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In the list of things brides and grooms have to decide on after the engagement, setting a date is probably the first. But close behind is setting a budget. Even before you decide on a place to have your wedding and hire your first vendor, thoughts on setting an amount to spend on the wedding come to mind. And there is a good reason for that! Deciding on what to spend on your wedding guides most of the hiring decisions and final outcomes of your special day. It can be a very stressful part of wedding planning! But it doesn't have to be that way! Let these tips help you decide on your wedding budget and keep your planning process smooth down to the last cent.

Bring all decision makers into this process. If the bride and groom are paying for the wedding, it will be easy for you both to decide how much you want to put into the budget. If parents or others are involved, try to decide quickly and peacefully who is responsible for what and how much they want to give towards those responsibilities. And be grateful for the support! Planning a wedding can include family and friends, and it doesn't have to be stressful!

Your theme and guest list will have a lot to do with your budget. If you are keeping costs low, try to steer your theme towards more casual choices and DIY solutions. If you have a large budget and a generous amount, more formal themes are appropriate and you can hire more help in every aspect of your day. Time of day, a weekday wedding and other time factors can influence how much you will have to pay also, sometimes venues have reduced rates for less popular days and times for instance. Fit your theme and choices to your budget so you can stay within those guidelines and everybody is happy.

One of the biggest things to decide right away is what is important to you as a bride and groom. Your non-negotiable and your more flexible details. If you have your heart set on certain things being in your wedding plans, you can fix those first and let your less important items go or find more inexpensive solutions if needed. Decide what you both really value and put your money there first, then work on the less important parts afterwards. For instance, if photography is very important to you (like it is to us!), hire the best quality you can afford and plan a more limited menu for your reception if you don't have a larger budget for both.

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Some budget percentages to guide you:

Venue and Reception: 40 -50%

Photography: 10%

Bride & Groom clothing and accessories: 5-10%

Flowers: 10 %

Music & Entertainment: 5-10%

Miscellaneous: 10%

Cushion for unexpected expenses: 5-15%

An essential part of budgeting for a wedding is keeping track of it! Write down your budget, your categories and then your expenses and money left for each category. Decide on who to hire, write down their fees and also decide what you can do yourself to keep costs within your guidelines. If the sky is the limit, hire more help to fulfill your dreams in every category. Most of all, decide what is important and how to keep both bride and groom  and their families from bearing the burden of the tasks on the wedding day. A wonderful investment is a wedding planner or coordinator to do all the little things that keep your day running smooth, as well as setup and cleanup for your ceremony and the party for family and friends to follow. Most coordinators have several packages 

Ways to help stay within budget, a concern for many couples, is to DIY some of your details, such as centerpieces, wedding attire and even cakes and food. Get creative to save while still having beautiful main details to make your wedding your own. Deciding on what you want right away and being firm in those choices can also save money, because changing your mind can come with a surcharge from your vendors or overpaying for things you don't end up using. Often paying the whole fee up front or in cash can save money. But be assured that your vendors are worth every penny! They do so much behind the scenes and along the way to help your day turn out just like you want. 

Other ways to reduce costs are to reduce your guest list, pass on unimportant items that don't matter to you, substitute less expensive items such as in season flowers and food, simplify your reception food considering buffet style serving and less staff on hand, or even a potluck dinner for a casual reception. Local restaurants sometimes offer food at a less expensive cost than a full caterer with staff. Ask friends and relatives if they can contribute heirloom items such as jewelry, a veil or other things that can make a special contribution and help save that cost for another purpose. You can even use wedding rings or other items passed down that will make a huge dent in spending, allowing you to focus more on your priorities. There are many ways to save on costs and you can get creative to find them!

A few ways Everbright Photography helps you keep costs down are ways that we add value to any wedding collection you book with us. We include rehearsal attendance in every collection we offer. That means you get Stuart at your rehearsal to meet with you, go over any final details and check on your location and plans to smooth out those last minute photography decisions. This is included at no extra cost whenever you book a wedding photography collection with us. Digital images are also included in every wedding service, so you can look over all your photographs at any time, reliving the special moments you planned for so long. With our premium collections, you save money on custom designed wedding albums and framed portraits for your home versus buying them separately after the wedding. This puts your wedding on display in your home right away, making a stress-free way for you to enjoy your memories, not another task you have to do after all the planning is over. We love to provide great value for every dollar you spend with us because after the wedding is over, your photographs are what you have to remember every detail.

Thank you for joining us for a discussion of wedding budgeting! Hopefully you find some tips to make wedding planning easier for you as well as show you what we can do to help you plan the day of your dreams - within budget! 

Hit the Contact us! below to set up a meeting to talk about your plans and how we can serve you!

Bouquet by Rose Moss of Knoxville, Everbright Photography
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