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How to make a wedding budget?

One of the issues that frazzle a couple in planning their wedding, is without a doubt the budget. Be it small, flexible or unlimited, in matters of money, it is always better to be prepared. Below is a practical guide to organize your wedding budget.

The first advice to consider when making the budget is to start calculating costs as soon as the news of the commitment is known. Planning a wedding should be done months in advance and always considering that the budget should be estimated high to avoid unforeseen expenses. The second thing to consider is to divide the budget into sections, so it will be easier to track each step. You can use different systems to classify the budget, for example, in order of priority or cost. In order to establish this, you should draw a list of things that are absolutely necessary and therefore, those that will need more budget, following the secondary costs; and finally the things that in the end can be disposed of.

The most important expenses are the priorities that cannot be missed during the wedding:

  • Space or lounge

  • Wedding dress

  • Groom's suit

  • Bouquet

  • The Rings

  • The invitations

  • Religious ceremony

  • Suppliers.

Secondary expenses include:

The expendable expenses covers:

  • Thank you cards

  • Open bar or cocktails

  • Fireworks/light show

  • Butterflies.

Tips on how to create a wedding budget

The budget of a wedding must be reflected in a document that must detail every expense. The key to planning your budget is to recognize the factors that particularly influence increasing or reducing expenses. Below are some of them:

1. Number of guests

This aspect is essential when organizing the wedding budget. The number of guests will determine a large portion of your budget, considering that event salons charge normally per attendee. The more attendees a wedding has, the more expensive it will be. Therefore, it is important to make the guest list first. If you want a wedding with great influx, you should ask yourself if you have the budget for this. If on the other hand you are not sure, you can reduce the number of people to just your family and closest friends and prepare an intimate wedding.

2. Banquet dinner, brunch or lunch

The banquet is the second aspect of the budget in which you will spend more money, so it is important to know what your limit is for this item. This decision will also depend on the place you choose, if you need catering or if it is a buffet. Do not forget that the price will be reduced or increased if it is a brunch, lunch or dinner.

3. Clothing

The wedding dress is perhaps a bigger expense compared to the groom's suit. By tradition, the wedding dress is given more importance due to its symbolism in the ceremony. As this is a more intricate expense that entails the selection of fabrics, style and personal details, it must be acquired with some time in advance. Whereas the groom's suit, whether it be tuxedo or frac, can be bought or rented a few weeks before and does not need so much time.

The key to saving on the wedding dress is always to search until finding something that will to suit both your taste and your pocket. Do not forget to add accessories such as beautiful shoes (or comfortable, depending on your style), jewelry, makeup and hairstyle. Without these elements, a wedding dress will look pale and lifeless.

4. Suppliers

In addition to the expenses already mentioned, there are others that are mostly intended for various suppliers. The most prominent are described below:

  • The wedding planner: This is the supplier that should be hired first, as they assist with the organization of the wedding and relations with other suppliers. Thanks to their help, the couple will have a worry-free event and can even obtain cheaper items or suppliers. Wedding planners generally handle the protocol, the list of confirmed guests, the order of the tables, linens, lighting and to some extent the decoration. It is very common for wedding planners to offer total decoration but it is not mandatory.

  • Floral decoration: in case the wedding planner does not offer decoration services, then the services of a decoration professional should be needed. Flower decoration is expensive, so keep in mind that in addition to labor, all decorative items usually have a high price. Always remember to agree with this supplier on a fixed price that contains service, flowers and other decorative pieces to avoid future inconveniences.

  • The photographer: to immortalize this great day, capturing the most important moments is a job that requires professional services. Photographers portray memories in an artistic way and therefore a percentage of the budget should be dedicated only to them. However, it is after the wedding when their hard work begins because they must retouch, collect and make a video and photo album of the wedding. All these expenses must be included in the original rate of this provider.

  • DJ, Band or Orchestra: The guests should enjoy the best entertainment on this great day, for this you can hire services from musicians or artists that liven up the party after the meal. The music genre will vary depending on your preferences.

  • Sound and lights: If the space or event salon has insufficient sound and light service. You can hire the sound and light services to help you get the vision of your wedding. Bear in mind that the larger the space, the more sound and lighting devices will be needed.

5. Transportation

If the reception is in a remote area, it would be good to consider the means of transportation options for your guests. Many weddings offer buses or vehicles for large groups to drive them to these locations.

6. Honeymoon

The general budget should include the honeymoon as an important expense. Sometimes this expense is not taken into account on the wedding plans and it should be as it happens right after the wedding. Its cost will vary depending on the duration and destination. The most expensive honeymoon is generally the one made abroad, while national destinations are obviously cheaper. The preferred destinations for Colombians are: San Andres, Cartagena and Santa Marta, the latter being the cheapest option. In the case of destinations outside the country, Colombians prefer to travel to places such as: Mexico, Europe or the Caribbean Islands, such as the Dominican Republic, Bahamas and Jamaica.

To choose the destination you must consider if you are traveling in high or low season, if there are cheap travel packages or if you already have a preferred destination. There are travel agencies that specialize in honeymoons and that will help you with planning and organizing all the necessary procedures to be safe on your trip.

7. Unforeseen events

In organizing the wedding budget, it is vital to allocate some money for unforeseen events. These are never missing at a wedding, especially those extras that are never included in the final prices. As we mentioned earlier, it is advisable to set prices and preconditions with suppliers that include additional expenses or damage deposits, such as a broken plate or stained linens.

However, there are things that cannot be predicted such as climate changes, transportation damages, etc. You should always consider these extras in the budget calculation, especially for outdoor weddings, destination weddings or others whose favorability depends on the weather and the season.

Always set aside some money for the extra expenses of current trending items, such as hiring dancers, photo booths or photo corners, fireworks, open bar, among others.

Extra expenses that are never contemplated in the budget

Expenses that you did not contemplate will most likely surface at some point during the preparation of the wedding. This happens because budgets are made on a day-to-day basis that does not take into account those personalized items that surface while searching for things to make a unique wedding. You will find a list of contingencies you should consider:

  • Souvenirs or gifts for guests. Although it seems like a small expense, the reality is that the souvenirs can cost a lot if you don't know how to find the best prices. Offering an original memory item does not imply sacrificing thousands of dollars, it is possible to offer sweets, boxes, mugs or candles with your wedding logo or message without spending too much.

  • Invitations and other stationery expenses. Invitations are normally contemplated as a section of the budget, but we always forget about transportation to distribute them, postal services, international shipping and the design of the invitation. There are also other stationery accessories that should be considered : thank you cards, menu of the tables, cards that accompany the souvenirs and of course the impressions of the readings that are made during the ceremony.

  • Extra furniture. Are you not satisfied with the style chairs and tables in the event salon? There is the possibility of renting this furniture from a different place but it will surely be a major expense that includes transportation and the right to use the space.

  • Uncork. Many event rooms have their own suppliers for cake or liquor. In the case that these suppliers are not to your liking, they may charge a deposit if you bring your own cake or use another supplier.

  • Extra hours. If your guests are enjoying the music and liveliness of your party, plan the additional expense of a couple of extra hours for the band or DJ, as well as for the rental of the room.

  • Taxes. Bringing your own liquors and food usually requires a surcharge or tax. In Colombia, this tax is known as the right to consumption and it is not included in the quotes unlike other taxes with VAT.

  • Hair and makeup test. This additional cost is precisely one of the most unexpected. The recommendation is to hire the stylist that offers this test within the rate.

  • Pre-wedding beauty treatments. One or two days before the wedding, brides like to pamper themselves to look more beautiful during their big day, so they do wedding baths and facials.

  • The Bachelorette Party. While this is an expense for the maid of honor or bridesmaid and other family members, consider that you should spend on a dress, shoes, transportation and other extras for this day.

  • Tips. Tips for waiters, DJs and security guards is an expense that comes at the end of your wedding day but you should always keep in mind. You cannot get angry when this is a tradition throughout the country.

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