Congratulations! You are engaged and planning one of the most amazing days of your lives! Many couples want to know where to begin, and your wedding planning begins with a BUDGET. We all wish we could have an unlimited budget for our wedding to incorporate all of the elements we want on our wedding day. But, for many couples, this is not a realistic situation. Although budget is the least appealing element of your wedding to confront, it is the most important. Your budget range will influence what you can and cannot do for your wedding day celebration.
Based on research, the average cost of a wedding of 150 guests is approximately $30,000. Needless to say, unless you can call in a lot of favors from friends and family, that budget may not be very realistic in the state of Hawaii.
Before you make any financial commitments, determine the total amount of money you want to spend on your wedding and establish the elements of your wedding that are most important to you both. It is your day, so other people’s opinions should not deter you from doing what is most important to you. Keep in mind that in order to have those important things, it may be necessary to compromise on other areas of your wedding.
My experience is that the most important elements of a successful and fun wedding are your guest list, food/beverage, and entertainment. These are the most memorable parts of your wedding and the first things your guests will discuss afterwards. The photography and videography are important because they capture and document the memories and those special moments that you may not have personally witnessed. Your wedding day will seem like a blurry flash of time, so do not dismiss the importance of reliving the documented moments that represent this special day you have been planning and anticipating. Ambience is very important, so be sure to make your event aesthetically pleasing to your guests and the camera. You don’t need to go over the top; there are ways to make your wedding look fabulous without breaking the bank. Colored fabric and lighting will make your event magical, and your wedding coordinator will be your best resource on how to reduce costs and save you money without compromising your vision of your wedding.
Although tradition says that the bride’s parents pay for the whole thing, this is frequently untrue for today’s couples. In all likelihood your parents or other relatives may pay for your wedding or contribute a certain amount to it.
Some of the pitfalls in creating a wedding budget include the couple may not realizing how much each vendor will cost, whether there are any hidden fees at the venue or for the professional you are hiring, or they simply forget to build in tax and gratuity into their budget. The values listed here are a guide on what to expect expenses to be. In some cases, there isn’t enough money allocated in a category to cover known expenses. Therefore the amounts in other categories need to be reduced, an alternative and less expensive choice needs to be made, and/or more total dollars need to become available. Just know that you will need to have a realistic budget, or be prepared to make some changes to your vision.
Ceremony: Up to 3% of budget
Ceremony Location Fee, officiant Fee/Donation, Rentals, Marriage License, Keepsake Certificate/Ketubah, Ring Bearer Pillow, Aisle Runner, Unity Candle or Sand
Ceremony Items, Specialty Linens (chair sashes, etc), Permit Fees
Reception: Up to 46% of Budget
Reception Location Fee, Rentals, Specialty Linens, Food/Service, Bar/Bartender, Champagne/Wine, Signature Drinks, Beverages you will provide on your own, Wedding
Cake, Cake Knife and Server Set, Cake Topper, Cake Service, Liability Insurance
Photo/Video: up to 12% of Budget
Photographer’s Fee/Package, Videographer’s Fee/Package, Additional Prints/Albums/DVD’s, Disposable Wedding Cameras, Wedding Album, High Resolution DVD of
Wedding Images, Photo Booth
Stationery: up to 3% of Budget
Announcements, Invitations, Response Cards, Postage, Thank You Notes, Personalized Stationery, Ceremony Programs, Reception Menus, Place Cards, Table Cards,
Calligraphy, Guest Book/Wishing Well/Portrait/Scrapbook
Wedding Rings: up to 3% of Budget
Bride, Groom, Engraving
Transportation: up to 2% of Budget
Limousine/Car Rental, Shuttle for Guests, Valet Parking, Self-Parking
Gifts: up to 2% of Budget
Attendants’ Gifts, Bride/Groom Gift, Guest Favors, OOT Guest Bags
Attire: up to 10% of Budget
Bridal Gown, Bride’s Reception Dress, Alterations, Headpiece/Veil, Bride’s Accessories, Shoes, Lingerie/Hosiery/Undergarments, Beauty Services, Groom’s Tuxedo/Suit,
Groom’s Accessories, Attendants’ Attire
Flowers/Décor: up to 8% of Budget
Ceremony/Reception Site Decorations, Bride’s Bouquet, Bridesmaids’ Bouquets, Boutonnieres, Corsages (pin-on or wrist), Centerpieces/Table Décor, Hair Flowers,
Chuppah/Arch/Arbor, Aisle/Pews/Chairs, Decor, Leis, Flower Girl Basket, Flower Shower, Specialty Lighting, Nakin Flowers
Entertainment: up to 6% of Budget
Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, Reception, Sound Equipment
Wedding Coordination : up to10% of Budget
Taxes, Gratuities, Service Charges: These should be incorporated into the fees in each category.
Vanity Baskets for Bathrooms, Bridal Emergency Kit, Toasting Flutes, Framed Photos, Bubbles, Card Collection Box/Birdcage/Basket, Wedding Insurance, Memory Table,
Always remember that the wedding is an event and a marriage is a lifetime, so be sure to keep your focus on the health of your relationship. The budget and the details should never supersede the significance of celebrating this momentous occasion with the people you care about most. Arguing or ruining relations over wedding plans defeats the whole purpose of the actual celebration. Stay positive and keep an optimistic outlook about planning your wedding and the big day itself. Things are bound to go wrong, even with most careful execution. How you deal with it will either make it a positive memory you can laugh about or one that can ruin your day. Only you will know that a detail is overlooked, your guests will have no idea. But, if they see you are stressed and upset, then they will be, too. Their energy will feed off of yours. Keep in mind that even the most expensive or beautiful wedding is meaningless unless you have a great time sharing it with your loved ones. So, have a realistic budget and enjoy every moment of your dream day!