6 top tips to set your wedding budget
Finances are one of the most important aspects of planning a wedding, and often the most stressful too. But they don't have to be! We urge you to set a budget at the outset and have an upfront conversation with anyone generously contributing to your wedding to get a definitive figure.
"We have full logistics meetings at the beginning of the planning process and throughout to make sure couples are spending within their means, and spending what they’re spending wisely," explains Kirsten Rezek from Toronto-based wedding planner and Fine Art Curation member, Nobl Events. Allocation of finances to all the different vendors is half the battle so we asked Kirsten to share her six top tips for setting a wedding budget before the planning begins.
1. Get clear on the basics
Do not book or plan anything until you’ve established three things: your budget, who is going to be contributing, how long your engagement will last.
2. Be realistic
Be realistic about your guest list. If you have a budget of $80,000 but 300 guests that $80k will not stretch very far. If you have that same budget but 50 guests, you’re going to be able to create a very different experience.
3. Book your venue first
Book your venue before anything else! If your venue doesn’t have an in-house caterer, book them next. Your food and beverage costs will typically be the largest portion of your budget (around 45-50%). Ask yourself what you want to pay per head and book your venue based on this calculation; it will inform all of your other decisions.
4. Priortize your vendors
Once you have your venue booked, ask yourself what your next priorities are. Allocate healthy budgets for these items. Here are examples of percentages you should expect to spend on the top categories:
- Planner: 10-15% (average cost for full planning $7-$10K)
- Photographer and videographer: 10-15% (average cost for 10 hrs of coverage, 2 shooters, $7-$10K per team)
- Florals and rentals: 7-15% (costs here vary on the couple, what your venue provides in house and overall aesthetic; our couples typically spend between $4-$10K on rentals for a venue wedding depending on guest size and $8-$20k on flowers )
- Attire, hair and make-up: 10-15% (average costs for hair and makeup artist fees without airbrushing $200-$400 per service)
- Stationery: 2-5% (costs here vary on the couple; our couples typically spend between $3-6K on their invitation suites and another $3-$6K on day-of stationery including big installations like seating charts or escort walls)
- Music and entertainment: 8-12%
- Gifts: 2-3%
- Transportation: 2-3%
5. Include a contingency budget
Add a small contingency budget outside of your overall budget. This pocket of money only exists to cover discretionary expenses that may come up as you design and plan your wedding. So many times couples see themselves go over budget in the decor, floral and overall look department of the day. If this is something you think could happen, speak with your contributing financial members of the planning team and set a discretionary cap you’re all comfortable with.
6. Keep your expectations in check
It's important to stick to the budget you create. Planners can only do so much in helping you keep to a budget if A) you keep moving the goal post, B) you have unrealistic expectations. So once you set your budget, set a guest list appropriate to said budget and your experiential expectations, get everyone on the same page and stick to your financial parameters. This is crucial to a happy and stress-free experience with no surprises!
Planning, design and coordination: Nobl Events | Photography: Lisa Vigliotta Photography | Second Shooter: Josiah Chang | Venue: The Ruby Manor | Invitations and Stationery: Olumis Calligraphy | Flowers: May Flowers | Cake: Love In Bloom Cakes | Macarons: Baked by Mysh | Dress Milla Nova via Toujour Bridal | Linens: Nobl Events | Tablescape pieces: Table Tales | Vintage antiques and furnishings: Glamorous Affairs | HMUA: Fayesmith Agency | Model Bride: Isabella Vigliotta | Model Groom: Kealen McLaughlin | Bridal accessories: The Loved Ones | Engagement Ring: Meg Lizabet Jewellery