Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Under 18K Wedding :: Let's Get Down to the Numbers & Free Wedding Budget Download


One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is coming to a compromise on a budget and sticking to it. For us, we were lucky enough to have some help from my Dad, while the rest of the money was our responsibility to come up with. I actually liked this because we really had the ability to "make it our own," literally through our own means as well as lots of DIY projects. Essentially, we didn't waste any time trying to cater to anyone else's interests or opinions except for our own which was nice and much less stressful. While our wedding was not extravagant in my opinion, seeing as we cut a lot of corners here and there where it made sense for us, weddings in general still cost a lot. There are so many small details you don't think about at first that you can put tons of money into if you get ahead of yourself. And trust me, I wanted to focus on the details as well, but just not spend an arm and a leg to do so. 

The one thing I really wish I had when I started wedding planning was an Excel sheet with a basic breakdown of the expenses for each item as well as a common place to have all of the vendors' contact information easily accessible.  The budgets I was able to find early on either were way too basic, only including things like food, venue, dress, and were not free to download or easily edited. So, like any good DIYer, what did I do?! I made my own, catered specifically to the needs of a young bride who needs to have some organization in her wedding planning process!  Once I had it created, I saved it in my email and was able to consult it on the run if I had to contact a vendor quickly or check the status of our budget. For me, I also kept my guest list in the same Excel workbook on a separate spreadsheet which allowed me to easily go back and forth when I was crunching numbers based on our guest numbers. 

In order to hopefully make the lives of some other brides easier and avoid the annoyance I had in regards to not finding a suitable wedding budget Excel sheet, I have shared our personal wedding budget below as well as a free downloadable Excel sheet, HousLoveDogBlog Wedding Budget, for your personal use. Use it well and wisely, my friends! 

We started out our wedding planning process blindly assuming we could scrape by on a $15,000 total budget with about 90 guests, seeing as we were willing to go with the cheaper, yet quality option rather than the more expensive options for most everything. However, as you'll see below, many of our allotted (expected) expenses were still much lower than our actual expenses. Once we came to the realization that we would have to come up with quite a bit more, we obviously had to up our efforts to save money. Thankfully, by having a year to plan our wedding, we were able to come up with enough money to have the day of our dreams. 

We were able to keep our wedding manageable by doing a few key things:
     :We bought wholesale beer/ wine ourselves and brought it to the venue. (It was still            open bar, however.) 
     :We chose more home-style foods that were still delicious, but not as expensive. 
     :We chose to do a buffet rather than sit down meal. 
     :I DIYed as much as I could without sacrificing quality (ie. Our DIY photo booth, etc.).
     :I printed my own name cards, programs, and part of the invitations using cheap, yet            cute printable downloads from Etsy.

While we cut those corners in ways that were probably only noticeable to ourselves, we did splurge by picking our venue, the Dairy Barn, and making sure the Barn looked exactly as we desired. The overall feeling of our wedding was more important to us than the price tag on the menu or having one more vase of flowers. 



I hope that by sharing our budget, it can help new, soon-to-be brides get an idea on the cost of things (take into account we live/ were married in SC and this will vary some geographically and based on tastes) and make a more practical budget for your wedding. If you are struggling like I did to find a budget Excel sheet, feel free to download my HousLoveDogBlog Wedding Budget and use it as needed. 


When using the downloadable wedding budget, I would suggest starting out at the top left "Contributors" Box and fill in who all is contributing to your overall budget and how much they are contributing. Then go to the allotted expenses column a
nd divvy up the money as you see fit based on what items are most important to you. Then as you book vendors, go ahead and fill in the actual expense, deposit/ date due, name of the vendor, contact name, and website/ other info. I promise this document saved my sanity throughout our entire wedding planning process. Finally, when all is said and done, and paid for (dunn, dunnn, dun...), go back and total up all of the actual expenses in each sub-total category and discover the grand total...or if you'd rather not dwell on that crazy amount of money you just spent on one day, leave that grand total box empty and enjoy being a newlywed! ;) 

I would love to know if my Excel download helps you! Feel free to contact me at HousLoveDogBlog{@}gmail.com.

Peace, 
Allison 

.: If you like this wedding post, check out our Rustic DIY Barn Wedding tab above or click on the link!:. 

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