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How to Create a Realistic Wedding Budget

Once the excitement of your recent engagement settles, the reality of wedding planning can start to feel overwhelming. Before you dive into all the fun details, we need to talk about the not-so-glamorous topic: the wedding budget. Whew! I know, it sounds daunting. How do you decide where to allocate your funds? Do you have to compromise on certain things? We love planning unique and timeless events, but we never recommend going into debt to pay for your wedding. With a little guidance, you can create a realistic wedding budget that allows you to prioritize what truly matters most to you.

One of the first steps in the wedding planning process is to figure out your budget - this will help give you a good foundation and guide as you work through selecting vendors and making decisions. You are probably thinking, “Yeah, that sounds easy, but where do we even begin - we’ve never done this before and have no idea what everything costs!” Talking with (and ultimately hiring) a wedding planner can certainly help navigate through the realities of wedding costs. If you’re not ready to reach out to a planner, take a look at what you can expect to spend overall on your Wedding in Memphis,Tennessee.

Grab your favorite drink and let's make budgeting as enjoyable as the first dance with your sweetheart!

To make the budgeting process easier, start by identifying the aspects of your wedding that are most important to you or your non-negotiables. Here at Dani Cymone Events, when it comes to our full-service clients, we believe in leaving no stone unturned when it comes to understanding your needs and preferences. We gather information on all of our couples to find out what really matters to you. By prioritizing these key elements, we can allocate a sufficient portion of your budget to them while finding creative solutions for the rest. The not-so-fun truth that many couples discover when creating and attempting to stick to a wedding budget is that it's often more expensive than initially anticipated.

There are many reasons this happens - it’s hard to find pricing information for vendors without talking to them, friends and family who’ve been married weigh in based on their experiences, couples get caught up in the “ideal” budget, rather than one that aligns with your vision. We recommend doing a bit of research on the cost of your wedding non-negotiables so that you are fully prepared for the planning process. For full service clients, we sit down and conduct a budget analysis and provide a tracker to our couples to keep you informed and on track with your money. It's crucial to remember that wedding prices can vary greatly depending on factors like the year, season, location, guest count as well as your vision and expectations.

Here are our top areas you will likely need to make a priority when creating a realistic budget:

Your Guest Count: Of course, you should prioritize having the people you truly want around you on this special day. Whether it's family, close friends, or cherished mentors, their presence can make your wedding even more meaningful and unforgettable. These are the people who have been there for you throughout your journey, supporting and loving you every step of the way.

But here's the tricky part: determining where to stop. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up with a guest list that resembles a small army. While it's tempting to invite every long-lost cousin, coworker, or acquaintance you've ever met, remember that each additional guest means an increase in expenses and logistical considerations. Our recommendation is that if you would not normally sit down and have dinner with this guest, it is probably best to keep them off of the guest list. Guest count directly effects what venue you will need, your catering expenses, bartending expenses, furniture rentals and decor items. It all starts with your guest count.

The Venue: Your wedding venue is undeniably one of the key components that sets the stage for your entire celebration. It's the place where your loved ones gather, where memories are made, and where your love story unfolds. But while it holds immense importance, it's crucial to strike a balance and avoid falling into the trap of going "venue poor.” This happens when couples spend the largest amount of money on their venue without leaving enough room in the budget for the vendors that create your day (planner,decor,DJ, catering,etc). It is important to note that most venues are an empty canvas that you will have to hire in vendors for.

When selecting your venue, it's essential to find a space that not only captures your vision but also fits within your budget. It should be a place that resonates with your personal style and reflects the atmosphere you want to create on your special day. Remember, a venue doesn't have to be extravagant or overly expensive to be extraordinary. It's about finding the right combination of charm, character, and functionality.

NOTE: Some couples have decided to go for a destination wedding resort for their celebration. Check out this blog here on the estimated costs for a destination wedding.

Food and Drinks: Even if you're not a self-proclaimed foodie or a culinary connoisseur, there's no denying the significance of food and beverage at your wedding. Regardless of whether you have a specific preference for a buffet, food stations, or a formal five-course meal, it's essential to allocate a considerable portion of your budget to satisfy your guests' appetites. Your wedding meal doesn't necessarily have to break the bank. There are various options available to suit different budgets and preferences. We've planned brunch weddings before in which the catering costs alone were cut simply because of the menu options for brunch. When considering your wedding budget, it's crucial to allocate a reasonable amount towards catering. This includes not only the actual food but also the beverages, service staff, rentals, and any additional amenities associated with your chosen dining experience. The costs can add up, especially if you have a large guest count or specific dietary requirements to accommodate.

Your venue and your food + beverage are always going to make up almost half your budget (40-50%).

Photography: While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning and overlook certain aspects, professional photography and videography is an investment that should never be underestimated. Your wedding photos will be a tangible reminder of the love, happiness, and celebration that surrounded you on your special day. They will transport you back to those precious moments, allowing you to relive the emotions and experience the magic all over again.

A professional wedding photographer and videographer possesses a unique set of skills and expertise. They have an artist's eye for capturing the beauty and essence of every moment, from the tender glances shared between you and your partner to the spontaneous bursts of laughter among your loved ones. They understand the importance of lighting, composition, and timing, ensuring that every image tells a story and evokes genuine emotions. Choose a professional photographer who resonates with your style, understands your vision, and has the ability to create images that will be treasured for generations to come.

Entertainment: While allocating a portion of your budget to entertainment may seem like an additional expense, it is an investment in creating a memorable and immersive experience for both you and your guests. Remember, it's not just about the music; it's about creating an ambiance, fostering connections, and crafting unforgettable memories that will be cherished for years to come. In our opinion, entertainment is one of the core pillars of your special day, capable of elevating the entire experience from ordinary to extraordinary.

So, when planning your wedding budget, be sure to prioritize top-notch entertainment. Seek out reputable professionals who understand your vision, have a diverse repertoire, and possess the charisma to keep the party alive. By doing so, you'll ensure that your wedding day becomes an extraordinary celebration, filled with laughter, dancing, and unforgettable moments that will be etched in the hearts of all who attend.

Remember, prioritizing these aspects doesn't mean you have to sacrifice other elements entirely. Embrace the opportunity to add personal touches and find alternative solutions that allow you to stay within your financial boundaries without compromising on your vision. It might not always be easy and you will certainly need to stay flexible, but if you find yourself stressing out over the budget, take a pause and go back to your priorities and the reason you are getting married - ask yourself, I know this detail is important to me at this moment, but does it reflect us as a couple and will it be something I (or my guests) remember or talk about when all is said and done?

If your are wondering more about how we can help you create a realistic budget while planning your wedding, please complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation here. We can't wait to hear from you!

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