A large portion of Utahn’s that plan to wed in 2017 are in the early stages of wedding planning, having just recently gotten engaged, so we thought this would be a great time to chat with UBB readers about wedding budgeting!
Finances are usually among the less favored of wedding discussion topics but important and necessary to pull off a big celebratory event. We say face it head on with no aversion for the best results! And we even outlined a little map to help you in doing this!
Most couples begin with a dream of what kind of wedding they want (especially the bride), and we encourage you to dream, dream, and dream some more! Go at it, this is an important first step that will help you define what YOUR dream wedding looks + feels like, and most of the time you can still achieve a look + feel if you are not entirely up in the clouds but dreaming with some reality in mind. When you open those dreaming eyes to take a look at finances keep an open mind and be willing to do a bit of digging + research. The ‘who’s’ of the world say knowledge is power so its time to arm yourself with the power to set a budget and hopefully keep it!
So let’s answer right off the bat one important question that may help you set a budget that you can then customize, most wedding cost researchers are reporting that the average wedding in the US is costing between $30k-$35k with some polling UT specifically at around that same rate. We here at UBB have our hand in enough UT based weddings that we think our state is all across the map when it comes to budget, we could fit that average US cost easily but we also have a lot of brides coming into UT planning high end destination weddings and many who are opting for smaller celebrations and even mountain elopements that cost very little.
One cost researcher, Value Penguin, recently quoted that UT is actually among the lower cost per wedding rates in the country, something closer to the $13k mark. And we think a good number of UT couples do spend around this cost, especially given some cultural influences here in this state that reduce costs. But with varying numbers and input what is the average cost? We think it likely sits in the $15-$17K range for most UT couples.
Now that you have a general idea of what to expect a wedding to cost here in UT and hopefully you have more than a general idea of what kind of wedding you want to have you can sit down and start talking dollars with your fiance and contributing family members. It’s important to be honest and real about what you can afford up front, this will cut down on frustration down the road, be clear about it and endeavor to work together to talk to any other contributing parties. Speaking of contributing parties ….
Talking to the parents can be a difficult and some even say an awkward conversation to have but it could pay off … literally. Sit down and in a respectful way hear out any contributor on what they can or cannot do. Some families want to pay for specific elements of the big day, others want to contribute a set amount of money, and furthermore some cannot contribute at all. This will help you to define what you need to do with your budget and what areas to focus your financial attention on. Most parents want to do all they can to support in the celebration of union.
While you are talking to the parents about finances you might also want to talk with them about another number, your guest list. Getting a comprehensive list to work with way before invites are ready when you are in the beginning stages of budget setting will help you just as much as the dollar amount figure out what you can and cannot do. So each family and the bride + groom need to sit down and punch out the must haves when it comes to people attending.
There are even some online sources that can help you determine these numbers and do the math for you if you can answer a few preliminary questions.
Next the two of you need to set some priorities when it comes to your celebration, what is important to you? Maybe sit down separately and punch out your top 3-5 things that matter and then sit down together and pair up those lists to come up with the top 3-5 for you as a couple. This could be entertainment, or what you feed your guests, maybe it is fashion and what you look like on the big day, or where you go on your honeymoon. We always recommend that photography/film be among the top priorities and where valuable money is spent and returned to you full fold, this is all you will have left at the end of it all so documentation is key!
If you have your top 3-5 areas of importance you can then start doing some more specific research into companies + professionals that could help you with those priorities and come to understand what kind of expense that will incur. Look for vendors that can help you maximize what you are spending + deliver quality.
Now re-evaluate – can you spend more, do you need to spend less, how does this change the picture? We think getting organized here is key, use excel or another organizational tool to help you look at numbers and define that budget along with bids + costs of goods. This will also help you be accountable + responsible through the process.
From here you should have a pretty accurate gauge of what you can spend and should spend and where. This will help you book the right vendors and put the money where it will benefit you as a couple most. The budget will require you to be fluid in some areas, build in an emergency or overage fund to cover unforeseen expenses and remember that some things will cost less while others will cost more, you may need to move funds around but be strategic about it!
And at the end of every day during the process, and especially on the day you finally say I do, remember that having a budget is important, helpful, and necessary but what is really important is you as a couple ending up happy + celebrating with all the people you want to be around you celebrating too.
so to recap
- dream dream dream
- research + get some knowledge
- discuss + set a budget to begin with
- create more numbers, guest list!
- do specific research
- reevaluate + organize
- book vendors + strategize
- celebrate with the most important people
Have a great weekend!