By: Lateisha Johnson, Licensed Financial Coach and CEO of Wealth & Wellness Network
So you’re excited, nervous, perhaps even a little overwhelmed? There are so many emotions and lots of ideas running through your head. In addition, there is so much to get done and so little time: booking your venue, hiring a photographer, getting your dress and more. Where do you start?
Money & Matrimony
The wedding planning process can be daunting at times, especially when it comes to your finances. According to theknot.com, in 2016 the average wedding cost was just shy of $35,000. Over the decades, the cost of weddings has dramatically increased due to couples wanting to personalize and provide unique experiences for their guests. Makes sense right? Some of you may be astonished by that dollar amount, but that shouldn’t be the main concern. What is most startling is the fact that most couples spend more money than they expect. Often, couples don’t take the time to figure out their numbers. It’s rare that couples know exactly what they will spend and where they will spend it.
Knowing Your Numbers
Now before you jump to conclusions, this doesn’t require you to be an excellent math problem solver. The concept of “knowing your numbers” is really simple. How can you plan something you have no idea about? It’s just like going to the gas station with only $20 in your pocket, but you expect to full up your tank. If you have no regard for price and know ideally how much it will take to fill up your tank, you will be sadly mistaken.
Knowing your numbers will eliminate the stress of over spending and operating out of a sense of scarcity. Just think about it. If you only have $20,000 to spend but didn’t track or identify what amount is going towards each category, by the time you are ready to by your dress, you may be find yourself making unnecessary sacrifices. I see it time and time again, engaged couples scraping at the very end to make things work instead of getting their ducks in a row from the beginning.
So here’s a quick rule of thumb. I call this the 50/30/20 split (there are other variations, but this seems to work best in my opinion).
Here’s a $20,000 Example:
- $10,000 (50%) – The necessities: venue/catering/wedding planner
o The cost of the venue and food usually accounts for the largest expense for a wedding. With that said, most of your funds should go towards this category.
o Also, include the cost of a wedding planner in this budget. Without your planner’s assistance you will not achieve the beautiful day you are expecting.
- $6,000 (30%) – entertainment/guest experience
This is where your DJ, centerpieces, photographer, etc. come into play. If you’re inviting friends and love ones to join in on the festivities, you want them to have a great time right? Just make sure that if something is not in the budget, then it is out! Don’t compromise because of peer pressure. Make adjustments where necessary.
- $4,000 (15-20%) – wedding party/bride-groom items
Things in this category can vary depending on the wedding theme and what’s important to the couple. For example, some couples purchase gifts for their wedding parties or may decide to have a rehearsal dinner. Whatever you may decide, ensure that everything you and your soon-to-be husband need (your wedding gown, his tux) is included in this budget.
- $1000 (5%) – travel/other
If you are planning an unique theme such as a destination wedding or out of area wedding, account for expenses related to travel and going abroad. Planning your big day can be exhausting, but make it easier on yourself by having your finances in order. It doesn’t matter if you have a $100,000 budget or a $10,000 budget, you MUST know your numbers.
To learn more about how you can get a complimentary financial game plan before and after the wedding with Licensed Financial Coach, go to www.lateishajohnson.com