Budget Weddings

where does that number even come from?

edited March 29 in Budget Weddings
So all the advice sites are like "Step 1: Figure out your budget." Then break down the averages of where you should expect that money to go, but how do you figure out that initial number? 
edit:  I'm pretty easy. Small wedding (less than 100 people), a Wednesday in october. My dream venue just so happen to give discounts for having less than 100, being out of season, and on a weekday. Also it's naturally gorgeous so I don't have to do much in the way of decorating. All I care about other than the venue, is my dress. It's my guy who's trying to go crazy with food and table runners
edit 2: also, I'm getting married just outside of Seattle, so everything is expensive here too.

Re: where does that number even come from?

  • When we got engaged FI's mother basically came to us and said "We are giving you $X dollars towards the wedding" because he's the last of 4 to get married and they contributed that amount to each kid. Cool. 

    We took that number and discussed how much we really wanted to spend. We looked at our savings and then set a budget.  After laying out our guest list and doing research into what everything is going to cost, we made some minor adjustments. We also decided to "pad" our estimates quite a bit, which is working out well, as quite a few things are coming in under budget. 

    We've been engaged over 2 years so that gave us plenty of time to save up some (although life happens, we both lost jobs in that time, etc, so we didn't hang onto as much as we would have liked). Just be realistic with your budget. And remember that expenses will come up that you hadn't anticipated, so leave as much wiggle room as you can. 
  • Also, I would add that saying to family "we are getting our budget together..would you like to/were you planning to contribute to our wedding?" is still rude. 

    It's not as crass as "can we have some money for our wedding?" but it still stinks of entitlement/expectations and puts pressure on family. Trust me, if people want to give you money, they will come to you.

    Imagine it for any other event: "were you planning to give me money for my birthday?"  "can I have money for my graduation?" "are you going to give me money when my baby is born?" Rude, right? It's not different for weddings. Still rude.

    I'm sure you weren't considering doing that - I'm really just throwing it out there JIC and for lurkers. 
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    charlotte989875InLoveInQueensSP29
  • P.S. As long as you are hosting your event properly, don't get too hung up on "advice" regarding what percentage of your budget should go where. Obviously a cake and punch reception (perfectly acceptable) will likely have less of the budget going toward food and drink than a 4-course plated dinner reception.  It's easy to feel like "you're doing it wrong" but these boards are a great resource, so don't get too wrapped up in how much the internet says you should be spending or on what. 
    southernbelle0915CMGragainMesmrEweknottiee2fa1076b0e89b5b
  • adk19adk19
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
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    I picked a number smaller than the amount I currently have in my savings account.  This is not taking into account money I can put aside until my wedding day.  This is not taking into account any contributions from my groom or anybody else in my life.  This is not taking into account money we have in our joint checking account.  I picked a number I wouldn't mind spending on a one-day party.

    Then I took one of those budget helper things and calculated everything out; if my budget is X, I should plan on spending 48% of X on food and drink.  Then I went looking for options where I could feed my guest list for my budgeted amount.  We found an interesting venue that is a little over the budgeted amount of venue plus food and drink that intrigues us because of the all-inclusive aspect of it.  We've decided that ease of planning is worth a few more dollars so we're raising our budget a little, but still I'm trying to reduce the amount I spend on other line items, like going with standard vistaprint for invitations.
    SP29
  • kaos16kaos16
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    adk19 said:
    I picked a number smaller than the amount I currently have in my savings account.  This is not taking into account money I can put aside until my wedding day.  This is not taking into account any contributions from my groom or anybody else in my life.  This is not taking into account money we have in our joint checking account.  I picked a number I wouldn't mind spending on a one-day party.

    Then I took one of those budget helper things and calculated everything out; if my budget is X, I should plan on spending 48% of X on food and drink.  Then I went looking for options where I could feed my guest list for my budgeted amount.  We found an interesting venue that is a little over the budgeted amount of venue plus food and drink that intrigues us because of the all-inclusive aspect of it.  We've decided that ease of planning is worth a few more dollars so we're raising our budget a little, but still I'm trying to reduce the amount I spend on other line items, like going with standard vistaprint for invitations.
    What type of place is this interesting venue?  I'm always intrigued by unusual wedding spots.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited March 23
    Remember, despite what the wedding industry tells you, the only thing you need for a wedding is two people who want to get married, a legal license, an officiant, and legal witnesses.  Everything else is just extra.

    If you want guests other than immediate family only, you need written invitations, a venue with chairs for everyone to sit, food and drink appropriate for the time of day.  If you want to save money, don't have an evening wedding, because they are the most expensive.  Afternoon cake and punch is cheapest,  or a brunch or luncheon at noon can also be nice.

    Frills:  wedding dress and veil, bridal party, music, dancing, alcohol, photography, flowers.  None of these are really necessary, but only you can decide what is important to you.

    You are right in setting your budget before making plans.  Always remember that your guests comfort is more important than any "wedding vision" that you may have.  Good luck planning.
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  • If you are having issues coming up with a starting budget, write out a list of things that are important, things that would be nice and then things that are fantasy re: a wedding. Do a bit of research for each item and then you have a rough idea of what things might add up to. Then, go back to the drawing board and look at what is realistic and affordable, the number of guests you can invite with what you have thought of, your vision and then set your budget. I would always add 15% to any estimate.

    Figure out how much you have saved and subtract that from the 'budget' and then divide the remainder by how much you can save per month. You will have how many months it would take you to afford your wedding. If you don't like that amount of time, save more or start cutting things from your budget. 
    SP29
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    If you have no idea what a wedding that would appeal to you would cost, research a few big ticket items to get a general idea so you can know what things are running and also look at how much you have available to spend. 

    That's what I had to do for my dad. He had offered to pay for it, and when I asked him how much he'd be giving us, he said, "I don't know. What's a wedding cost these days?" And I didn't know, either. Haha!  So I had to find out before I could give him a number. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    SP29
  • adk19adk19
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    kaos16 said:
    adk19 said:
    I picked a number smaller than the amount I currently have in my savings account.  This is not taking into account money I can put aside until my wedding day.  This is not taking into account any contributions from my groom or anybody else in my life.  This is not taking into account money we have in our joint checking account.  I picked a number I wouldn't mind spending on a one-day party.

    Then I took one of those budget helper things and calculated everything out; if my budget is X, I should plan on spending 48% of X on food and drink.  Then I went looking for options where I could feed my guest list for my budgeted amount.  We found an interesting venue that is a little over the budgeted amount of venue plus food and drink that intrigues us because of the all-inclusive aspect of it.  We've decided that ease of planning is worth a few more dollars so we're raising our budget a little, but still I'm trying to reduce the amount I spend on other line items, like going with standard vistaprint for invitations.
    What type of place is this interesting venue?  I'm always intrigued by unusual wedding spots.
    Oh, not That kind of interesting.  It's a brewery/restaurant.  Their party room is simple and lovely.  I'm going to save a lot of money by just not having decorations and letting the space speak for itself.  And we get to take wedding photos in the actual brewery. 
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
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    There's excellent advice above, but I also want to add emphasis to the idea that you have to figure out what's important to you.
    Remember Father of the Bride (the 1992 version)? Absolutely gorgeous wedding, very expensive, with the "chipper chicken." In my world that wasn't going to fly- having great food and great booze (the top shelf a venue could offer) was most important, at the expense of extra decorations, fancy invites- hah just about anything else. 

    At the very least, start by ensuring that YOU (and partner) can afford a license and officiant, should everything go to hell in a handbasket (i.e. strings got pulled, or an emergency happened and the reception idea has to be scrapped). If you can at least afford that on your own, awesome. 
    Figure out what you're willing to spend from your savings account and what you can save towards a wedding per month (and thus, how far away the wedding should be in order to save). 

    Our parents offered several thousand dollars apiece, no strings attached besides a guest list. With their contributions plus our savings, we arrived at a budget of about $20k with another $5k of wiggle room (plan for wiggle room!). Honestly $20-$25k doesn't go that far in my area, so we planned a small-ish wedding at an all-inclusive restaurant. Despite what budget calculators try to tell you, I'd say 75% of our budget went to the all-inclusive venue with the remaining 25% to the DJ, Photographer, Officiant, and wardrobe. Very little was spent on flowers and invites. 
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    CMGragain
  • Daughter had a morning church ceremony with a brunch reception at a nearby country club.  We paid.  It was in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.  Ouch! $11,000.
    Daughter decided that the most important thing was her guest list.  She compromised on inexpensive Vistaprint invitations, no DJ, no limo, minimal flowers. 
    If you are on a strict budget, I strongly recommend this book!  https://www.amazon.com/Bridal-Bargains-Americas-best-selling-wedding-ebook/dp/B00HP5Y0MM/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490679280&sr=1-17&keywords=Budget+brides

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