6 Most Common Wedding Budget Mistakes

It’s the most daunting part of wedding planning: Sticking to a budget. With expensive celebrity weddings and reality(ish) shows like My Fair Wedding, it’s no wonder brides feel stressed over planning their dream wedding while on a tight budget. Never fear! Avoid these common wedding budget mistakes and you’ll be riding the road to success … now to decide where to seat cranky Aunt Urma ….

6 Most Common Budget Wedding Mistakes

NOT HAVING A SPECIFIC BUDGET

This is HUGE. While some brides with rich Daddies can afford to make demands without even looking at the price tag, you are, after all, on our site … which means you’re probably not one of them. The NUMBER ONE mistake that brides make is not making a detailed, specific budget. You need to factor in EVERYTHING. Sit down and make a list of your wedding expenses line by line. Nothing is too small to include (leaving out $10 here and $20 there will add up fast!).

Once you have your expense list, separate each item into similar categories. Keeping your final budget in mind, designate a specific dollar amount you would like to spend on each category. When you’re finished all of your categories should add up to your total wedding budget. Now that you actually have a specific dollar amount to aim for, you will me much less likely to overspend — and making decisions will be so much easier! {image via Offbeat Bride}

SPENDING TOO MUCH ON YOUR VENUE

Choosing the right venue is so important to the overall feel and theme of your wedding. With that said, there are some venues that are ridiculously overpriced (like more than you would spend on a car — and you only get to use it for one night). Overspending on a venue is very common among budget brides because it is one of the FIRST major expenses you will encounter in wedding planning. Basically, you haven’t blown your whole wad yet, so it’s easier to say heck with it, and choose the venue you want instead of the venue you can afford. Fast forward 6 months from now and we have a very grumpy bride that is over budget.

STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. I repeat. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you an awesome person who will live the rest of your life debt free by establishing good money habits early on. We recommend allocating 30-50 percent of your total budget for venue and catering costs (this includes food, drinks, alcohol, staffing, taxes and tips).

6 Most Common Wedding Budget Mistakes

ORDERING TOO MANY INVITATIONS

Remember that you only need to order one invitation per HOUSEHOLD, not per guest. This may seem like a small task, but even cheap wedding invitations can cost up to $3 a piece. Ordering just 25 less invitations can be a huge money saver! Once you decide on how many invitations you need, we recommend adding 5-10 extra for any last minute guests or to use as a keepsake. Also, don’t forget to include postage (for the invitation and the rsvp return envelope) in your budget! {Image via Chantal Andrea}

SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF

Let me just go on the record by saying that I am a GREAT budgeter. But unfortunately, I am HORRIBLE at sweating the small stuff. Even awesome budgeters like me can get into trouble when they’re caught up in the details. I ended up repurchasing all of my ribbon for my favors because I had two cream colors that didn’t match (this cost me an extra $50 that I didn’t have). I’d like to say I am detail oriented, but really, I was just sweating the small stuff. If you still don’t think you’ll be able to curb that OCD, just make sure to save all your receipts and return anything that you decided against. Even returning small $10 items will make a difference in the long run.

6 Most Common Wedding Budget Mistakes

FORGETTING ABOUT LAST MINUTE COSTS

This is where even the best budgeters can go wrong. Don’t forget to budget in every item up until the VERY END. I wish I could tell you exactly what to expect, but unfortunately the list would be different for everyone. For example, here are a few of the last minute expenses that I forgot to include that ended up making a HUGE dent in my budget:

  • Gas for shuttling family to and from the airport
  • Food for feeding said family
  • Extra utilities that said family used while staying at my house
  • Booze for said family that stayed at my house (and extra for me, to deal with it)
  • Kennel costs for boarding pets while on honeymoon
  • Postage for thank you cards
  • Extra booze for the entire bridal party (for while we were getting ready)
  • Bar tab at the after party

Here’s a thought … if you want to save money on your wedding don’t be an alcoholic like me ;). {Image via Style Me Pretty}

LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS

Ok, this is my time to offer a small reality check to the wedding industry (and fellow brides): Weddings do NOT have to be expensive to be awesome. You do NOT have to buy a Vera Wang to be beautiful, and you certainly do NOT have to go into debt just by getting married.

It’s all about choices. If food is important to you, spend a little more on some delightful fancy croissant sandwiches and less on your decorations. If music is your passion, hire a live band and skip the open bar. And when in doubt, invite less people. Even low-budget weddings can cost up to $200 a person — so make a few cuts and decide to leave your boss and your high school friends (that you havent seen in 10 years) off of the guest list.

But most of all, remember that your wedding — while arguably one of the best nights of your life — is still only ONE night of your life. The first two years of marriage are the hardest … wouldn’t you rather set up your marriage for success with peace of mind knowing you are debt free? Use these 6 tips and it is SO possible.

Tell me, what are you planning for your spectacular budget wedding? What are your favorite budget-saving tips? Let’s get the conversation started in the comment section below!

Allison
Allison is the owner and editor of MarryThis! With a love of weddings and a flair for budget-friendly ideas, she feels that gorgeous weddings don't have to cost an arm and a leg. A graphic designer by day (Allison Doty Graphic Design - allisondoty.com), Allison also creates the visual presence of MarryThis!

One Comment on "6 Most Common Wedding Budget Mistakes"

  1. Diane Owens says:

    Allison,

    Great article with terrific ideas! I wrote an ebook called Budget Wedding Secrets: How to Have a $30,000 Wedding for Less Than $10,000, and you list quite a few tips I’ve written about, too. Don’t know how much of your wedding was “do-it-yourself” but if you can spare the time (and with several devoted family members or friends to help, it’s less of a time commitment), going the DIY route is a huge money saver. I planned and hosted my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding last year in the best venue in town and did nearly everything myself (with help from friends) for a total cost of about $9,400 — and all my friends raved about how elegant it was. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction to have an affordable wedding!

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