Lots of girls dream about planning their wedding, however, I'm guessing most of those dreams don't include long, drawn-out discussions about the budget. In the short amount of time that I have been planning my wedding, establishing how much we would spend and who would pay for what, has transformed me from a blushing bride into a raging bridezilla! Money is never an easy thing to talk about, but determining a budget is one of the first things you should do. Don't assume that your parents or the groom's parents are willing to pay a certain amount because when it comes down to the time to write the check, you maybe the one signing on the line.
Traditionally, the groom's family would pay for the rehearsal dinner and the bride's family would pay for the rest. Today, there really are no set guidelines for who pays for what. I know couples whose families each paid half, the groom's family paid for everything, or the couple paid for their own wedding. It really just depends on the couple and the families involved, which can make things more complicated. I didn't want my parents to go broke paying for our wedding, but I didn't want my future in-laws to think that my family and I were expecting anything from them. Like I said, it's complicated!
Before I scheduled any venue tours, I looked up the average wedding cost in 2012. When $27,021 popped up on my screen, my jaw hit floor. I thought there was no way that Matt's and my wedding would cost that much.
I went on The Knot to research the cost of local reception venues. The site is a good tool for comparing the price range of venues, but it doesn't reveal any actual numbers. Based on the information I found, I scheduled several tours of venues I thought would be in our price range. I really liked the first venue we toured...until the lady told us how much it cost. The price seemed completely unreasonable to me until we went to the next two places and they were even more expensive!
After going on several tours and finding out just how much renting the venue would cost, my parents told me that they would pay for the reception venue, the food and drinks, and the musicians. Matt's parents agreed to pay for the rehearsal dinner. After giving them an estimate of how much our wedding would cost, they also told us a dollar amount they were willing to give us to help with wedding costs. It's nice because we will be able to use that money to pay for a photographer, flowers, dj or miscellaneous costs along the way.
I would highly recommend engaged couples who are trying to establish a budget to attend a bridal show. There are a lot of different vendors at the shows so you're able to compare prices and get a more realistic idea of what you'll spend for your wedding. When Matt and I attended our first bridal show, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that a dj and flowers were far less expensive than we had originally budgeted for. Also, since the vendors are competing with each other at the bridal show, they're more likely to give you special promotions or deals.
Planning a wedding budget isn't easy, but once it's done the wedding planning process goes more smoothly.