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How Do You Create a Realistic Wedding Budget? What Expenses Should You Prioritize?

Once the excitement of your recent engagement settles, the reality of wedding planning can start to feel a tad overwhelming! Before you dive into all the fun details, we need to talk about the not-so-glamorous topic: the wedding budget! We know, it sounds daunting… How do you decide where to allocate your funds? Do you have to compromise on certain things? With a little guidance, you can create a realistic wedding budget that allows you to prioritize what matters to you!

One of the first steps in the wedding planning process is to figure out your budget - this will help give you a good foundation and guide as you work through selecting vendors and making decisions. You are probably thinking, “Yeah, that sounds easy, but where do we even begin - we’ve never done this before and have no idea what everything costs!”. Talking with and hiring a wedding planner can certainly help navigate through the realities of wedding costs! If you’re not ready to reach out to a planner, take a look at our blog post to give you an idea of what to expect to spend overall on your wedding in Westchester County NY

Grab a cup of coffee, and let's make budgeting as enjoyable as tasting wedding cake!

To make the process easier, start by identifying the aspects of your wedding that are most important to you or are non-negotiables. When it comes to our full-service wedding planning clients, we believe in leaving no stone unturned when it comes to understanding your needs and preferences. By prioritizing these key elements, we can allocate a sufficient portion of your budget to them while finding creative solutions for the rest. The not-so-fun truth that many couples discover when creating and attempting to stick to a wedding budget is that it's often more expensive than initially anticipated. There are many reasons this happens - it’s hard to find pricing information for vendors without talking to them, friends and family who’ve been married weigh in based on their experiences, couples get caught up in the “ideal” budget, rather than one that aligns with their vision/wishes. It's important to remember that wedding prices can vary greatly depending on factors like the time of year, location, guest count as well as your vision and expectations. 

Here are our top 4 areas you might want to consider when creating your list of priorities:

Your Guest Count: Guest count is the top expense that people often don’t consider! Your guest count has a direct impact on your bottom line - the more guests you have the more food, floral, tables/chairs, etc. you’ll need. Of course, you should prioritize having the people you truly want around you on this special day! Whether it's family or close friends, their presence can make your wedding even more meaningful and unforgettable! But here's the tricky part: determining where to stop. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up with a guest list that resembles a small army! While it's tempting to invite every long-lost cousin, coworker, or acquaintance, remember that each additional guest means an increase in each expense!


The Venue: Your wedding venue is undeniably one of the key components that sets the stage for your entire celebration. It's the place where your loved ones gather, where memories are made, and where the next chapter of your love story begins! But while it holds immense importance, it's crucial to strike a balance and avoid falling into the trap of going "venue poor."

When selecting your venue, it's essential to find a space that not only captures your vision but also fits within your budget! It should be a place that resonates with your personal style and reflects the atmosphere you want to create on your special day. Remember, a venue doesn't have to be extravagant or overly expensive to be extraordinary!


Food and Drinks: Even if you're not a self-proclaimed foodie there's no denying the importance of food and beverage at your wedding. Regardless of whether you have a preference for a buffet, food stations, or a formal 3-course meal, it's essential to allocate a considerable portion of your budget to satisfy your guests' appetites. When considering your wedding budget, it's crucial to allocate a reasonable amount towards food & beverage. This includes not only the actual food but also alcohol, service staff, rentals, and any additional amenities associated with your chosen dining experience. The costs can add up, especially if you have a large guest count.

As a rule of thumb your venue and your food & beverage are going to make up almost half your budget (40-50%)! 

Entertainment: While allocating a portion of your budget to entertainment may seem like an additional expense, it is an investment in creating a memorable and immersive experience for both you and your guests. Remember, it's not just about the music; it's about creating an ambiance and creating unforgettable memories that will be cherished for years to come. In our opinion, entertainment is one of the core pillars of your special day, capable of elevating the entire experience from ordinary to extraordinary.

So, when planning your wedding budget, be sure to prioritize top-notch entertainment. Seek out reputable professionals who understand your vision, have a diverse repertoire, and possess the charisma to keep the party alive. By doing so, you'll ensure that your wedding day becomes an extraordinary celebration, filled with laughter, dancing, and unforgettable moments! 

Remember, prioritizing these aspects doesn't mean you have to sacrifice other elements entirely! Embrace the opportunity to add personal touches and find alternative solutions that allow you to stay within your financial boundaries without compromising your vision. It might not always be easy and you will certainly need to stay flexible! If you find yourself stressing out over the budget, pause and go back to your priorities and the reason you are getting married - ask yourself, I know this detail is important to me at this moment, but does it reflect us as a couple and will it be something I (or my guests) remember or talk about when all is said and done?


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