A wedding budget is an important part of planning a wedding in Chicago, and one detail that it pays (literally) to stay on top of. That’s why we’ve put together a list of wedding budget tips for couples looking to throw an awesome wedding reception on a set budget.
Talk with your fiancé.
The first step in managing your wedding budget is to set a budget. You can do this by sitting down and discussing finances with your fiancé. This is your chance to have an honest conversation about how much you both have available for the wedding and how you plan on paying for it (i.e. savings, credit card, loan, etc.) If anyone else has expressed interest in contributing to your wedding budget, discuss who it is and how you are going to approach them about their gift.
Use a wedding planning app or budget checklist.
When it comes to wedding planning, organization and budgeting go hand in hand. For some couples, this means setting up a binder with a wedding budget checklist, planning checklist, calendar, and pockets for receipts and various items. If you’d rather use your smartphone or tablet, check out one of these wedding planning apps with a built-in wedding budget checklist.
Allocate funds to the most important wedding details.
As you set a wedding budget, remember to allocate the majority of your funds to items that make the biggest impression on your guests. Plan on spending half of your budget on the biggest items that guests appreciate: venue, food, and entertainment. Be realistic with each budget line item; quality Chicago venues and wedding vendors come with a cost that is typically reflected in their service. Simply, the saying, “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to wedding planning.
Research every vendor.
Planning a wedding is about more than just filling in the blanks. As you plan, research every wedding vendor so you get exactly what you expect (both quality and cost). When hiring vendors, research local vendors by asking friends and family for recommendations or browse reviews online (on these wedding vendor review sites). Once you have a short list of vendors, interview each vendor to determine if they are the “one.” (For your DJ, use this list of wedding DJ questions.)
Read the fine print.
Your vendor interviews serve two purposes: 1) to determine if the vendor is a good fit that offers quality services, and 2) to get a full list of costs. Many wedding vendors have hidden fees, such as travel charges, overtime fees, etc. As you interview them, ask them for a full list of costs or look for wedding vendors that offer a package.
Don’t stop budgeting.
The key to managing a wedding budget is to develop a system and stick to it. As you plan, add your receipts into your app or on to your checklist. Take advantage of all the wedding budget tricks you can, and plan on adjusting costs if one line item is more than you planned for. If you stick to it, you’ll have a well-managed budget and a beautiful wedding day to show for your efforts.