So now you’re engaged and it’s time to begin setting a wedding budget for the big day… it can be a daunting task! We chatted with wedding planner Abby Walker of Back Meadow Events, and she is here to assure you that you can do this! She covers everything from why setting a budget is so important, how to have flexibility in your budget, and even how to compromise with the ‘rents! You won’t want to miss out on all this must-know advice before you start planning your wedding budget!
Photo // Sarah Libby Photography
1. Why is setting the wedding budget first, the most important thing?
Setting the wedding budget determines every aspect of wedding planning. It allows you to set proper boundaries for yourself so that you can move forward in freedom during the planning process. You can communicate with vendors and not waste your time with those that are outside of your budget. Setting your budget helps you pick vendors with much more ease. The last thing you want to do is get to your wedding, and although you enjoyed the day, wake up with a budget hangover the next day.
2. What is one cost that couples tend to forget about when planning the wedding?
I have two answers to this question. The first and most obvious answer, would be all the little things: signage, cocktail napkins, programs, all the details that really make a wedding come together and feel cohesive. The second part of my answer isn’t as much of a “forgetting” as it is not understanding how much things cost. The top three vendors I see this play out with is florists, photographers and wedding planners. Couples just don’t understand how many hours it takes to arrange floral, edit photos and plan a wedding – but I promise that you get what you pay for.
3. Negotiating price – yay or nay?
Nay. Vendors set their prices for a reason, and you should respect that! If a vendor that you really like is outside of your budget, I think it’s totally appropriate to ask for a referral to another vendor who might be inside of your budget. Asking for a vendor to compromise their pricing for you is very unprofessional.
4. How do you help a bride achieve her dream wedding while keeping her within her budget?
I am so passionate about this! As a wedding planner, helping a bride stay within budget while achieving her dream wedding is my ultimate goal. The primary way that I achieve this with my brides is to sit down at the very first meeting and determine priorities. Maybe you’re a bride who loves flowers but doesn’t care very much about food or cake. In that case, we’re going to dedicate more of your total wedding budget to floral and less to food. I also like to help set a bride up for appropriate expectations! The idea of a “dream wedding” can oftentimes be pushed by the media/TV/movies. I’ve never met a bride who didn’t have a bit of disappointment when it came to her wedding – even brides that have un-ending budgets! No wedding is perfect, so I take it upon myself to help brides have proper expectations. That being said, you should set the bar low. I believe you can have a wedding that is absolutely incredible and fits you and your fiancé perfectly, well within whatever budget have set.
5. What about budget flexibility? When is it okay to “push the budget”?
Budget flexibility is a real thing. I think when you’re setting your total budget, you should do a range. Instead of saying, “my wedding budget is $25k,” you should say “My wedding budget is “$20k – $25k.” Then when you’re choosing vendors, you shoot for the $20k mark. Most of the time you end up saving in some areas and over-spending in others. What I don’t do with my clients and never recommend to other brides, is to say “My budget is $25k,” and then you end up spending $35k. That is way over budget.
6. What role do the parents of the couple play in budgeting?
It depends! I’ve never had two clients who were alike when it came to parents and budgeting. Some parents like to be very involved in every aspect of the decision making, and others aren’t involved at all! Some parents pay for 100% of the wedding, and some only pay for portions of it. I believe that if the parents are paying for the wedding, it is very important that they are kept in the loop. Though I’ve had many situations where a couple disagreed with their parents on some aspect of the wedding budget, I’ve never been in a situation where a compromise wasn’t able to be reached. This is one of the most important reasons to hire a wedding planner! They can act as mediator in many situations, including with parents.
7. What are the most important vendors and details to budget for?
I mentioned this previously, the top three areas that you usually don’t expect to spend the most money are florist, photographer and wedding planner. If you dedicate a large portion of your budget to those three areas, I promise you will end up loving your wedding – both on the actual day, and looking back for years to come.
A huge thanks to Abby Walker of Back Meadow Events and all of her stellar tips for setting that wedding budget! Interested in hiring Back Meadow Events for your wedding? Visit Abby’s vendor profile on thebridesofoklahoma.com! Don’t forget to stay inspired with all the Oklahoma wedding inspiration over on our site, too!