The question has been popped, that engagement ring sparkles proudly for all to see and now it’s time to invite your loved ones to celebrate with you.
But there’s one other big question looming over your big day: How much is this going to cost?
Believe it or not, in 2016, the average wedding cost $35,000 in the United States.
But don’t worry! At Storybook Barn you can enjoy a dream wedding for a down-to-earth rate in a rustic, idyllic setting just east of Springfield, Missouri.
Your overall wedding budget will vary based on where you live, what you can afford and what’s on your wish list. There really is no one-size-fits-all number when it comes to the cost of a wedding.
Setting a budget early is one of the smartest and most romantic ways to plan the perfect wedding, and start this exciting new chapter in your story on a good financial footing.
Our wedding budget planner below gives you helpful tips for putting together a memorable occasion that won’t break the bank.
#1: Determine how much you have to spend
Getting a sense of how much you have, right up front, will help you make smart decisions throughout the whole process.
- Who is contributing? Sometimes the bride and groom pay for the whole wedding out of their own funds. In other cases, one or both sets of parents — and sometimes grandparents — will offer to cover some or all expenses.
- How much do you have in savings? Do either you or your fiance have a savings account? Some couples opt for a longer engagement in order to build up enough funds to pay for the wedding.
- Avoid the wedding debt trap. Of course you want to have that dream wedding. But you don’t want the nightmare of starting your marriage with unnecessary debt. Only charge what you’re prepared to pay off in a short amount of time, and consider a special checking account dedicated to wedding expenses.
#2: Estimate your wedding costs
Once you know about how much you’re able to spend, make some decisions to help you spend your money wisely.
- Make your guest list. The more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding will be. You guest count determines the number of invitations you’ll order, the amount of food to be served, the number of party favors to hand out and the size of your venue. Some couples divide their total budget by the number of guests to determine how much they’re able to spend on a “per guest” basis.
- Research costs ahead of time. Make a list of the different items you’ll need for your wedding — attire, decorations, food, music, photography and so on. Then check with a few different vendors to get a ballpark estimate of what you can expect to pay for each item.
- Set some priorities. Maybe you’ve got your heart set on that designer wedding gown. Or you want to book the hottest band in town. Which one or two wedding items are most important to you? Allocate a larger share of your budget to those things, and focus on cutting costs in other areas.
#3: Prepare for hidden wedding expenses
Many couples forget to include these common wedding costs in their budgets. Be sure to include them up front in your cost estimates.
- Marriage license
- Wedding planners
- Bachelor and bachelorette parties
- Vendor meals and transportation
- Set-up and break-down fees at your venue
- Tipping your food servers, musicians, hairstylists and other vendors
#4: Find creative ways to save
Creativity goes a long way toward planning a wedding that’s uniquely yours and saves money. If you start planning early, you’ll have more time to shop around for the best ideas that you can afford.
- Consider off-peak times. If you book your wedding between October and May, or choose a day of the week other than Saturday, it may cost you less.
- Have your ceremony and reception in the same place. This saves on booking and transportation. It’s also more convenient for out-of-town guests who may not know their way around town.
- Hire a DJ. A great DJ will know how to get those feet moving for less money than a band or orchestra.
- Save on flowers by using bouquets as centerpieces, or having the same floral arrangements moved from the ceremony to the reception area.
Finally, consider taking care of some wedding tasks yourself or recruiting eager friends or relatives to help — many of them will be excited to have their own special role in your big day!
- Address and stuff your own envelopes. Instead of paying someone else to assemble your invitations, have some friends over for for an afternoon of stuffing envelopes and lively conversation.
- Cut out the “cutting fee” if possible. Some bakeries and venues will charge you a “cutting fee” to have someone cut the cake. Check around to see if a friend or relative is willing and able to do this important job.
- Look great for less. Hairdressers and makeup artists will charge extra to come to your wedding venue. A good way to save is to take care of this at the salon, or practice ahead of time and do your own hair and makeup.
At Storybook Barn, we believe that a real storybook wedding is one that works with any budget and reflects your own special journey together as a couple.
Contact us to celebrate your day at our historic wedding venue in the heart of the beautiful Missouri Ozarks.
Photo credit: Marc Chagall