January 21, 2023

5 Most Important Factors to Determining Your Wedding Budget Breakdown

Image of a FRENCH | DOOR EVENTS Virginia coordination couple smiling

Drafting your wedding budget breakdown can feel daunting, but determining a realistic outline of wedding expenses is critical to planning your big day. Establishing your priorities and having candid conversations early will free you to design a celebration that is truly reflective of your style and personality. Need help getting started? Read on as French Door Events reveals the five most critical factors when determining your wedding budget breakdown.

Have Wedding Budget Conversations Early

Having realistic expectations about your wedding budget is key! While it initially may feel awkward, having honest conversations about your budget with everyone who may be contributing financially can help you avoid conflict later. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their level of contribution and that they are aware of when certain costs, like deposits, may need to be addressed. Once you establish what assistance you’ll be receiving, you’ll be better prepared to draft your wedding budget breakdown.

Craft a Wedding Guest List

Few things impact your wedding budget like your guest list. Krystin Gill of French Door Events explains: “Each guest you invite to your wedding will cost you hundreds of dollars. Your guest count impacts nearly every aspect of your wedding budget, from the size of the ceremony and reception venues to the amount of flowers for your wedding party and guest tables. Naturally, the number of guests will also significantly impact your catering needs – from the open bar during cocktail hour to the size of the cake or number of desserts. Additional bartenders and waitstaff will need to be hired for larger parties, and transportation to and from the venues may need to be increased.”

It is not unusual to draft an initial list that is too long. Don’t stress! Start with your “must-invites,” and move on to the “Would Like to Include” guests to get a firm idea of how many people will be part of your ceremony and reception. From there, you can make adjustments and establish “plus one” and “children invited” policies. 

Does your list still feel too long? Gill suggests sitting down with your spouse-to-be and contemplating two key questions for reviewing your wedding invitation list:

1. Would we call this person on a Friday night and invite them to our home for dinner?

2. Would we be likely to do that five or ten years from now?

If you answer “no” to either of these questions when reviewing names, don’t feel pressured to invite that person to your wedding. Gill confides: “It’s absolutely okay to limit your guest list to one of the most significant days of your life to those special people that mean the most to you and your partner. If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that less can sometimes be more – and we love an exclusive party. That said, if you have 150 VIPs, as long as you make sure that your wedding budget aligns with providing a great guest experience for each one, the more, the merrier.” 

Determine the Type of Venue and Wedding Location

Do you dream of a destination wedding? Is there a hotel ballroom or stunning lakeside retreat that has always been in the back of your mind? Is there a location that holds special meaning for you and your spouse-to-be? Determining the type of venue you want to be married in and the location will have a significant impact on your wedding budget breakdown. For example, if you choose a breathtaking outdoor location that is a blank slate, you will have to rent everything to create your dream space, from the tent to the tablecloths. An elegant hotel ballroom or another chic event venue will likely include the tables, chairs, linens, etc., in their wedding package. 

Will your ceremony and reception be in different venues? You will want to budget enough for guest and wedding party transportation. Will you need to “dress” a venue with lush floral arrangements? If so, you’ll want to be sure that you overestimate how much you will need to reserve for flowers. Does your venue require that you use their catering, or will you be hiring outside vendors? Investing in terrific food and drink options is one of the best ways to make your celebration a wonderful experience for everyone attending. Making these decisions now will inform how much you have left to spend on other wedding details. 

Establish Your Wedding Priorities

What are the non-negotiable elements for your wedding? Where are you willing to splurge? It may be that your venue choice is the “must-have” aspect of your wedding, or there may be vendors who are critical to achieving your vision for your big day. Do you want live music? Do you dream of hosting an amazing culinary experience? Whatever your priorities are, you must establish your non-negotiables as early as possible. This will allow you to craft a realistic wedding budget breakdown to ensure that your “must-haves” are financially feasible and that you (and those also contributing to your wedding) are aware of what other elements may be impacted by these choices. Knowing your boundaries early can save you stress later and allow you to enjoy the process of planning your festivities.

Discuss Your Wedding Design

Wedding design, and its scale, will undoubtedly impact your budget. From rustic tablescapes to romantic floral installations, it is time to discuss your vision. If you want a ballroom covered with draping or simple garlands on your tablescape, determining that from the start will allow you to budget effectively to create the look you love. Also, determining an event color palette at the beginning of the planning process will help you choose wedding details, from flowers to bridal shoes, that will play well together. Otherwise, you risk having last-minute changes play havoc with your wedding budget breakdown.

Here is the good news: Even with a small budget, a simply chic design can have a powerful impact if done exquisitely well – something that French Door Events excels at doing. We can help guide you through the decision-making process, ensuring that your event makes the guest experience of paramount importance and that your wedding is the best reflection of you as a couple.