Finalizing our budget had to be the hardest thing for us to do for a multitude of reasons. One of the main reasons being neither Mr. Scooter nor I have had to really consider one another when making financial decisions. When Mr. Scooter wanted to spend a ridiculous amount of his hard earned money on ONE golf club…I had no say in it. Although I had my personal opinions, I kept them to myself since I didn’t want him to comment on my frequent runs to get outfits. Shortly after Before even getting engaged, I started researching activities to do once you are engaged. My search engine was filled with “you’re engaged, now what” or “top 10 things to do after your engagement.” I wasn’t surprised that every one said SET A BUDGET! So now, we had to decide how our money would be used…interesting.
OK, that is simple enough…right? Well, for me it wasn’t. If you are a newly engaged person (or soon to be) don’t feel bad if you don’t have a starting point to creating a budget, the Scooters were in the same boat. So I want to walk you through how we created our budget.
- Research percentage breakdown of weddings. We researched the typical standard percentage breakdown of the average wedding. This allowed us to understand the baseline of what has been spent. Since we are both analytical people, we want to easily be able to know if we are getting a “bargain” by going with one option or another. We used free resources from websites like The Knot and Cost of Wedding.
- Add to the list provided by the online resources. So now that we had an idea of large “buckets” that comprise a wedding, we sat down to see if there were any obvious sections we thought we should add. After all, it is going to be our wedding and we wanted to have a comprehensive list of what we want. We actually didn’t add anything to the list. Instead, we made notes of what should be included in a section. (For example, we will put the photo booth in with the entertainment/music.)
- Prioritize the list and adjust percentage accordingly. After the list is compiled, we then prioritized the list. This actually helped in creating our theme. Since flowers were not that important, we were both OK with slashing the flowers budget because we would only need them for the ceremony. This gave us the latitude to tell people “We are going to have a flowerless reception.” Conversely, we found that cocktail and dinner (read: bar package) was really important. We also knew that would come with a hefty price tag, so we decided to increase our reception/ceremony percentage. We also kept items like miscellaneous and “just in case” because things come up and we don’t want those thing to break our budget drastically.
- Determine if you will have any help paying. In order to get an accurate picture of what you are working with, you have to know if any family members are going to help with it. The Scooters went into the planning process with the intention of paying for it by ourselves. **news alert** I am somewhat of a control freak, so I didn’t want to accept money and then have to deal with people’s opinions. Funny thing happened after we started planning our big day—both of our families agreed to put money toward our event. Papa Scooter’s contribution really caught us off guard. It was given as a “here is a lump sum, do with it what you want, just remember a wedding is one day and a marriage is a lifetime.” That was sound advice and I have taken it to heart. Like Papa Scooter, Mr. Scooter’s parents graciously agreed to give us money to use as we wanted.
- Pick a figure that you can live with. We reviewed our long-term financial goals to pick the big number. As cliché as this sounds, we had to determine if we were willing to spend our proverbial “last dime” on this wedding. It was an easy decision for us that we wanted a quality experience for our wedding guests, but it was/is more important that our marriage be set up for success, which meant that we needed to reserve money after paying wedding expenses to go toward paying off debt.
- Populate your spreadsheet. Adjust your percentage breakdown (step one) based on your prioritized list (step two) to fall within your final amount (step five).
- Review the final budget to see if you can live with it.
I created a few picture to give you an idea of what we did. This is not our final budget number (I am going to save that for the recaps), but the percentage breakdowns are our forecasts.
We have used this budget for a number of reasons, aside from obviously keeping us on track. We used it when meeting with our wedding planner. This budget provided a better example of what we wanted and what was important to us. It is also useful when you have family and friends who want to help in some aspect of the wedding; you can easily inform them of the task as well as price range they have to stay in.
How did you come up with your budget? Was it hard?
Scooting off for now,