1. Use Free Planning Tools

Did you know there are a lot of tools that can help you plan, stay organized and keep track of your budget?

theknot

wedding-wire

They both offer simple budget tracking to let you know about how much you should expect to spend in each category depending on your overall budget. When you put in your overall budget, it’ll automatically calculate how much you can expect each piece to be. That doesn’t mean you won’t take some from one category and move it to another, but it does give you a great starting point on what areas will cost the most and how to break down the pieces of everything.

These are great for letting you see things before they happen! For example, you’ll know to expect to spend some cash on your wedding dress alterations on top of the overall cost of your dress. Little details like that make a huge difference in understanding what you’ll be spending and how much you’ve got left.

Bonus Tip:Keep in mind tipping vendors isn’t typically included in budget tools.

2. Set Priorities

When you’re setting your budget, talk between the two of you about your priorities. You might find they’re a little different.

Settle on one or two things each that are the most important to you and spend your time and money there. Then you can shop around and lower the budget on alternatives items that aren’t as important to either of you.

DinnerPriorities are hard – we always want everything to be so perfect. That doesn’t mean by lowering something on the totem pole that it’s not going to be awesome. It just means that you’ll spend less energy and money there and you might have to be a little more open about what happens. For example – serving a buffet style dinner instead of a plated dinner, makes a big difference in the budget. If it’s all the same to you – opt for a buffet instead and put your budget to work for you in the areas that you have set as a higher priority!

3. Be Honest

Talk to your vendors about your budget. We’re here to help. That doesn’t mean we can make something out of a magazine happen for a few hundred dollars, but if you’re honest with us, we can certainly try to work with you to make everything align with your vision while substituting out things that don’t make it as high on your priority list.

flowerFlowers were pretty low on our priority list, so we went a totally different route and saved a bunch of money! We got handblown glass flowers for me and my bridesmaids, origami boutonnieres for the groomsmen and old liquor bottles fluted out at the top to make vases for floating candles as the centerpieces. Since we were getting married at an art museum – it was absolutely perfect for what we were looking for, and it was less expensive than ordering floral centerpieces. That worked for us – talk to your vendors, they’ll help find a solution that works for you!

4. Hire a coordinator

Hiring a coordinator can help you save money! It seems counter-intuitive, I know, but when you’ve been working with brides for years to craft, plan and carry out the ideal day, you see a lot of ideas come to life.

When you’re honest with your coordinator about your priorities (see what I did there?) we can help make them come to life. We can also give inventive and creative ideas on how to save cash in the other areas, the best places to find low-budget details (like bubbles) and how to get around things that seem “required” (like a cake stand).

I’ve been called the “MacGyver of weddings” because I’ve been working with brides for years to help, craft, and plan a solution that everyone loves.

5. Ask Questions Early

questionWhen you’re speaking to a vendor, don’t be shy about asking questions. Feel free to make a list beforehand and ask different vendors as you interview them to better understand their service and what might or might not be included in their package.

Delivery fees, secondary locations (such as a ceremony and reception), per guest costs, and more can affect your overall bill. Understanding how these play into each vendor’s process will help prepare you for the final bill and make sure you are aware of everything that’s going to be included.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “is there anything that we haven’t gone over that I should expect to see on my invoice?” That will allow your vendor to have the opportunity to warn you about anything they see that’s missing and allow you to plan for or remove any extra charges or additional items.

We’d love to hear from you about what you think! Do you have a favorite tip to share about how you’re staying in budget?