It All Starts With the Budget


We’ve all gone to the grocery store without a list and purchased things we didn’t need and forgot some of those things that we did need. That’s kind of what it’s like to plan a wedding without a budget. You purchase things that you end up not needing and then you find out there are things you need and didn’t consider and now you’re low on funds. To avoid this you need to determine your budget and what percentage of the funds will be allocated for each area. Your budget will drive most of your decisions.

You will also want to put everything you can on a credit card that has a great point earning potential. Even if you or a family member are paying cash for everything along the way it’s a good thing to put it on the card and earn those points. Pay the card off each month. You can then use those points toward your honeymoon planning or taking a trip to celebrate your first anniversary.

The average cost of a wedding in NE Florida is $25,960 – typically 50% of that will be the cost of the reception ($12,980). The average number of guests is between 124-134. The breakdown of guest/cost for the reception would be – 124 guests cost approximately $105 per guest and for a guest count of 134 would be approximately $97 per guest. Knowing the cost per guest may make it easier to make those difficult decisions when it comes to reducing your guest count.

Sit down with your fiancé and discuss the budget. Today, it is not always the bride’s parents who pay for most of the wedding. We are seeing the groom’s parents paying for a portion and the bride and groom themselves contributing. I’ve also worked with couples where other family members wanted to help financially. If this is the case then everyone who is contributing may want to be part of the budget planning process. This can be a good thing or a not so good thing. Before accepting help from other family members you may want to get clarification on whether they feel they need to have a say in how their money is spent. Obviously it’s easier if they just identify a dollar amount they are willing to contribute or perhaps they would like to choose exactly what they want to pay for. For example – they may volunteer to pay for the reception flowers or the DJ/band or another part of the day. No matter how you pay for your wedding or who contributes expect some uncomfortable conversations. That is just part of the process. You can always engage a wedding planner who can provide help as you need it throughout the process. You may find the assistance of a professional for a few hours is well worth the money.

Try to keep things in perspective. After the wedding you will still have your monthly living expenses so you won’t want to go overboard and get caught up in the excitement and go over your budget.

Cindy plans and designs weddings in the NE Florida area. Visit her website at or contact her at


About Author

Cindy Vallely is the Principal Coordinator and Creative Director of "I Do"... Weddings by Cindy. She has been planning weddings in Northeast Florida for over 10 years.

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