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Budgeting Wisely: Advice On Costs, Contributions & More

One of the toughest parts of wedding planning is deciding on a budget and then sticking to it. Whether you're up against a small budget, unknown family contributions, or figuring out how to include everything you want, we have suggestions. Read these budget tips from local wedding planners:

Q: My finacé and I cannot agree on who should pay for the wedding. I think it is okay for our parents to chip in with the wedding expenses but my fiancé thinks we should pay for everything. Which one of us it right?

A: You both are right. Traditionally, the parents of the bride were responsible for paying for the wedding. Nowadays both families help pay for the wedding and in many cases, the Bride and Groom are paying for their wedding themselves. The best solution is a compromise; have each family pay for some of the wedding. Discuss his reasons for not wanting parents to help with the expenses. Some parents might become too controlling, overriding your wedding vision with theirs. Some parents will just help and add opinions when needed. In the case where your parents are demanding, give them responsibilities that won’t take away from your vision.

Q: My family and the Grooms family are dividing up costs for the wedding. Traditionally what does the Grooms family pay for?

A: In this day and age you can divide up the wedding costs to best fit both families budget. Traditionally, the host of the wedding usually keeps most of the cost. The Grooms family will pay for the Rehearsal dinner, their wedding attire, travel costs, wedding gift to the bride and groom, and any other costs you agree upon. The Groom pays for the engagement ring, the wedding band, the honeymoon trip, a wedding gift to you, his own attire, the marriage license and any other legal fees, the officiant fee, your bouquet, flowers for both mothers, boutonnières for his attendants and himself, a corsage for the your going away outfit, corsages for honored guests, housing for his out-of-town attendants and shipping of wedding presents to your new home. Tradition is a great way to pattern your wedding, but remember you can make changes any time you need to.

Q: What is the average price of a wedding?

A: The price of a wedding depends on many factors, including the number of guests, the location for the wedding and reception, and, most importantly, how elaborate your plans are. Each bride has a unique vision of her wedding day that she has dreamt of all her life. Making this dream wedding a reality can be priceless, but most brides must also be mindful of a budget. A skilled wedding planner works within this budget to accommodate the bride’s vision and encourage creativity. Although the price may vary considerably, the average cost of a wedding today is between $25,000 and $50,000+.

Q: Is it Possible to Plan a Nice Wedding on a $5,000 Budget?

A: It is possible to plan a very nice wedding on a $5,000 budget. Without knowing all your details I have listed 6 important rules to follow. The first of these is enlisting the expertise of a wedding planner that has a good vendor database. Even with a smaller budget, a wedding planner is an asset. Wedding planners know the hidden secrets of the area. They can refer you to QUALITY service providers within your budget. For example, I was asked by a very sweet couple to plan their wedding with the same budget. They did not have any family assistance and were really concerned about their wedding day. Because they enlisted a wedding planner, they were able to secure a beautiful, unadvertised location for 6 hours, on a Sunday, for under $500. What a deal!

Secondly, be prepared to do some things yourself. Establish what the most important item is for your wedding day and what you can do without. This will help you put your money in the right places.

Thirdly, plan your wedding in the slower wedding months where rates are lower.

Fourthly, have your ceremony and reception at the same location to eliminate the need for transportation from ceremony to the reception.

Fifthly, schedule a daytime wedding with an early reception. This will allow the venue to book another wedding later in the day and will reduce your costs dramatically.

Finally, limit your guest list to 100 people. Not only will this reduce the catering expense but it will widen your venue selections.

Q: I am getting married for the 2nd time and am working on a limited budget. What are some ways to save money?

A: Be cautious about money spending and start planning as early as possible.

The earlier you start planning, the more time you have to compare prices. Pick an off-season month to get married. Off season is January through April and August through November. Many wedding professionals are looking for business during these times and can give you better prices. Consider hiring a photographer just starting out professionally (after viewing their portfolio!) instead of a well-established wedding photographer.

Dummy wedding cakes can save you hundreds. Bakeries can create the cake of your dreams out of styrofoam and cover it in icing or fondant. They leave a portion of the cake made with real cake batter for the toast and first slice. Then when your cake is wheeled to the back, they can cut a sheet cake. This will save you hundreds and no one would be the wiser.

As much as we have a preference when it comes to flowers, order flowers that are in season and mix them with different size candles or just votives to save money.

Also, if you are planning a wedding by yourself consider hiring an event planner for the rehearsal and wedding day or even for a couple of hours to answer your questions and give you vendor suggestions. Wedding Planners work with many professionals that give brides discounts just because they are a client. In the end brides even with the smallest budget say it is worth it for all the assistance.

Q: My mom says we can save money by purchasing our linens, chair cover and sashes instead of renting them. Do you have any advice on this?

A: Yes, there are cases where you can save money by purchasing your linens, chair covers and sashes instead of renting them. Some things to think about are do you have time to press the linens before your wedding or steam them if they get wrinkled in travel. The linens are packed tightly and usually arrive with deep creases. After the wedding, you should factor in cleaning and pressing the linens. Consider what you will do with them after the wedding. If you sell them, you have to spend the time finding someone to buy them. In the meantime, you have to store them in a climate controlled environment so they stay in good condition. So before you make a decision, think about all the costs and choose the one that works best for you. Both ways have pros and cons.

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