by Susan Paige
The average wedding in the United States costs nearly $34,000. While it’s important to celebrate your marriage in style, there are plenty of brides who experience sticker shock when planning their wedding.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your wedding day costs manageable. Using a wedding budget calculator and doing plenty of research can help you set your budget and stick to it.
Here are a few tips on how to use a wedding budget calculator to get the most for your money when planning your special day.
What Is a Wedding Budget Calculator?
Wedding planning, and especially budgeting, is all about attention to detail. A wedding budget calculator is one of many handy tools out there to help brides manage the sometimes overwhelming tasks of planning a wedding.
Wedding budget calculators let you see at a glance all the different wedding planning aspects to consider, from the cake and flowers to transportation and favors. They help you get a general sense of what things cost, and they can help you allot a certain percentage of your budget to each spending area.
Most wedding cost calculators offer customization options. This generally includes the ability to input how many guests and the percentage of the budget you want to spend on certain things. The more customization options a wedding calculator has, the more accurate your projected costs will be.
How to Use a Wedding Budget Calculator Effectively
While wedding budget calculators can be really helpful in giving you some big-picture information, there are a lot of factors they don’t take into consideration.
Many budget calculators will provide the average costs for everything, but your wedding might not be average at all. Just because the national average wedding bill is $33,931 doesn’t mean that’s what you plan to spend.
You’ll need to take into consideration the location, season, and size of your event. Those details can make a big difference in the final cost.
In order to use a wedding budget calculator as effectively as possible, it’s important to get really specific. You’ll need to figure out what parts of the wedding are most important to you and how much you’re willing to spend.
Take some time to reflect on how you want your wedding day to look and feel. Check out some wedding websites like Wedding SuperMarket for inspiration. In the meantime, here are a few things to think about when trying to plan a cost-conscious wedding.
Booking a location is often the most expensive part of planning a wedding. From formal venues to rustic outdoor ceremonies, there’s a venue to fit any taste. However, the price for a fairytale venue can be astounding to some.
But not all wedding venues come with astronomical price tags. There are plenty of budget-friendly wedding venues out there, and you can save even more by making a few smart money-management decisions.
It’s no surprise that weddings held in major cities tend to be more expensive than weddings in small towns. The average cost of weddings also varies across the states.
The season and day of the week impact venue costs, as well. Winter weddings and weddings held on a Friday or Sunday tend to be a lot less expensive.
If you decide to go with a non-traditional venue, be sure to carefully consider the expenses of furnishing the place. The costs of rented or purchased tables, chairs, and linens can add up fast.
If you can, choose a venue where you can host both the ceremony and reception. You’ll reduce the cost by not having to reserve two locations, and your guests will appreciate not having to travel.
Great food is essential for a great party, but that doesn’t mean you have to offer a dozen different menu options. To keep costs down, stick to two or three options that will appeal to a variety of tastes.
If your venue allows it, see if you have the option of using an outside caterer, instead. While it may seem more convenient to just use the in-house team, another option might save you money.
Another way to save on food costs is to skip the sit-down dinner altogether. You can offer an array of finger foods instead. Or you can have a daytime wedding and serve a low-key brunch.
And if it comes down to it, you can always cut down your guest list. With the average plate costing at least $30, if you can cut 10 to 15 people from your reception, you’ll save considerably.
You’ll want plenty of photos to remember your perfect day, but different couples prioritize photos differently. Many wedding budget calculators allot a significant chunk of the budget to the photographer. While a good photographer will be pricey, there’s no law on how much you should spend.
Some brides feel that it’s important to have albums filled with hundreds of wedding photos. Others are happy with just a few simple shots. In the end, it comes down to the packages your photographer offers and what you’re comfortable with.
The price of wedding entertainment runs the gamut. Live wedding bands can offer a truly dynamic experience, but they often charge top-dollar. DJs are probably the most common choice of wedding entertainment, as they tend to be less expensive than a band and can customize their song list to your taste.
DJs can also act as a kind of master of ceremonies to get the party going. If you or your guests tend to be reserved, an outgoing DJ can help a lot. However, extra services from the DJ are going to cost more.
Figure out how much time you’ll need music for. Will you need it during the ceremony and reception? Just a few hours during the reception? Get an idea for how the day’s events will play out and how much party time you’ll need.
Your Special Day Your Way
In the end, your wedding should be about celebrating you and your partner-to-be. It should reflect what’s important to the two of you. Using a wedding budget calculator to mindfully keep track of your wedding expenses will help you create the day of your dreams without going broke in the process.
Did this article help you better understand how to work with your wedding budget? Check out more helpful articles from our website.