What Do I Need to Include In My Wedding Budget?

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, Ben and I are finally in our house.  Even though we aren’t completely unpacked, we are in a place where we can now focus on other things, including our wedding.

I’ve told a lot of my friends it was a probably a bad idea to do both of these things in the same year. Not only because of the amount stress but for the toll both of these events have taken our savings. (We are paying for the house and the wedding ourselves.)

In order to save money and relieve some of the stress, we’ve split our wedding into two events. We’re having a small ceremony with our immediate family this year, and then we are having a bigger celebration/party next year.

Even though the ceremony this year will be very intimate, it still has involved a lot more planning than I expected. And it’s made me really feel for my friends who have planned bigger weddings and receptions all at one time.

Luckily I’ve had some great insight from friends and found really helpful information on the web. In the spirit of paying it forward, I wanted to pass on our budget framework for those of you planning a small wedding too. Here are things that we have had to budget for:

  • Venue – Despite having a small wedding, we are holding the ceremony in an event space, so we had to book and pay a deposit for the venue. A word to the wise to those of you just starting your planning, make sure to request your venue far in advance. They book up quickly.  And a lot of them require a deposit right away or within a short time frame after signing the contract. Case in point, we are also selecting our venue for our bigger ceremony now, despite it being more than a year away.
  • Dinner – Instead of having a formal reception, we are having a private sit-down dinner at a restaurant. It’s a good way to share a great meal with the people that we love, without have the added expenses of an entire reception and dancing. And since there will only be about 30 people there, including me and Ben, we have been able to really customize the meal and cater to people’s needs. But like venue selection, restaurant selection took a lot of research well in advance. The spaces booked up fast, and all of the places we looked at had a minimum dining expense, plus added sales tax and gratuity.
  • Transportation –We wanted to make sure everyone got from the venue to the restaurant at the same time because of the small number of people. So we’ve booked transportation to get all of us between the two spaces and take everyone back to their hotel afterwards.  The transportation was surprisingly affordable, and I think will be a nice bonus for those at the event.
  • Photographer – This was something that Ben and I didn’t think about until very late in the game, but it seems like a no brainer now that we’ve made the decision to do it. It’s important to have someone documenting the special occasion. And even though we didn’t book until very late, we have a friend who is an amazing photographer that could squeeze us in for a great price. We got lucky on that one.  If you don’t know any one that can hook you up like that, I suggest you start looking for someone early, especially if your wedding is in the summer. 
  • Miscellaneous – Just like the little things that have been creeping up in our house budget, little things like programs, gifts bags, thank you cards keep popping up in the wedding budget. Granted most of these are personal touches that you could go without or do on the cheap if necessary. But it’s still a good idea to a lot some money for the little things that will assuredly come up.

Wedding planning takes a lot of work, even for smaller celebrations. Hopefully this framework will help those of you starting the process get your head around what you need to spend your money on for your big day.