Understanding these common budget pitfalls might help you make better financial decisions.
Wedding Budget, Bride and Groom Figurines on Money
Credit: JGI/Jamie Grill

Going over their set wedding budget is a big fear of many couples, which is understandable considering just how expensive a ceremony and reception can be. If you're well prepared, organized, and plan ahead, it's absolutely possible to stay focused and come in on-or even under!-the budget you've set. Here are six common reasons why couples exceed their budgets so you'll know exactly what to look out for.

Not setting a realistic budget to begin with.

The most common reason couples go over budget is because they haven't set a detailed, realistic budget from the start of the planning. Instead, they make decisions as they go and realize when it's too late that they're out of funds to cover even the basics. Don't be this couple. Do your research, talk to friends and family who've recently planned weddings, and set a detailed budget that outlines everything you'll pay for or purchase for your wedding festivities.

Not having a contingency fund.

Things go wrong. That's life, right? One of the things most planners will tell you when you're setting up your initial budget plan is to include a contingency fund as a "just in case" line item of five to ten percent of your overall budget. There are always going to be unforeseen circumstances and things that pop up unexpectedly, and you don't want to feel like you can't cover these additional details when they arise.

Not having a backup plan.

Even if your wedding is set to take place in an area that's known for having amazing weather year-round, there is always the possibility that a storm could roll in and change all your outdoor plans. Without a reasonable backup plan in place, you could end up spending thousands of extra dollars on tenting and creating an indoor space to keep guests dry. Always have a backup plan that works within your budget. Chances are, you won't need to use it, but you'll be so glad you had that rainy day plan and fund set aside.

Not compromising and prioritizing.

If you tackle wedding planning without any sense of flexibility, you're likely going to end up going over budget. If, instead, you can decide your top priorities and work on your flexibility with other bits and pieces as you go, you're more likely to be able to stay within a reasonable budget range. For example, if your number one must-have is live music, you'll set a high price point on this and maybe a lower price point on décor. From there, you'll hire the band you love, and when it comes time to select table settings, you can go with the basic options instead of renting collected vintage pieces and fancy linens.

Not listening to their vendors' advice.

Your vendors may be fond of the saying, "This ain't my first rodeo," and for good reason. Lean into their knowledge and expertise, ask for their advice or options for what will work within the budget you've set before you start working together. Feel free to check in throughout the planning, too, making sure you're staying within budget and not forgetting anything.

Not embracing the elements.

Whether you want your florist to order out-of-season flowers, your rental company to drape off part of the venue you don't like, or to build a wooden platform for your beach wedding on the sand, fighting the elements is a major cost driver. If you can focus on emphasizing the things you love about your venue, the time of year, and the place where you're having your wedding rather than covering up the things you don't like, you're more likely to stay within your budget and feel like you really used your money wisely.


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