This is part of a multi-part series. If you haven’t read Part 2, you may want to start there!
So, you have established your budget as indicated in Part 1, you have stuck to your budget thus far (as instructed in Part 2) and now you are likely wondering to yourself: “Now What”?
So often a bride and groom (or even their families!) will sit across the table from me in a consultation and say: ” We have been experiencing sticker shock a bit since we started planning”. As a consumer, the key to putting yourself in the power seat when it comes to Event Planning is to know what you have to spend and work to MEET or BEAT your budget. This can actually be fun! Going into a meeting with a vendor (whether that vendor be a designer, a DJ, a baker or a caterer) and having “no idea what things cost” is considered a reactive approach to the process and will keep you on your heels.
The smartest thing you can do in advance of ALL vendor meetings is to determine the maximum “out the door” cost you are willing to spend on each area of your budget. How? Easy!
There have been many a-study conducted on bridal planning and the following is a formula pretty widely used industry-wide.
|The Wedding Rings||2%-3%|
|The Parking and Transportation||2%-3%|
If something is very important to you, keep it on the “high” end of the percentage. If something is less important, perhaps you will allocate the lesser percentage. Next steps? Do the math!
To illustrate the concept and how it’s applicable, we will give you the example of Jack+Jill.
Jack+Jill are planning their dream wedding. They were smart enough to read Part I of this series (see what I did there?) and determined that their overall wedding budget is $12,000. They sit down one evening in advance of their vendor meetings and use the above formula to determine their budget in each category.
They start with their Food/Beverage budget. They love good food, but they and their guests are not regularly submitting to Bon Apetit magazine – so, they determine that food is important, but not the “end all be all” of their event: $12,000 (their Overall budget) and multiply by their agreed upon percentage (49% = 0.49) to establish their food and beverage budget. Shown another way: $12,000 x 0.49 = $5,880.00.
“Well, that was painless,” they say to themselves, and decide to move right along!
The ceremony allocation is a bit more involved since “The Ceremony” will need to include the officiant’s fees and all decor associated with the event. Jack+Jill determine that they aren’t overly concerned with elements ceremony and decide to allocate 2% of the budget to their ceremony. ($12,000 x 0.02 = $240).
“Great!,” they think to themselves, “let’s keep going!”
Attire … ooooo… this is that ever important moment of setting a budget for the bride’s wedding dress, shoes, necklace, earrings… pretty much any article of clothing she might wear the big day (even her garter!)… and let’s not leave out the groom! His tux and all things clothing related will be included in this budget as well. They both want to look their best, so they decide this will be an area where they take the highest percentage: 10% ($12,000 x 0.10 = $1,200)
Feeling confident in their high-school-learned math skills, they fill out the balance of their wedding budget – confident that they have (at the very least) a starting point from which they can begin to engage vendors in conversation with confidence and expediency. In less than 10 minutes, they arrive at the following:
|The Wedding Rings||$360|
|The Parking and Transportation||$240|
Jack+Jill add it all up: $12,960 – WHAT? How am I nearly $1,000 over budget!? This bring us to a very important note:
Not everything can be a “top priority”. Jack+Jill marked a few of their items as “very important” – but allocating the higher percentages in multiple categories, the percentages added up to more than 100%. It will be important to pick one category as “very important”, allocate the higher percentage to that category” and keep the remaining items on the lower end.
Once you have completed this exercise, you have a solid foundation from which to begin planning your wedding in collaboration with your vendors. “Sticker Shock” is now a thing of the past! You can go into your meetings with confidence that you know what you can afford.
In future installments, we will discuss how to use this information in your vendor meetings – and how to use your budget to negotiate on your behalf!