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Sticker Shock- How to Create a Wedding Budget

Weddings come at a price, and while the excitement of the engagement can carry you into planning bliss, the sticker shock of weddings may leave you disheartened.  Today, we are looking at wedding budgets, and a realistic look at the hard numbers. While I wish I could tell you that you can have the wedding of your dreams for under 10k it just isn’t the case.

The average wedding cost in Chicago is $53,000, according to a survey taken in March by the Knot.  We are the second most expensive city to get married in, and girls we need to be realistic.

While there are ways to cut expenses (Look for our Ways to Save Tips Below), you want to make sure you know how much things cost.  Most Chicago vendors are not into wealing and dealing.  They have a price structure that they adhere to and you will want to know the averages before structuring your budgets.   I could literally write a book on budgets regarding guest list size, the style of the wedding and how all things contribute to your overall budget.  Let’s not forget who pays for what, there is so much that I can’t fit it into one blog post, but I do want to get you started with the basic numbers. I put together a budget based on a $75,000 budget, so that you can see how everything breaks down.  Visions uses a software with all their brides to make planning simple and effective.  I highly recommend using a software, or a spreadsheet to create a workable budget. Some things to keep in mind with any budget breakdown is that it is a template,  you can work with a planner to customize a budget that fits your priorities.  For instance, one bride may not want to only spend 2% of her budget on Stationery, so we would pull from another category that is not as important to her.  Every bride is different and so is every budget.

How to Create a Wedding Budget Percentage

To get a clear picture of your budget write out the following categories and then rate it on importance from 1-5.

  • Reception (Food/Location)
  • Ceremony
  • Attire (Not just the dress, this is your overall attire budget)
  • Flowers
  • Music
  • Photography/Videography
  • Stationery
  • Wedding Rings
  • Transportation
  • Gifts
  • Misc

To get a proper idea of the wedding industry cost, we will take a look next week at quotes from different vendors on specific categories. After you have your foundation laid for your budget you can be prepared to gather quotes and start inputting the real numbers.

Ways To Save on Your Wedding Budget-

No matter the size of your budget I always encourage brides to save where they can.  Here are some tips for saving for the wedding as well as ways to cut cost on your wedding budget.

  • Save for the Big Day-You may not have a nest egg tucked away for the big day, so start to save right after the engagement.  Save 20% of your monthly income and you should be set for the next years payments.  Some of the easiest ways to cut would be the obvious, cut back on eating out, coffee at home is just as good as Starbucks.  Get creative on the ways you can save money.  The biggest budget no no is to go into debt for your wedding.  You don’t want to start your marriage off in the red!
  • Hire a wedding planner!  I know it doesn’t sound like you would save money by hiring a wedding planner but if you hire a planner that has relationships established with quality vendors typically they can get you discounts on your services.  I always suggest hiring a planner before the venue, before you hire other vendors for this reason.  Rule of thumb is that you should be able to save the same amount you spend on your wedding planner.
  • Planning Strategies-Try to look at weddings that fall on a Friday or Sunday typically venues will give better pricing options for weddings that don’t fall on their busiest day or even season.  Years ago the most popular wedding month was June, things have shifted a bit and now it is Septemeber that gets booked up the quickest.  Keep these things in mind to save on your wedding budget.
  • Be flexible, and be willing to compromise.  This is the most important in your budget planning.  You can not expect to have a 300 person wedding in September at one of the busiest venues and stay in budget if you aren’t in the average wedding costs.  Try to consider a smaller wedding, a different venue or a different month.  Being flexible will save you tons!

Today we are giving Complimentary Budget Templates to our Readers.  Simply go to our New Bride Survey, fill out the form and you will receive a budget breakdown from one of our planners.  

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