A wedding budget is an integral part of planning a Milwaukee wedding—but it doesn’t have to be a complicated part! These wedding budgets tips are just the ticket for any Milwaukee couple serious about setting, trimming, and tracking their wedding costs.
Setting a Wedding Budget
Talk with your fiancé.
The first step of setting a wedding budget—a chat with your fiancé!—may surprise you, but it’s one of the most important parts of wedding planning. Your discussion can focus on the wedding budget or be an opportunity to ask key wedding planning questions (including the budget). Either way, you need to discuss:
- how much you have available for the wedding,
- how you are planning to pay for it,
- if there are any friends or family that have expressed an interest in helping financially,
- your current finances (i.e. savings, credit card debt, student loans, etc.)
This is your chance to discuss your finances! Once you are on the same page about the total wedding budget, it’s time to choose a wedding budget checklist or wedding planning app that you can use to divvy up your budget into columns where the funds are needed. (More than 40% of your budget should be allocated for the venue, food, and other hospitality.)
Have key discussions with family members.
If any friends or family members have offered to help financially, talk to them about their gift before you start wedding planning. Your discussion should include the specific amount of the gift (not just “food” or “wedding favors”) so there are no misunderstandings later about the gift (and to keep your wedding budget on track).
Use a cost per guests as a guide.
Once you have set a total wedding budget (including friends and family gifts), determine the cost-per-guest. You can do this by adding together your estimated venue, caterer, and entertainment costs. (You can get an estimate of charges by contacting a potential wedding venue.) Once you have an estimated cost-per-guest, multiply that number by your estimated guest count. The estimated cost-per-guest helps you settle on a guest count that fits within your total hospitality budget (i.e. venue, entertainment, food). Remember, there are going to be other costs, such as your attire and wedding favors, so your total hospitality budget should be less than your total wedding budget.
Ways to Trim Your Wedding Budget
Choose a wedding venue that’s stunning.
This may sound like an odd way to keep wedding costs down. Simply, a stunning wedding venue can keep décor costs down because it doesn’t need extensive lighting and wedding décor. These wedding venues may be within budget, so don’t count a venue out until you’ve inquired about the price.
Trim your guest list.
This wedding budget tip seems obvious, but does come with a caveat. If you need to trim your wedding budget, consider trimming your guest list. (Use these tips for a less stressful guest list trim.) The caveat is that some wedding vendors offer discounts for larger guest counts. In these cases, it may make sense to add a few more guests to the list. (Use these tips for crafting the perfect guest list for your Milwaukee wedding.)
Hold your wedding on an “off day.”
Wedding venues and vendors often give discounts for non-weekend days and during months that aren’t popular with couples. Basically, it’s often less expensive to hold your wedding from Monday to Thursday, or in a month like January or August. You can get an estimate by contacting the venue with potential dates and few key wedding venue questions.
Consider a wedding venue with an open vendor policy.
Some wedding venues require couples to use certain catering and photography/videography services, while other venues allow couples to bring in vendors of their choice (an “open vendor policy“). The latter policy gives couples the chance to bring in favorite vendors and to choose a vendor that fits within their wedding budget.
Choose in-season flowers.
Bouquets and floral arrangement costs can add up quickly—especially if those flowers are considered off-season. For example, lilies are typically more expensive in early spring than during summer. Often, a simple change to in-season flowers can trim the price tag, while still creating an absolutely beautiful effect.
Select a less-expensive dinner service.
Another easy way to trim costs from a Milwaukee wedding is to change to a less-expensive dinner service. There are typically three kinds of dinner service: sit-down, buffet, and food stations. The sit-down option is usually the most expensive, and a change to a buffet or other food service can lessen wedding costs.
Be smart about wedding favors.
Wedding favors are a sweet gift from couples to guests, but the cost-per-item can quickly add up. If you need to trim the budget, consider a less expensive wedding favor or simply order less. The latter can be an easy way to cut costs and keep you from having to find a home for extra favors.
Tips for Tracking Your Wedding Budget
Set up a solid tracking system.
Just like wedding planning, a wedding budget is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s important to set up a system that not only sets the budget but tracks it before and after the wedding day. Couples who prefer paper can use a wedding budget worksheet and a folder or binder to keep receipts. Another option is to use an awesome wedding planning app that you can enter the budget and expenses in. Either way, it’s important to continually add expenses as you plan.
Ask for final quotes before your big day.
Wedding expenses add up very quickly. It can be easy to get an unpleasant surprise—a huge bill or additional fee—after your wedding day. Whenever possible, choose a wedding venue or vendor who can give you a final quote with all your costs before your wedding. This simple step makes it easy to cut expenses so you can stay within budget and still enjoy the Milwaukee wedding of your dreams.