Controlling wedding costs

A lack of discipline in controlling wedding costs can lead to pain in the bank account. But how to budget?

Already I’ve seen dazed brides & families at wedding shows, overwhelmed by all the decisions they need to make. The emotional day is fraught with emotional decisions – and sometimes one person’s emotional decision clashes with someone else’s.

So how do you make it work?

My suggestion is to first develop a budget you can afford. Then use it as a discussion point with all those contributing to the day. I’ve found what I think may be a helpful tool – a company that surveys brides about what they paid.

It includes a county & major budget item breakdown. So if your wedding is in Louisville or Elizabethtown, you can find out average prices paid by brides. (The data is from 2012; the site includes a link for you to do your own survey if you’re married.) It does NOT suggest current pricing by vendors. The link includes info about the methodology behind the stats.

The site’s biggest advice? Control your guest list. That’s a tough assignment. This site estimates that in Jefferson County in 2012, each extra guest added $145 to $178 per person to a couple’s costs. The site estimates that the average guest count fell between 128 and 148 guests. Personally, I’ve shot at weddings that seemed to be closer to 100-125 guests – and fewer.

In full disclosure, this site said Jefferson County couples spent an average of  $748 to $1,246 on the wedding video. Those who hired “well-experienced professionals”  paid more.  Of course I think the wedding video is a key cost – because it is an excellent family heirloom that you’ll treasure for years to come!