Which comes first: make a budget or create a guest list?

Getting engaged is an exciting time—until the questions about the wedding start rolling in from loved ones. Where are you getting married? Are you going to have a DJ or band? What kind of dress do you want to wear? You may have a vision or general idea of what kind of wedding you’d like to have, but it can be difficult and overwhelming to figure where to start. The million-dollar question is, where to begin with wedding planning?

Just like the chicken and the egg situation, it’s difficult to figure out what comes first: the budget or the guest list?

The obvious and logical answer is budget. You need to know how much you’re willing to spend—the ideal amount as well as the maximum amount—before considering the size of your wedding and booking a location. This is the common and popular way to plan a wedding, and honestly, it makes sense. Even if you have no idea how much a wedding will cost in your area, you need to come up with an ideal and/or max number you are comfortable spending on the entire wedding based on your specific financial situation.

However, instead of prioritizing one over the other, both budget and guest list are equally important and should go hand-in-hand. Why? Guest count directly affects the wedding budget. The number of guests at your wedding will directly determine how much you spend in food and beverage—the biggest wedding expense—and it will also have an impact on flowers and rentals like tables, chairs and linen. Having a rough estimate of how many guests will be invited to your wedding will not only help you shape your budget, but it will give a realistic idea of how much your venue and catering bills will cost (which will take up nearly half of your overall wedding budget).

The first wedding planning task you’ll need to complete in order to move on to subsequent items is to find your venue(s). Because of this, you will need to an idea of your estimated guest count while venue hunting to ensure your guests can comfortably fit in the venue you’ll eventually select.

Creating a guest list can be stressful, so we suggest thinking about your guests in terms of who is definitely a yes, who is a maybe and who is a no. If you’re having trouble transferring the maybe guests to the no guests category, consider these four groups who impact the numbers and could help significantly cut the guest list: kids, coworkers, distant relatives and friends you haven’t spoken to in years. Remember, the fastest way to stay within your wedding budget is to cut guests from your list.

When you consider both a wedding budget number and estimated guest count from the get-go, you can jump into the wedding planning process with confidence.

Saturday, May 15, 2021


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