Thursday, October 1, 2009

The B Word...

...Budget. I hadn't gotten around to blogging about our budget, yet, but I think it's a pretty central part to our planning process. We are planning a wedding with close to 300 guests for under $7,000. Yes, you read that correctly. Think we're crazy? Maybe. But I'm excited for the challenge!

We both knew we didn't want to spend a crazy amount on our wedding. My parents are contributing the majority of our budget (which we're so thankful for!) and they've made so many sacrifices for me throughout my life already. At the same time, I really didn't want to give up on my dream of getting married on a Saturday afternoon/evening. I just had my heart set on that, for some reason. And as June is one of the most popular wedding months, I knew our date was one of the most expensive times. But, we've figured out a way:

16% is going towards our reception hall - This includes the use of the building all day on Saturday until 1 AM, the opportunity to decorate on Friday, all of the chairs and tables, use of the projection moniters and video/audio equipment to play slideshows, access to a service kitchen, and a parking lot attendant.

18% is going towards our photographer - I blogged about our photographer here. I knew photography would be a big chunk of our budget because it was the most important expense to me. I am thrilled with our photographer, so it's totally worth it. (Be sure to check out her website!) We're getting 6 hours of shooting time, a photo box including 75 4x6 prints, 1 8x10, 1 5x7, and most importantly, a CD of the photos with a copyright release!

14% is going towards our DJ - This includes 5 hours of music, 2 DJs, floor lighting, and because we booked them at a bridal fair, uplighting in our colors to go along the walls. (We may end up adding a couple more uplights). We loved the DJ we talked with at the bridal fair and we were actually able to specify that we wanted him as one of the DJs at our wedding!

9% is going towards alcohol - We won't be having a totally open bar, but will have beer, wine, 2 signature drinks, and champagne for the toasts. We still need to decide on exactly what we'll be offering, but my dad is adamantly against a cash bar as his side of the family is German and associates weddings with drinking. :)

7% is going towards food - I'm sure you're wondering how that works. My family (and possibly a couple of David's relatives) will be cooking all of the food. I loove my family's cooking, but we were originally worried it would be too much of a burden and started to look into caterers. However, my dad told me a few weeks later that my grandpa is already planning on doing the cooking. We are SO thankful for this!!

7% was budgeted for my dress, but I was slightly under budget which was nice! And I don't need any alterations - Just a bustle, which I'll be having a woman my FSIL referred me to do rather than David's Bridal.

7% is going towards save the dates, invitations, thank yous, and postage. All of these will by DIY (except maybe the thank yous, which we may be using a gift certificate for).

6% is going towards tuxes for David, all of the groomsmen, and both dads. David's covering the rental cost for all of them.

4% is budgeted towards the "rental" of the church and the gift to the pastor that's officiating/doing our premarital counseling.

4% is budgeted towards favors - The donations we're making in honor of our guests.

4% is going towards cake and flowers - I have yet to blog about our flowers, but they're another DIY project. This is another area we're saving a huge amount of money in.

4% is budgeted towards decor - This includes all my DIY decor projects, the centerpieces, table clothes, etc. We may be over budget on this by the end because I'm buying everything over an extended period of time, and I'm covering this area.

Ok, hopefully that wasn't too confusing. David is crazy with Excel, so he made us a spreadsheet for all that. I can definitely post it if anyone is interested. It's divided into contracts (reception hall, DJ, photographer, etc - things with deposits and remaining balances) and expenses (alcohol, decor, invitations, postage, etc - things we pay up front) with a detailed sheet for each and then a summary sheet. I'm not great with spreadsheets, but it's pretty easy for me to understand, so let me know if you're interested in using it!

Are you sticking to a strict budget? If so, how did you decide on it? And do you see it as a burden or a challenge?


  1. We are still deciding where are money is going too so this is helpful I want to get organized but don't have much to put into categories yet. This was helpful.

  2. We have a budget, we just haven't broken it down into percentages yet. How awesome that your family is cooking for you! The caterer turned out to be a big chunk for us, because our guest list is at 320 right now (!!!). My fiance's in charge of the budget, I'll have to have him break it down into percentages for me just to see.

  3. I definitely approached it as a challenge...and ours was a bit larger than yours. I'm the crazy with Excel person in our duo and that sheet gets updated daily with all expenses...and those little things add up quick!


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