Each KJ and Co. client starts out with 4 tried and true worksheets. By far, the most important of these is their wedding budget spreadsheet. There's a lot of research and experience behind the numbers I allot to each category, lest you think the complicated cell formulas do all the work. I take time to consider each wedding's budget, details, and wishlist carefully before the spreadsheet heads off in to cyber space to my clients.
Unfortunately not every couple has my help - or my help soon enough! Here are some of the biggest budget blunders brides are making on a regular basis:
Splurge On Your Gown
"Say Yes To The Dress" has most of us starry-eyed and pining for a Kleinfeld's moment, complete with couture heels and a custom veil, but it's not in the cards for a lot of us. Depending who has generously offered to pay for your gown, it's vital to confirm whether or not the funds for your dress (and what about accessories!) are a part of the overall wedding budget or considered separate. Shop accordingly. Splurging on an expensive gown when your budget can afford something at a fraction of the cost is going to eat in to funds that would be better spent for all of your guests to enjoy. All those zeroes might go a lot further to cover a delicious dessert course or the all important open bar. Would you rather have the $8,000 Pnina Tornai and let your guests fend for themselves at a cash bar? I hope not.
Call ahead to bridal boutiques to discuss your wedding wardrobe budget before booking appointments, in order to make sure they're a good fit. Take time to research in advance, and save yourself the heartache later. If you're having trouble finding something in your price range, consider consignment stores, sample sales or even custom!
Choose Professionals Before Settling On A Budget
I don't blame you for falling in love with a certain venue, or swooning over a pricey photographer. There is so much eye candy on Instagram and I'm willing to bet you've been creeping along well before your engagement. But pump those breaks! If you jump the gun and sign on the dotted line for one your faves before you've nailed down your budget then you might seriously overspend in one category, making it next to impossible to afford your wishlist items in another. This is a huge source of disappointment. Couples regularly overextend themselves for a jaw-dropping venue and then they have to penny pinch on all the other details, foregoing services like cinematography or decor rentals they badly wanted.
To avoid this pitfall, confirm a realistic budget with your partner and parents (or other VIPs who wish to contribute) and work out how much you have to spend in each category well before booking. (A good rule of thumb is about 45% for your venue, food and drink combined.) Once the budget is set, begin your research. If you're not happy with the options you're finding in your price range, maybe it's time to reconsider the budget or slash the guest list.
Pull Your Budget Out Of Thin Air
According to the internet, the average wedding costs about $30,000. In my experience, most couples do not want the "average" wedding. Googling where to cap your spending is definitely not a reliable method to set a realistic budget. An overall amount suggested on the internet likely doesn't take in to account several must-haves you're considering, the size of your guest list, or the region you're planning to host in. It's a common mistake to set the budget with out knowing whether or not that amount can accommodate the wedding you've always imagined. Most couples are surprised by the realistic expense of their dream wedding, compared to the amount they had hoped to spend. That 3-course plated dinner, along with lush centrepieces, rented linens and chairs, not to mention essentials like a fabulous photographer and music. It adds up fast. Like mentioned before, have the awkward but oh-so-necessary budget talk with the important parties to see what numbers you're working with and take some time to research prices for what you would like before you really dive in and start signing contracts and writing cheques.
If you're totally at a loss for your budget or lacking time to do the research, consider booking KJ and Co. for an hourly consult. Or even better, book a planning package and get your hands on those awesome worksheets I mentioned and have budget advice from the get go!