, and more. There are traditional wedding and non-traditional wedding options for everyone, even during Covid-19.