Most couples don’t set a wedding budget with the intention of going over it. In fact, going over budget is a real fear for many couples planning their event. This is understandable, especially as you begin tracking exactly how much a venue is, how much the caterer charges, and how many chairs you’ll need to rent. If you’re not careful, you can end up over budget in a blink.
To help you avoid common wedding budget mistakes, here are five common reasons why couples go over budget on the wedding.
1. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
The most common reason why couples go over budget is that they have unrealistic expectations for what they would spend compared to what they want at their wedding. Weddings are expensive and full of tiny details—all of which have tiny price tags attached. If you start out with unrealistic expectations of what you’re going to spend, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Do some research first. Talk with family and friends who have planned weddings recently. Get quotes from vendors. Once you have a better idea of how much things will cost, set a realistic budget for your event.
2. Not Tracking Expenses
The other main reason couples go over their budget is by not paying attention to how much they’re spending. You book the venue, sign the caterer, have a photographer, and find a florist you love…but you neglect to put the numbers into any type of tracking sheet. This is the easiest way to overspend since you don’t have a clear idea of how much you’ve already spent or what you have left in the budget. Track your expenses as you work through the wedding planning process so you always know what you’ve spent and what you have left.
3. Never Compromising or Prioritizing
It’s easy to want the best of the best for your wedding. You want the prettiest venue, the lavish dress, delicious food, a talented photographer, etc. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up blowing your budget because of your unwillingness to compromise. If you want to stick to your budget, sometimes you have to be flexible throughout the planning process. Prioritize the things that matter most and invest in them, while keeping things tighter for details that don’t matter as much. For example, maybe you don’t need a live band, fancy linens, or a seven-layer cake, especially if you want to invest more in a high-quality photographer. Prioritize and be willing to compromise and you’ll be better able to stick to your budget.
4. Not Having an Emergency Fund
While you obviously don’t want to plan for things to go wrong, you do want to be prepared in case it happens. Having a little wiggle room in your budget can help you deal with accidents, emergencies, and issues that pop up. For example, if your wedding day budget is $15,000, try working with a $10,000-$12,000 budget and saving a few thousand for emergencies. There are always going to be things that come up that you didn’t expect. You don’t want these little things to stress you out or blow your budget. If you have an emergency fund for them, it’s much less stressful.
5. Leaving Things to the Last Minute
Proper planning can end up saving you a lot of money on wedding planning. On the reverse side, waiting until the last minute or rushing the planning process can end up costing you a lot more. While you might end up finding a venue for a discounted rate closer to your event, that’s not super likely. It’s more plausible that the only vendors available for your date will be more and more pricey if you wait until the last minute to book them. Plan things properly, give yourself plenty of time to make adjustments, and don’t push off details too long or your budget could suffer.
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