Planning your wedding can be a joy for some, a nightmare for others, and the associated costs are definitely going to vary. In 2016, the average wedding size was about 124 people. That makes sense when you consider all the expenses and realities involved in wedding planning.
You’re going to have family members from both sides, everybody’s friends, and then you’ve got catering as well as vendors to consider. Granted, you don’t have to factor them in; but are you going to send the goon squad after the band if they sneak a beer from the bar? Well, you could; but then they might start playing The Eye Of The Tiger all night, and who wants that? Maybe you, probably not—you get the idea: you want to make an “average” plan, you don’t want to have everything so nailed down that you’re obsessing over the most minute details.
To that end, following are five areas where engaged people planning weddings regularly stress out, and how you can reduce that stress. Namely: if you know what you’re getting into beforehand, you can preserve yourself from much of the annoyance.
Getting The Budget Right
Planning a wedding is going to hinge on many variables. Will it be in town, or out of town? How near or far will it be from your home? Will guests be being flown in? Is it a small wedding, a large one, or a medium-sized one? Small weddings are usually two to fifty people. Medium ones get up to 175 guests. Large ones have more guests than that.
All these things affect overall cost. This handy wedding calculator can help give you an idea. With 124 guests in Fort Collins at a venue that puts the ceremony and reception at the same locale, regular accoutrements like entertainment, food, cakes and decor, and a nine to twelve months’ planning cushion, you’re looking at just under $30k.
That will go up or down depending on what you choose, but generally, if you average your wedding budget at $30k, or a year’s wages, you’ll have everything covered. Expect to make some of that back through wedding gifts from your guests! (Hint: invite the “well-to-do” people in your life, wink wink!)
The short story? Go with your gut. The long story? Well, go with your gut to choose several options, and then choose those which fit your budget. You’re going to have a lot of choices to make, and you’re going to doubt initial choices for later ones. If you choose one floral pattern or color scheme, then find something you just fall in love with, it could make you go back and totally re-imagine your previous decisions. Keep doing this and you can spend a month figuring out the same information over and over again. Here’s a better idea: go with your gut, then have a few alternate choices.
Consider filling out your wedding planning categories one item at a time. When you’re done, go down the list and circle the things you can afford. You can compromise here or there to fit in something you really like that may be a bit more expensive. If you’ve got many choices, this makes things easier.
If you can cut expenses while only keeping a few of your favorite choices in, everybody will be much more happy when its finally time to start making a few of your alternatives set in stone. Also, once you make a decision, stick to it as best you can. Again, choosing and re-choosing can result in a sort of negative domino effect that makes everybody lose their mind.
Use an App for your phone, a spreadsheet, or Microsoft Money. You may want to make a spreadsheet. Once you’ve got your main choices, enter them into that spreadsheet and see how mixing and matching jives with your existing budget. Here’s how a number of brides kept track of their expenses.
Unless you’re the Queen of France and money’s no object, you definitely want to be careful to consider costs. When an average wedding runs just under $30k, it’s easy to see how these expenses can pile up. !
Here’s a Google Doc to help get you started. Microsoft Money and Excel will likely have similar options; but the linked template can save you some time, and is customize-able to your needs.
To be sure your wedding stays on track, there are a few things you should take into consideration: Organize the important information into a binder with distinct sections like:
Video/Entertainment (Basically: Vendors)
- Vendor Contracts Consolidated
With a binder that organizes everything, you can go through and check items off as needed, then quit stressing about it in the days remaining before the big event.
Additionally, you want a section in your binder for “backup plans”. Rain, snow, political upheaval, sudden economic loss, tragedy, or even surprising injections of additional resources—all of these can upend your wedding’s apple-cart. Be prepared, and it won’t stress you out additionally.
Lastly, once you’ve got everything organized, sit down and ensure there’s nothing you missed. You want to do this a few months in advance; once you’ve got the wedding train rolling, it picks up plenty of momentum and can be hard to turn around.
If you’re irritated about some niggling detail, that’s the sort of accident you’ll hold onto the rest of your life. Well, maybe not you; but definitely some brides! Here’s a link to a guide with these details ironed out in greater detail.
On average, you can expect a wedding ceremony and reception to have at least ten vendors; probably around thirteen. You’ve got the cake makers, food, entertainment, officiants, the venue itself, decorations, floral, limousines, photographers, videographers, the wedding planner, and that’s eleven right there.
Individual weddings designed specifically by the couple are likely to have a few additional ones that aren’t always “common” choices. It’s important to get these right. Consider local Fort Collins vendor Mountain Event Services, a group offering DJ, photography services and much more. This organization is cost-effective, well-reviewed, and experienced when it comes to weddings.
You want a group that’s experienced, and has done wedding work before. Some vendors will never have worked at a wedding before, and could do a passable job; but they could also throw a wrench in the works. Another issue can be having a bunch of “lone wolf” vendors that don’t communicate (you won’t have that with a team that already works together liker ours.) Figuring out the vendor element is a very important step in the whole process
When you’ve got vendors and planning figured out a few months in advance, and you’ve managed to consolidate that into a budget, you won’t have to worry so much about the details, and you can prepare yourself for your future—a future that will mean a positive life change for the better