Once you, your fiancé and your families have established a total budget, it is time to start breaking down how that money will best be spent. There are many helpful resources online, with suggestions what percentage of your wedding budget should go towards your reception, your flowers, etc. However you choose to allocate your funds, in general it is best to look at your largest expenses first, and to begin booking the vendors that will have the biggest impact on your big day. Then it becomes much easier to determine how much you can afford to spend on other smaller details.
Look Online for Basic Estimates and Plan Accordingly
Many wedding experts indicate that most couples tend to spend anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of their total budget on their wedding reception. This includes the venue, catering and alcohol, if it will be served. Perhaps the bulk of a budget is allocated to the reception because this is where a couple’s personality is really able to shine, from the first dance choices to the dinner menu, custom cocktails to a delicious cake! Of course, the biggest choice you will make, where your reception is concerned, is simply where to host it.
While many couples think they should set a wedding date before making any other decisions, this can actually do them a disservice. If their favorite wedding venue is already booked, for instance, it seems silly to choose a venue they like less just to preserve their first pick of wedding date. (It’s generally a good idea to choose your wedding venue first, particularly if you are planning to marry during peak wedding season. That is, of course, unless a certain date is significant to you.)
Once your venue has been selected, and your date, it is wise to begin hiring your other “big ticket wedding vendors,” such as your caterer, photographer, entertainment (DJ or band) and florist. If you plan to hire a wedding planner, take that into consideration early on as well, since the planner may have great recommendations when it comes to choosing your other vendors!