If you’ve already started planning your wedding, then you already know that it’s going to be an expensive affair. The average wedding in the United States today costs more than $20,000 that’s about what the average automobile costs! However, you have to remember as you are writing those checks that this is going to be a special, once-in-a-lifetime day and that it’s worth spending a little extra to make it special.
Step 1: Create Your Budget
With that said, however, you shouldn’t spend a dime on your wedding until you’ve had a chance to make a budget. This is a true statement no matter who is paying for the event.
The best way to start your budget is to determine how much money you have available to spend. Avoid taking out loans or racking up credit card bills to cover these expenses if you can since too much debt at the beginning of the marriage may hurt you later when you try to buy a home or a new car.
After you know what you can spend, then you can use some estimates to determine how much each part of the wedding can cost. On average, the cost for the wedding attire (just the parts you’re responsible for, such as bride’s dress, groom’s tuxedo, etc.) represents about 10% of the total wedding expenses. That means if you can spend $15,000 on the wedding then you’ll end up spending about $1,500 on these items. On the other hand, the costs of the reception usually run close to 50% of the budget so that means you’ll be devoting about $7,500 to planning that party.
Compared to those costs, invitations will probably seem fairly affordable. They usually account for about 3% of the total budget. That means if you’ve got $15,000 to spend, your invitations should cost no more than $450.
With $450 to spend, you might find yourself fairly limited, particularly if you are having a big wedding. The average cost of 100 invitations is around $225 but can be as high as $2000 depending on the type of printing (engraving is the most expensive) and the type of paper you choose to use. That’s not including the costs of the remaining wedding stationery, including thank you cards, wedding announcements, and save the date cards.
Shopping around can help you lower your costs and stick to your budget. The golden rule is to get at least three quotes for every aspect of your wedding, including your invitations. You might be surprised how much less you’ll pay at one vendor over another. Of course, you have to take into consideration the quality of the work, the experience of the vendor, and other factors.
Another way to stick to your budget is by creating your own invitations. Online vendors often sell beautiful paper in ideal sizes for invitations and other wedding stationery. The costs are considerably less than what you’d pay for having the invitations professionally made but you’ll still be using quality paper. Using that paper, you can create your invitations using your own printer.
Remember to be realistic when you are setting your budget. It won’t help you to plan on a very low amount if that’s not what you’re going to be able to spend.