Welcome to the third episode in our series on the Un-Wedding Podcast, What to Do After You Get Engaged. As engagement season is upon us, we’re going to breakdown what you should do both immediately after getting engaged, and what to do in the days, weeks, and months after, to not only help you rock your wedding planning journey, but to set the tone for your engagement – an all-important, and often glazed over, stage of intimate relationships.
In this week’s episode, we’re going to be talking about how to figure out and establish a starting wedding budget (duh duh duh!!!) because it’s not as simple as setting a figure and trying to stick with it. We’ll be talking about all the key things you need to consider when determining what your wedding budget will be and leave you with sound strategies you can use to help build the wedding budget that makes sense for you.
Learn more about us and our movement: https://unweddingmovement.com
Corina Waldie 0:11
Welcome to the Un-Wedding Podcast. I'm Corina,
Sydney Spidell 0:14
and I'm Sydney.
Corina Waldie 0:15
We're two neurodiverse wedding planners who are committed to empowering nearlyweds to throw the wedding rulebook, shrink their guests lists and create a meaningful, purposeful wedding experience. We're taking the wedding industry by storm and disrupting the status quo. We're the Un-Wedding Planners and we invite you to join our movement.
Sydney Spidell 0:33
We record our podcast from Treaty Six Territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibwe, Salto, Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others, whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.
Sydney Spidell 0:58
Welcome to the third episode in our series on the Un-Wedding Podcast, What to Do After You Get Engaged, where we're breaking down all the steps you should take in those key days after the ring drops to not only get your wedding planning journey off on the right foot, but to actually set yourself up to enjoy your engagement period. A point in many relationships that often gets glazed over because the whole focus gets put into the wedding.
Corina Waldie 1:25
And in this week's episode, we're going to be doing a really big topic, we're going to be talking about how to figure out and establish your wedding budget (duh duh duh!!!). Because the truth is it's not as simple as setting a figure and trying to stick with it. So we're going to be talking about all the key things you need to consider when determining what your wedding budget will be and leave you with sound strategies that you can use to help build the wedding budget that makes the most sense for you.
Sydney Spidell 1:52
Okay, so how do we start doing that I got cash to burn, let's plan an event?
Corina Waldie 1:57
Well, I think it's honestly starting off, like right off the hop. You know, I think it's just it's like, you know, let's keep it realistic, you need to know where this money is coming from. And everybody has different circumstances, depending on where they're at in their life, depending on their families, depending on you know, so many different factors. So I think it's important to just honestly, keep it realistic. You know, we're going to break down into detail, like, you know, maybe you should think about a budget at, you know, 25 or 40, or 50, or whatever that's going to be, but if you can't afford that, right off the hop, you need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Sydney Spidell 2:34
Yeah, exactly. Figure out what it is that you can afford, and figure out where that money is coming from. Because maybe, you know, there are some people that are Hashtag blessed with somebody bankrolling the whole affair. They're like, Heck, yeah. Like you like what you're doing. I want to give you the loot, give me the loot, and make that happen. But not everybody is in that sort of position to be able to just accept the gift.
Corina Waldie 3:03
Yeah, no, definitely. And, you know, I, it's not even just having somebody in your life who can, like a parent or, you know, whoever who's willing to pay for it. You know, if you get married at 20, while you're still in university, we're talking likely unless obviously, the parent is bankrolling. But you know, if you're paying for this wedding yourself, the kind of amount of money you're likely going to be able to afford the start of your career, versus by the time you get into your early 30s is likely also going to be quite different as well.
Sydney Spidell 3:29
Yeah, absolutely. So then the best way to figure out what all that's going to cost is by going okay, what sort of a wedding is it that we want to have? And then where do we need to structure that if this is what we're looking for? How, how much of this can we do sort of a thing?
Corina Waldie 3:49
And to be honest, you know, it's sometimes it's really hard for couples to even determine that based on their finances. Because sometimes when you figure out what something costs, you'll make sacrifices in other areas of your life. So you know, I know, this is actually probably as a planner, you know, question one, you know, so many couples have, how the hell do I determine my wedding budget? Right? So, you know, it's definitely there isn't a cut and dry, you know, clear cut answer. But like I said, I think just my just thinking about how you're actually going to be paying for this. And I'm going to be blunt, avoid debt, if at all possible, like don't put expenses on credit cards. You know, I know there's different, you know, different cultures value different things. And, you know, we've talked a lot about boundaries and expectations around weddings. But if you can avoid it, you know, it's one day don't go into years and years and years worth of debt if you can help it.
Sydney Spidell 4:40
It's especially because we know the impact on relationships that debt can have. And then, you know, it kind of brings you into a cyclical sort of situation where if there's a little bit of an impact on the relationship, the relationship is suffering because finances are tight and then you're sort of looking back to Oh, but this is where all the money went. You can almost blame the relationship for your debt problems. When it's not that it's the party. It's not the relationship. Right? So I mean, it's kind of this continuing, little bit of illness that can spread. So yeah, definitely avoid.
Corina Waldie 5:19, or:
Sydney Spidell 5:45
And then it's going to the stuff that really changes, right? Because you have your general budget, but that general budget is going to go so much further, if you have five people attending your wedding versus if you have 250 people attending your wedding.
Corina Waldie 5:59
Guest list size matters. It is huge. It is the largest, most important factor into determining what your final budget, wedding Wow, words or wedding budget, wedding budget, what your wedding budget is going to be. And before you kind of say to me, oh, you know, it's just an extra plate on the table? No, it really very much is not, you know, if you're looking at, you know, a larger wedding, and when I say larger, like 100, 200 people and up, you know, you're talking not only just their plates, you're talking about an invitation, you're talking about a place setting, you add eight to 10 people, you're talking about another table. So now we're talking about more linens, we're talking about place settings, we're talking about another centerpiece, we're talking about day of stationery
Sydney Spidell 6:45
Potentially another area of the venue or another venue entirely than what you were looking at. Just getting additional staff working to be able to keep up with the additional strain on the venue or the caterer or whatever it is. Yeah, it kind of has a big chain reaction there. It's not it's not a plate cost. It's a lot more than that.
Corina Waldie 7:11
Yeah. And you know, and I think for us, that's one of the reasons why we really drive home this ideal of an intimate wedding and not inviting everybody and their mother that you've known from time, you know, through time immemorial, right. And I know, like I said, at least that's what I value. I know, not every family and every culture values that. But you know, when you actually really start to think about the people that are going to be present, you know, that's something that's going to have direct impact on every decision you make for the wedding.
Sydney Spidell 7:41
You don't like think of it as you know, I mean, I'm not a big present person. But who are you spending money on for gifts throughout the year? Right? If there's somebody that you're like, No, I wouldn't spend money on them for a present, like, I'll write on their Facebook wall or something, is this a person you want to spend money on, a lot of money on to come to your wedding?
Corina Waldie 8:06
Yeah. Well, I have, you know, one of the things I've said before to people when they're trying to cut down their wedding budget for an intimate wedding, and I've said, Well, are you willing to spend $100 on them? Are you willing to spend $200 on them? $500, $1,000? And when you start actually thinking about it in that context, you'd be surprised at how fast they can cut their list down.
Sydney Spidell 8:29
Yeah. I know, some people who've been humming and hawing about certain people to invite to a wedding and if I were to phrase it that way, the immediate answer I'd like for $50 would be no. Okay, I think you, you've really answered your own question here then eh?
Corina Waldie 8:46
Obviously, like I said, it really depends on what you value. If you really value being surrounded by all of your family, and you don't care what your status of relationship is, because this is the day, then fine, absolutely - do what you want. But if push comes to shove, it's a great metric for thinking about ways to cut your list.
Sydney Spidell 9:03
And that being said, like you can still have 100 people at your wedding, and not spend all that much money on something. It's just you have to be aware of how far that money is stretching and what kind of event you're getting at the end. So when that first step when you go, Okay, what is it that we want? What sort of wedding do we want? And then in your next step, you're like, Okay, we've got our 100 nearest and dearest here, then you're on step three, and suddenly it's like, and with the money we've budgeted for this that means that either, you know, Aunt Lois is making everybody their own, their own dinner, or, you know, everybody gets their own helicopter, right. And, you know, depending on how much money you have budgeted, it's gonna change for that same amount of guests.
Corina Waldie 9:54
Yeah, no, definitely. It's something. One of the things I love about intimate weddings is being able to really take the amount of money you would have spent on a much larger wedding, and then working to create something that's super creative and super interesting. And you know, creating this guest experience that it was like, oh my god, that was amazing. Because it wasn't typical, right?Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, make people feel like they're at something that is just so beyond what they've ever had access to before, because you're scaling it down.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, very much so. Okay, so now we've talked about a little bit about the guest list. Now, the next thing that you really need to think about is thinking about the actual style of wedding that you want. And what I mean by this is I'm talking about, I call it, it's a little cheesy, but the level of luxury. So when you think, I want you to think about it this way. When you look around at Pinterest photos, or you look around at wedding magazines, or Instagram photos, you know, what sort of style of wedding? What level of decor, what level of experience, what level of everything do you imagine? And the reason I say this is because it really will help to determine your sort of what we call a per guest cost. And we sort of rank these, you know, I rank these within five different categories. So one of the lowest kind of start at the bottom, so obviously, you know, the lowest one being economical, and this is, you know, like $250 per person or less in the scope of larger weddings. I will say that it you know, a lot of what we're about to talk about here changes a lot on the intimate side. But we'll talk a little bit about that afterwards.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, this is kind of along that lines of the economical side, this is more Aunt Lois making everybody at the weddings, their their personal version, not the helicopter rides in version.Corina Waldie:
Economical is definitely, we're looking for ways to cut costs as much as humanly possible, maybe we're looking at bringing in a food truck instead of a high end caterer, or we're looking for you know, you might be looking at a town hall instead of a hotel downtown EdmontonSydney Spidell:
Or finding something with enough natural beauty that you don't really need to add too many florals in there.Corina Waldie:
Exactly. The next level is standard, which we kind of level on average between about 250 and $400 per guest. So this is kind of really one, we start to see, you know, what we'll call the standard wedding, you know, okay, you know, decent size, centerpieces you might be, you're still going to be DIY in some typically some aspects potentially, you're going to probably look at some linen rentals. But we're not going to be looking at luxury linen rentals. It's very much that balance between, you know, if there's things that you're passionate about things that you want to, you know, do or invest in great, but we're also going to be making sacrifices in other areas.Sydney Spidell:
I have a drinking problem. Doesn't matter. I'll just, I'll just pour my water on myself as I drink it. That's fine. Yeah, absolutely. And then, you know, you want to go to the to the next level, this is probably about the max for most of us normal humans.Corina Waldie:
Yeah. So then we have our premium category, which is a much larger range. I also call it the lovely category, because this is where you really see start to see some of those more higher end elements, we're looking at investing potentially, in, you know, maybe a really nice arch, or some kind of, you know, you know, we're bringing in more of those nice details that you see on sort of a lot of weddings in on Instagram and Pinterest. And that ranges from about $400 to about $950. So yes, that's a rather large range. But you're definitely able to accomplish so much more.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, you might be able to, to get your wedding in a magazine in that range, you'd probably do okay,Corina Waldie:
Definitely. And then the next category is luxury, which was about $950 to $2,000. So luxury is we're definitely starting to see what you would see in a lot of wedding magazines. High end, we're seeing lots of luxury finishes, luxury touches, luxury linens. That was a lot with luxury. But we're definitely starting to see more of those high end gorgeous elements that you would typically see in media, wedding media.Sydney Spidell:
And again, this is like not exactly your average Joe out there. This is someone who's got a nice six figure income coming in, or somebody who has been going, I will have the perfect dream luxury, wonderful, gorgeous wedding and they've been saving since they were 16 years old. You know, it's not exactly the most attainable for everybody. Which is again, one of those reasons why we like to suggest you know, it's not just high earners that deserve that sort of experience and if you are then able to not have 100 guests at your wedding, think of how much further that kind of investment could go. And for what you would get for maybe like a standard or premium wedding at a large wedding, you can have something so much more incredible for a small one.Corina Waldie:
Well, you know, let's look at the math. So we're looking at premium. So let's just say $10,000 for easy math. If you're taking, you know, let's say you have 10 guests, and you have a $10,000 budget, you're suddenly bumping yourself up into $1,000 a guest, instead of $100 per guest. Massive, massive difference in terms of what you can afford and what you can have and the kind of experience that you can provide at that level.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then there's something beyond a luxury. There's something for the Sean Parker's of Napster of this world, isn't there?Corina Waldie:
Yeah, there's definitely. That's the ultra luxury. And we just kind of label this we don't even give it a top end, we just say $2,000 per guest plus. So these are the celebrity weddings. These are weddings that are above and beyond anything that you know, you can typically imagine. Like, you know, you are, you know, potentially paying to fly your family and and helicoptering them in into I don't know, like a site in Hawaii and you're gonna get married on the side of the volcano. I don't know. I'm making crap up.Sydney Spidell:ith the elves. That's, that's:Corina Waldie:
Thats beyond - definitely, you know, when we talk about luxury or beyond where we're spending, you know, seven, eight fingers or more. And, you know, like I said, for certain ultra wealthy people that is, you know, totally realistic. Yeah, you know -Sydney Spidell:
They want my dream wedding, I swear. I can go back in time and marry Sean Parker.Corina Waldie:
But like I said, Honestly, that's why the guest count matters, right? Because when we're actually you know, plugging that guest count into this range. So even if you take the low end of a range, so let's let's play with premium, because premium is where I would say the vast majority of couples that are having weddings, they try to, you know, generally stick to is, you know, so look, let's take you know, it was 400 to 950, let's say $500, you're taking $500 per guest, you multiply that by 100 guests, you have a $50,000 wedding, right? So and like I said, this is super, super basic math, but it's to really just give you an idea on where your budget needs to land to have the details and the things that you want.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, absolutely. And then there's also the fact that sometimes when we are building something like we talked about the an extra plate isn't just one extra plate, it's all of these additional things. It could be an additional venue. There are costs that are going to change with the more guests that you have. And there are costs that are going to stay with more or less, right. So if you've rented in area for your ceremony, and you go from 50 guests to 10 guests, but you're still in the same area, your venue cost isn't going to change, you're still renting that space.Corina Waldie:
Yes, very much. And that's something that's really important to note is that, you know, and this is why I say that the numbers that I gave you are for 100 guests or more. Because when we come to talking about intimate weddings or smaller weddings, you know, generally speaking, those numbers shift drastically because of this idea of fixed expenses versus variable expenses. And you know, so when we talk about like, what is a fixed expense, when we're talking about planning a wedding, your venue costs are typically fixed. If you're hiring a planner, planner costs tend to be typically fixed. The reason being for it is it's just as much work for me to plan to plan a wedding for 30 people as it is for 100 people. You're still dealing with the same number of vendors typically, really the only time we save is a little bit on setup, potentially. Yep. Right. But, you know, other things, photography, videography, you're still paying for that person's time and expertise and we've talked about this in other episodes, too. You know, and so those costs, those hard costs, they, you know, end up weighing much more heavily on the per guest fee, when you're talking about an intimate wedding,Sydney Spidell:
And even like really specific things that you're just never gonna think about unless you are somebody who's involved in that kind of thing in your work, like, let's say you want a certain meal for your wedding, some sort of cut of meat, but they're not going to do it, because you don't have the minimum amount of guests to do that. And that might seem silly, but if they have to order in a special kind of meat, and the no one else is going to be buying this, than they are losing money on all of these, you know, and wasting food as well, which were pretty against waste. So, yeah, unless you're thinking about it from a chef perspective, or a kitchen management perspective, you may not necessarily realize the why behind some of these fixed and variable costs.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, very much. And you know, that that's something that, you know, you really have to be aware of, you know, it goes into doing your research. It goes into being really aware of understanding why things cost what they do, especially if you're a couple who has a more limited budget and needs to be, you know, conscious about where you are allocating funds.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah. And that's why at the very beginning of this, you know, it's okay, what, what kind of wedding Do you want? What is this that you want to see, and as always bringing it back to that purpose, developing that purpose. Because we've talked about this in our last episode, I think, talking about what your priorities are going to be. And figuring it out with the people that you share your information with, we're engaged and getting, being able to set up those boundaries, those are also majorly going to come into play within this this place, too, right? Because now you guys have to together decide what are the things you're going to fight for money wise to try and like, make sure you have that involved? Whether that means doing a lot, a lot of work to find the right vendors or right. Did did it search to the D, you know, people who provide stuff, maybe it doesn't start with a D, you know, distributor, Hey, did it eventually, you know, whether it means you're doing steps and steps ahead of what you normally would in search of a great deal. That might be part of it, if that's your priority, so figuring out where those priorities are gonna make it so much easier to really get your budget fixed, at least to some degree, because there's always going to be something that comes up but yeah, but planned in order of okay. And then if we have any extra money, it goes here, if we have any extra money that goes here, or if we need to cut money, it's gonna cut from here, not, not here. There's a lot of hand movement that I'm doing right now.Corina Waldie:
For those of you not watching. But you know, yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And so it's one of actually, it's one of the reasons why very early on in the process. When I'm first meeting with my clients, we do talk about what really matters to them, what do they actually care about. So you know, if they're foodies, I know, this is an example I use all the time, but if they're foodies, and they really want to have an amazing meal, okay, we're going to allocate more of their budget towards hiring, hiring caterer or personal chef, or somebody who's going to give them that, but that same couple might not necessarily care about transportation. They don't care if they drive their own car to their wedding, so okay, fine. We're gonna cut that out of the budget and you can drive your own vehicle or maybe rent one so you have something a little nicer. And that's that's fine and dandy, right It just really depends on what you really ultimately value.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, and there are there are okay everybody's watched the HGTV shows and whenever all these home repair stuff, and they're always so prescribed and so produced, not that I don't love them, but there's this moment where the contractor comes up to the designer and they're like I got some bad news. In this 150 year old house we found knob and tube wiring, we're going to have to replace it. The designers like "What? I had no idea!" Okay, well maybe we should have. You know that's that is a reduced but the reality behind the fact that they're able to do that in every episode and give you that little cliffhanger is because there's always going to be something that comes up. There's always going to be some need for contingency or for a little bit bit of wiggle room or for okay, we we liked this but we actually just have to cut it off right now get some closure, break our hearts and put it out of our mind so we can go forward happily with the rest of this because this is no longer an option for us.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, very much. You know, and, you know, there has been unexpected expenses for so many couples, especially in the last couple of yearsSydney Spidell:
Can't imagine what you're referring to. Pandemic?Corina Waldie:
I was about to say, have you been living under a rock?Sydney Spidell:
Right, right about that, you know, so many couples having to cancel weddings and pay rescheduling fees and cancellation fees or losing deposits.Sydney Spidell:
But a big wake up call for you know, people's awareness of contracts tooCorina Waldie:
Very much so, you know, making sure that you have wedding insurance, you know, in the the importance of insuring your event so that you haveSydney Spidell:
Did you hear, did you listen to people? Wedding insurance.Corina Waldie:
You know, other things that a lot of people tend to forget about is gratuities. You know, we could probably do a whole episode on you know what gratuities but, you know, there's a lot of, you know, a lot of information about, you know, who gets a gratuity and who doesn't. But, you know, if you're thinking about the kind of, you know, I guess in our society, we typically say, 15% 20%, you know, you start adding that up on a bill, like that can become a lot really quickly, if you're not prepared for that.Sydney Spidell:
And then you don't want to be the person who resents your vendors who provided you an excellent service, because you didn't realize that you had to tip people, and then you get to the end of it. And, you know, somebody made you aware of this. And now you're just like, angry that there's extra money coming out of your pocket or whatever. Get that all figured out before, give yourself a range of where you're going to be if they provide you excellent service. If it's everything and more than what you want it then then it's going to be this. And if it's not quite so much, then it's this and whatever, and set it aside and just have it. You have it there.Corina Waldie:
Honestly, I plug it into the budgets right at the beginning, just so that when I work with my clients, just so that, you know, they're prepared that, oh, okay, this is a fee that we have to think about. And, you know, just kind of a quick aside about tipping. There's a lot of controversy, especially because in the wedding industry, especially you're dealing a lot of small businesses, about you know, do you tip a business owner, do you tip their employees or whatever? Honestly, it really comes down to how you feel about the level of service you've received, and what's on your heart. Right. You know, if you want a tip, everybody, great. If you know a lot of you've also got to watch too, because certain vendors, a caterers, oftentimes restaurants, etc. will haveSydney Spidell:
an autogratCorina Waldie:
will have that automatically just included. So you don't necessarily need to tip those, those vendors. So it's just again, it's as always being super aware of what's what.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, absolutely. Wow. Okay. Is that how you build the budget?Corina Waldie:
Yeah, that was, you know, I know, it was a little bit all over the place. But you know, so let's just kind of quickly put it together, put it together. Yeah. So obviously, it was we said, start thinking about the type of wedding. Are you having an elopement? Are you having a 300 person Shindig? Right? Because that is going to be huge. Next thing, obviously, is your guest count, which kind of goes into what I just said. Level of luxury. So you know, thinking about the level of are weSydney Spidell:
going economical, are we matching Sean Parker,Corina Waldie:
and then honest, and then lastly, your priorities and thinking about and ranking priorities. And then obviously, you know, as we talked about having some contingency to it, whether it's an outright just line that you write contingency X number of dollars, or what I like to say is when we're looking at different categories, you just pad those budgets a little bit. So if you've done your research, and you think this expense is going to be $10,000, and you can afford it, okay, let's pat it with 11,000 or 12,000. Just have that little bit extra to to cover and potentially shave off to cover something else or whatever.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, it gives you that flexibility. It gives you wiggle room and my god with high stress things, is it ever nice to have a little bit of wiggle room built in?Corina Waldie:
Yeah, you know, weddings are so stressful. So yeah, you know, we've we've talked a lot about that. Alright, and then obviously, I'm like said, just to sort of drive this point home, is just remembering to keep that budget within your means, know where that money is coming from, because you really don't want to start a marriage, you know, with all of this financial stress if you don't know how you're going to pay for things. Because the reality is that, you know, there's a lot of vendors that won't even show up on your wedding day unless they're fully paid in advance. Right. So you need to know where that money is coming. So that, you know, you know, you end up having that day of joy. And you know, you're not yet showing up and somebody's missing.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, yeah. All right. I think this would also be an interesting series that we could do talking to people who have gone into debt for a wedding or who spent more than planned and just like yeah, seeing how that's all played out. Want to see that people Let us know in the comments below. You know whereever the comments are, wherever you want to put them.Corina Waldie:
Alright. Alright, so well we hope today that our conversation has helped you know how to establish a wedding budget so that you can set the tone for your engagement and rock your wedding planning journey. So next week this is going to be the final episode to our series, but we're going to be talking about how to choose a wedding date and what vendors you want to hire first.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, so if you want to know more, check out our fabulous free eBook after you get engaged on our website unweddingmovement.com. It breaks everything down in more detail and has worksheets and a fun quiz to start your engagement journey on the right foot. And in the meantime, you can join the conversation over on Tik Tok and Instagram. Check us out @unweddingmovement. So until next time,Corina Waldie:
You can find us on the internet unweddingmovement.com or on Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook and Pinterest @unweddingmovement. Our podcast episodes are released weekly and available wherever you like to stream