Adventures In Wedding Planning – What’s Your Budget?

Hey, Lovebirds!

Now that you’ve showed off that beautiful ring to anyone and everyone, it’s time to come back to reality. Weddings are expensive. Let me just get out that there from the get-go. You’re going to be forking over a ton of money for ONE DAY’S REVELRY.

It’s up to you how you want to do it. Some couples what the whole shebang. Some couples prefer low key, backyard boogies. I wanted the whole shebang PLUS some Chinese Lion Dancing thrown in for good measure.


image from site dot advantagebridal dot com
This pic, btw, is SO TRUE!!! Omg…

From CostOfWedding, here’s some figures for you to wrap your head around :

On average, US couples spend $25,631 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $19,223 and $32,039. This does not include cost for a honeymoon. Understanding wedding cost now can help you with your wedding budget later.

On average, couples that live in Los Angeles, CA spend between $22,347 and $37,245 total for Average Wedding Cost. The totals above are based on the average number of guests estimated between 130 and 144. A single guest could add between $196 and $239 to the overall cost of your wedding. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services.

On average, couples that live in Indian Wells, CA spend between $31,574 and $52,624 total for Average Wedding Cost. The totals above are based on the average number of guests estimated between 141 and 155. A single guest could add between $256 and $313 to the overall cost of your wedding. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services.

Don’t worry. We’re going to tackle the honeymoon later. Let’s keep our focus on your wedding budget for now.

The reason I made a point to differentiate Indian Wells, CA from the rest of the US and Los Angeles is because that’s where we got married. Our initial budget was $18,000. We ended up spending about $27,000 for almost 170 people (over 180 once you factor in our vendors). Not bad, right? Quick tip now – whatever your budget is, add another $10,000 because there will ALWAYS be costs you didn’t think about even though you tried your hardest to foresee every single possible cost.

While it’s great to dream big and reach for the stars, you have to know how much it’s going to cost you to get there. I’m not saying “Don’t do it”. I’m also not saying “You can’t do it”. I’m saying ” Plan well on how you’re going to get there”.

That means you have to do something pretty painful – plan your budget. Money is something that most couples find very difficult to talk about. It wasn’t the easiest thing for Clyde and I to talk about but we did it. We bared our financial skeletons for each other to see (credit card bills, department store credit card bills, student loans, car payments, insurance, etc etc etc), disclosed how much we made and then started crunching numbers.

Here’s the thing about talking finances and money with your partner. It’s a lot like having sex for the first time. It’s awkward at first, it’s painful and you don’t know if you’re doing it right. BUT, with enough practice, communication, understanding and love for one another, it gets easier and easier and then you feel better and better about it. Pretty soon, you’ll be unstoppable!!

Clyde and I have bi-annual budget meetings. We started this habit when we got engaged. We made detailed lists of EVERYTHING we spend money on in terms of regularly occurring bills + REASONABLE allowances for the necessities (food and gas) and subtracted that from our monthly paychecks.

That was how much we could save for our wedding. That’s how we came up with our budget. We did NOT factor in extras like tax refunds, working overtime, garage sales, selling stuff on eBay and work bonuses. We decided to under-estimate what we could afford. We figured it was better to lowball and have money extra than to overestimate and be stuck with bills we can’t pay.

What we also did was open a joint checking account. We called it the Wedding Account but agreed that it would be the account from which we would pay all of our bills from after we get married.

The Wedding Account’s purpose was to hold all the money we would AUTOMATICALLY deposit from every paycheck to cover our budget goals. Any extra money we had left over from our individual accounts after our monthly allowance would also go into the Wedding Account. This account would be the one we would use to cut checks to our vendors and use as deposits. This worked out GREAT!

So, in step by step format, here’s what you need to do to come up with your budget :

  • Have an OPEN AND HONEST talk with the person you’re marrying about your finances.

  • Do NOT judge each other or be hostile. This is not a good start for your marriage.
  • Be open minded and accepting.
  • Each person takes out a sheet of paper.
  • Figure out how much money flows out in terms of bills, what they are and list them.
  • Add them all up.
  • Figure out how much you need per month for food and gas. Add that to the amount you pay for bills every month.
  • It’s important that you both have a little money set aside each month for little treats for yourselves. You’re saving for a major purchase (your wedding), but you’re still human and need little treats every now and then. A mani-pedi is a treat. A weekend get-away to a 5 star resort is not. Know the difference.
  • List how much you make per month.
  • Subtract the amount you owe every month / your necessities cost from what you make.
  • Add your amount with your partner’s amount.
  • That’s how much you have to save every month for your wedding.
  • Multiply that amount by the months you have before the month you get married. For example, it’s May now. Say you get married next August. You add up the months up to next July. You don’t count next August, the month you’re getting married, because most vendors require payment in full prior to the wedding.
  • Open a joint account that has free checking.
  • Designate one person to be in charge of the budget.
  • Talk to each other about every single thing you’re using that account to purchase PRIOR to purchase. This is what I mean about keeping lines of communication open.
  • Get together about once a month to make sure you’re still on target.
  • Every penny you have extra from your personal accounts should be deposited into the Wedding Account.

Till next time!

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