It is so tempting to whip out that Pinterest board you have been pinning photos to for the past 5 (or more) years (yes we all have one, whether we want to admit it or not). BUT, that may not be the best place to start.
You may be thinking, “Isn’t my visual aesthetics or theme one of the best places to start so that I can figure out all the different things and vendors that I’m going to need?”
The answer to that question is YES it is! However, there is a “pre” step that you may want to do first in order to manage your stress and expectations.
Now I know sitting down and creating a preliminary budget is NOT sexy. But, wouldn’t you rather enjoy your planning process, instead of worrying the whole time about money and how your family might react to their portion of the bill???
It is super important that you sit down with your significant other, and anyone else that is planning on helping you pay for your big day. This will give you an opportunity to assess what you can realistically spend without upsetting family members or your significant other, and keep you from spiraling into crazy wedding debt. Do they value good photos over 5 dessert options + cake, are they more interested in tearing up the dance floor until morning rather than a 5 course meal? This will help you assess who is willing to pay for what, and can ultimately give you a good place to start planning and finding vendors.
It’s kind of like Say Yes To The Dress. But, instead of just the dress, your taking the time to consider all the “categories” of things you’ll need (caterer, florist, decorator, rentals, venue, etc) and saying “I’m comfortable spending $10,000 – $12,000. The maximum I am will to spend is $15,000”.
One of the biggest issues we see when brides come in and reserve equipment from us, is that they never talked to anyone about their dream day, and Mom/Dad had no idea what the total was going to be. This can cause a lot of tension in a time that is supposed to be fun and special.
YOU MAY NOT KNOW WHAT CERTAIN THINGS COST, but if you can figure out the “bottom line” that you are comfortable spending, you can always adjust categories based off the prices that you find after you start planning. Some things may be more, some things may be less. (**Understand that while sticking to a budget is the goal, there will inevitably be a cost or payment that comes up and disrupts it.)
You are not going to know what places charge for things until you start calling different vendors, and there might be a time where you need to reevaluate the amount of money you have to spend on an item/section. For example, if you thought a plated meal for 300 guests should only cost $2000 ($6.67/person) and everywhere you called has been more like $6000 ($20/person), you may need to adjust your budget. If there is no way you can afford the average cost of what every vendor you called has bid for you, then you may need to consider a buffet style meal, or cut out a course/services.
While you may not want to sit down and listen to everyone’s opinion on what your big day should be like, it is important to understand what everyone values and is willing to pay for. Managing your money, and expectations are some of the hardest things to do when planning for something you have dreamed about. However, a simple conversation may save you months of dread and tension.