Your Wedding Budget: Calculating Your Budget and Prioritizing Expenses
Deciding how much to spend on your wedding budget can be confusing, to say the least. Not only is establishing a wedding budget essential in order to have a clear idea of how much you're spending, but your wedding budget will also be your greatest asset in terms of bringing your wedding priorities to life. In this blog, we'll outline how we advise our clients to build their wedding budgets as well as how you can customize your wedding budget to maximize your priorities for your big day.
How do I create a wedding budget?
Step 1: Determine How Many Months Until Your Big Day
The first step in building your wedding budget is to figure out how many months there are until your wedding day. Knowing this information allows you to know exactly how much time you have to accumulate your funds. What is the best approach to find out how much time you have left? Some couples count the months from their engagement announcement while others start counting after they have set a date with their venue; it truly comes down to your personal preference.
Step 2: Get Familiar With Your Finances
The second step in building your wedding budget is to assess your income and expenses. Go through your pay stubs and bank accounts and get crystal clear about how much money the two of you make each month, after taxes. Then consider your other monthly expenses; calculate how much money you spend on entertainment, dining out, or shopping each month. Calculate how much your rent (or mortgage) and utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) are monthly. Account for your student loans, car payments, phone bills, credit card bills, etc., and do not forget to also include any recurring medical costs. Understanding exactly how much you spend on your necessities and indulgences will help you to determine how much you can afford to spend on your wedding.
Step 3: Calculate Your Monthly Contribution
Once you have figured out how much money is coming in and going out each month, it's time to evaluate how much discretionary income you have leftover. From your remaining disposable income, decide how much money you’re both comfortable diverting from your paychecks to fund your wedding; this amount will be your contribution to your wedding fund each month leading up to your celebration.
Step 4: Assess Your Savings Contribution
Once you know how much your monthly contribution will be, examine your savings accounts. Work together to find an amount that you’re comfortable adding to your wedding fund. Whether you decide to use a percentage of your savings or decide on a set dollar amount, this will be added along with your monthly contribution to round out your budget.
Why should my priorities impact my wedding budget?
Tailoring your wedding budget to fit your wedding priorities is a crucial part of managing your budget and staying under budget. Understanding how your priorities affect your wedding budget will help you define how much money should be spent on each category and for what reason. It can also make sure that you don’t overspend more than you allotted for your wedding.
Understanding your priorities also means that you will clearly be able to find where you can make room in your budget. By knowing which items aren't your priorities, you will find lots of little options to either scale back or eliminate items to make more room in your wedding budget.
How do I prioritize my wedding budget?
Write out each element involved in your wedding, rank them on a range from Level 1 to Level 5, and assign each element a percentage of your budget. Focus your time, money, and attention on your Level 5 Priorities as well as your Level 4 Priorities (you can find out more about how to identify and rank your wedding Priorities here). If you'd like to allow a larger percentage to any of your Level 5 priorities, simply deduct from your Level 1 priorities, as they either aren’t as important to you both or you’ve decided to eliminate them entirely. Remember that each category you divide your total wedding between still has to equal 100% of your budget but you do have the flexibility to adjust elements and customize as you see fit.
Once you've ranked your priorities, prioritize your Level 5 and 4 priorities even further by listing everything that you want in the following categories: must-have, nice-to-have, and can live without according to each element. Remember that your relationship, desires, and lifestyle are completely different from any other couple’s, it's okay if your budget doesn't look quite like everyone else's. How you prioritize your wedding budget is up to you.
In conclusion, your wedding budget is one of the most important things you will need to prepare for your big day. It can be a little complicated, but once you break down and prioritize all the costs associated with your special day, then you’re on track!