Connecticut

Budget!!

Hello ladies,
Many things that I've read say that the budget is the first wedding planning task that has to be tackled.
Unfortunately, I didn't do that...!! I didn't know how much things would cost, so I decided to make a budget as I went!! Most things are costing more than I imagined.
Anyway, my question is: 1) Did you make a budget and stick to it? Or did you make a budget as you went?? 2) Did you make exceptions to your budget?? Or were you able to find vendors/venues to work within your budget??
That's all for now!! Thanks for your help!!

Re: Budget!!

  • For the most part, I made a budget beforehand and stuck to it, and found everything to work within my budget. Sometimes, things were less than I budgeted so I took that money and applied it to something that I wanted to improve on- i.e I budgeted $1100 for a DJ, my DJ was much less than that, so I took the difference and applied it to something I didn't realize would cost so much, like flowers.
  • lfreeman24lfreeman24 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited January 2012
    I kind of did a little of both. We created a budget and then created kind of an absolute max so that way if things came in over budget I knew just how far we could go with out stretching ourselves. I  agree with pp about taking money for things that are under and applying to others that you wanted to upgrade. Then there are some things where I was totally fine with going over budget, for example my wedding dress was more than I had expected but it was "the one" so i justified it. For me i am fine with going over when its really the only thing I want, so long as I don't break the bank/spend more than we can on it! 

    But I totally agree some things cost so much more than you could EVER imagine! 
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  • We didn't really have a fixed budget.  For each vendor, I had an idea about how much we wanted to spend but little things kept adding up and it was really hard to stay within budget. 
    We planned/saved for 2 years so that really helped.  My parents and DH's parents also helped out where they could so we were able to splurge on certain things.

  • We created a general budget, as well as divided the budget among the different things I wanted to spend money on. I put more money in things I wanted most (photography, venue location) and less in things I didn't care about as much (invitations and wedding cake). 

    Even when I was under budget with some vendors, I still tried to stay under budget for other vendors... though I did let my budgets get a little more flexible.

    If you're spending more money than planned, I would DEFINITELY create a solid budget now. It would be awful if you got a whole bunch of great vendors and then realized you couldn't really afford them!
  • We created a budget, but then everything seemed to be so much more than we thought, and we got enticed by so many additional things....we have gone way over budget! In all of the things I have left to do...I am planning on cutting as much costs as possible. I have also cut back on my shopping habits and am trying to save as much money as possible!
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  • Carebear62584Carebear62584 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited January 2012
    We kinda budgeted as we went and it's working out well so far.

    -First we booked our venue and our parents wanted to keep it under $100/pp since they were paying.  The one and only  venue we looked at and loved came in at $104/pp which included tax, gratuity, open bar, cake, venetian table.  Those are all things we expected to pay extra for. 

    -We knew we wanted our photographer so we didn't care how much he cost. 

    -Then we looked at DJ's.  The first 2 we met with came in at about $1700.  DJ Melee came in much lower than that so we saved money there. 

    -Most MUA's and hairstylists are in the same range, but again, I knew who I wanted from previous experiences.

    -Last we booked our florist.  She came in a little higher than we expected but we had no idea what we wanted.  After we figured out what we wanted it she told us it will come in at what we expected. 

    -The first dress I was debating on was at the top of my budget but I didn't LOVE it.  My cousin and my aunt did.  I went back another time with my mom and FMIL and tried on more dresses and the one I LOVED came in about $500 less than my budget so alterations should be within my budget too (I haven't gotten the discount yet for BM's getting their dresses there).  And my shoes only cost $32 so that was also a great deal.

    -We are spending a little more on favors than we planned. 

    -Gifts for BM's and GM's are coming in at about what we expected.  I got the girls' jewelry for pretty cheap because I had a Lia Sophia party so I got the perks of hosting a party.  We got the GM's ties as Macy's when they were buy 1 get one free and I had a 20% off coupon, plus Macy's rewards because we registered there.

    -Our honeymoon is also a splurge we wanted from the get-go because we knew it would probably be our only chance to go to Hawaii. It's always been my dream vacation and FI has always wanted to go too so we decided this would be the best time.

    Edit:  Forgot to include my dress/shoes.
  • We def have one, and just because I am an organization freak, I made an elaborate spreadsheet and keep track of everything we buy.  We have a budget and that's important for us because we only want to spend a certain amount on our wedding, and I think we could easily go overboard with things "just because" we have the $$.  I want our wedding day to be special and it absolutly is, but I don't want to wash out our savings either.  And like some pp say, it's pretty easy to find something that fits your budget when you make something, from photogs to guestbooks!!
  • I don't have a budget because
    1.- my parents are paying for the wedding.
    2.- I am having a very small wedding.

    abc
  • I would definitely suggest making a budget, but I'm OCD about those things and have a spreadsheet of how much I want to spend, how much I spent, how much I still owe my vendors, etc. First I figured out the max I would spend on everything, then figured out how much I could spend per person for the venue, then budgeted everything else. We're paying for our wedding ourselves so it was important that we don't go over our budget. So far, so good!! You can always tell vendors that you're on a tight budget and they can try to work with you. If they can't, keep looking, there is something out there for everybody.
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  • We were able to find some vendors willing to work with us!  So, don't give up!  Others, not so much! I had a budget that I started with and, in the end, I think we'll be really close!  Good luck!!!

  • We looked at all the different things we'd need, drew up a realistic budget based on real estimates from real vendors, and we've stuck to it pretty closely, though we've juggled numbers (an extra $500 here, so cut $200 from this and $300 from that).

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    Anniversary

  • Budget was key to start off with along with guest counts etc. We definitely went over budget, but there were some things (DJ/entertainment & photography) that we knew we wanted top shelf on! Others we decided to scale back on, but overall things are pricey for a wedding! But there is room to try to negotiate!

    GL!
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  • I did make a budget before everything.  There were some things, however, that I decided were going to be over my budget.  One of these was photography.  Initially, I wanted my photog budget to be $1800, but actual costs were $2800.  I didn't mind going over because photography is probably the most important thing to me for the entire wedding.  Right now as we stand with almost everything booked, we are about $150 over budget total, however that does not include our HM that I just booked which I originally thought I would include in our total budget.  If you count the HM (which I got $400 under our HM budget), we are about $2750 over budget.

    I would make a budget to start, and it's probably more realistic to have a range of where you want to be.  Sometimes $100 over budget gets you exactly what you envisioned and in my mind with the right vendor, that's worth it.
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  • jacki8788jacki8788 member
    100 Comments
    edited January 2012
    When we first started planning (over a year ago) we had NO idea what things actually cost. FI's initial "budget" was almost half of what we're actually going to be spending, lol. And we're definitely not getting the most expensive vendors or anything--wedding stuff is just expensive in general. We weren't really able to get a somewhat-accurate budget in place until after we started looking at a bunch of ceremony/recpetion sites, because we realized the places we both liked cost more than we were originally hoping to spend. As we went along, most things seemed to cost more than we expected, but we were able to save/negotiate on certain things.

    Get an idea of what things cost in relation to what's most important to you (e.g. do you absolutely need that $4000 photographer, or do you like the $2000 one just as much?). Consider how much you can really afford/want to spend on things, and also find out whether anyone else is planning to help you guys out financially. It sounds like you're already in the middle of planning, so definitely do some research and get a realistic budget in mind--and try your best to stick to it.
    Once you start going over budget, it's easy to keep saying "Oh, it's just a few hundred dollars more..." but those hundreds add up quickly.

    There's even a budgetting tool on The Knot--I think it's somewhere under the "My Knot" section. You put in your total budget, and it will break it down and show you what you can expect to spend for each category. (not 100% accurate of course, but it's good at giving you a general idea to go off of.) Good luck!!
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  • We had a general budget in mind.  Then we prioritized our vendors and what we really cared about (these are things I didn't mind spending a bit more on) and booked them first (for us it was venue and photographer) then we looked at what we had left and tried to work in that budget.  That being said we are probably going to end 5000 over (although we have the wiggle room to do that) but I tried to stick to my budget as much as possible.  Things I didn't care about as much I tried to find good deals to make it work.  Good luck!
  • We overbudgeted: basically decide what is the most we are willing to spend (since we paid everything ourselves) and then allocate and researched the typical cost and whether we can get certain services/vendors cheaper or go DIY.  We ended up staying under budget and still have a beautiful wedding :)

    I would definitely recommend allocate most of your money in the venue and the photographer and maybe videographer.  But again it really depends on what's most important to you.

    At the end of the day you will be too busy on the day-of to care about all the other details :)  You want something you can remember AFTER the wedding.
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