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San Jose, CA Wedding Budget, Budget for a Wedding, Developing a Wedding Budget

San Jose, CA Wedding Guide


Wedding Budget

The average wedding in San Jose, CA, is $28,914-$48,190, according to www.costofwedding.com.  This represents a significant amount of money, especially if you are shouldering a majority of the financial responsibility.  Amid the number of higher priced ticket items such as wedding attire, catering, photography and the honeymoon, there are many smaller priced elements that can significantly affect the budget. Untracked purchases of wedding shoes, ribbon, cake tops, candles, picture frames, etc., add up quickly and before you know it, the flower budget requires trimming in order to compensate. Therefore, it is crucial that you are responsible with the budget.

Take the time to research decisions to ensure it is spent as efficiently as possible.  Keep track of every dollar spent to focus spending on the planning elements that matter most. Remember, in the end, it will all be worth it.  After the wedding day is over, you will have a number of memories that are truly priceless.



Who Pays for Everything?
Financial Institutions

Determining who will help out and contribute to the budget will require open discussion.  Traditionally, more dollar weight fell on the bride’s family but in today’s world, that load is being balanced between a number of sources.  Today, more families of the groom are also providing funding, as well as the bride and groom themselves.  As more established couples get married, they are more financially secure than those in their early twenties and less financial help is coming from their families.  Whatever your scenario, discussions should take place to help determine a realistic budget to begin working with.

Instead of asking family for an overall dollar amount, ask them to pay for a certain portion of the wedding. This could generate an easier discussion showing everyone how the budget is being divided.  Below is the traditional breakdown of who typically covers what elements for the wedding.  This could serve as a guideline and discussion starter to determine what everyone is most comfortable financially providing.

Bride:                                     
Groom’s wedding ring
Groom’s wedding gift
Attendants’ gifts
Personal stationery
Bridal luncheon
Parents’ gift

Groom:                                  
Bride’s rings(engagement and wedding)
Marriage license
Officiant's fee
Bride’s wedding gift
Groomsmens’ gifts
Boutonnieres for groomsmen
Mother’s flowers
Groom’s attire
Honeymoon expenses
Transportation for bride and groom after wedding  
Parents’ gift

Bride’s Family:                     
Engagement party
Bride’s wedding attire
Bride’s parents’ attire
Wedding invitations, announcements and stationery
Engagement and wedding photographs
Ceremony site fees and decorations
Reception
Flowers and bouquets
Wedding party transportation - ceremony to reception
Videographer
Musical entertainment
Wedding Consultant
Wedding gift for newlyweds

Groom’s Family:                   
Groom’s wedding attire
Groom’s parents’ attire
Wedding gift for newlyweds
Rehearsal dinner

Wedding Party:                    
Bridal shower and/or bachelorette party for bride
Bachelor party for groom
Accommodations for themselves
Wedding attire for themselves



How Much Will You Need?

There are different schools of thought on how to determine the budget for a wedding.  Some schools believe you should investigate beforehand, with a number of vendors, the quality you require and how many people you plan to invite.  Determine the cost to accommodate the guest list with your desired elements and that will determine how much money is needed for the wedding.  The problem with this method is that most brides rarely have the time, not to mention the unlimited financial resources, for this type of planning.  If you do, this option works great, but if you need to work within a specified budget then cost saving strategies will need to be applied.

The next school of thought is to use traditional budget advisors to estimate what percent of the budget should be allocated to each planning element. In theory, using these advisors, a budget is created for each element and ensuring planning stays within the given dollar amount, the overall budget is maintained.  While this can work, it is not realistic.  The reality is flowers mean more to one bride than the cake, and decorations at the reception may mean more to one bride than the food.  With a percent allocation scenario, you could be spending too much money on something that isn’t that important to you, and not enough on those elements that are.

The balance, however, is to utilize a combination of both schools to ensure you stay within budget and still get the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.  Budget allocators should be used as a starting point to help prioritize the budget.  From there, adjust percentages based on order of preference, giving money to those elements that mean more to you and taking away from those that don’t.  Once you have prioritized the budget, begin researching vendors who deliver the quality standard you are looking for.  Select the desired vendor and place them in the budget scenario.  After investigating and selecting all vendors, add up the dollars to ensure you’ve stayed within budget.  If you haven’t, DON’T PANIC!  No contracts should have been signed yet; re-prioritize to determine what elements can be eliminated until the budget is in alignment.

Below is a standard budget allocator to start planning and be adjusted based on wants and priorities:

Reception:.................................................................50%
-Beverages
-Catering
-Cake
-Location fee
-Servers
-Rental items
-Decorations

Ceremony:................................................................ 2%
-Location fee
-Officiant
-Aisle runner
-Candles and decorations

Attire:........................................................................8%
-Bridal gown
-Tuxedos
-Veil
-Jewelry
-Shoes
-Garter
-Accessories

Flowers:....................................................................8%
-Bouquets
-Boutonnieres
-Corsages
-Ceremony flowers
-Reception flowers
-Flower girl basket
-Decorations

Music/Entertainment:.................................................7%
-DJs
-Musiciansfor ceremony
-Musicians for reception

Photographer/Videographer:........................................10%
-Fees, prints, copies
-Albums

Stationery:................................................................3%
-Announcements
-Invitations
-Thank You cards
-Save the Date cards
-Maps
-Wedding program
-Postage
-RSVP cards
-Calligraphy
-Reception napkins

Wedding Rings:.........................................................2%
-Bride’s ring
-Groom’s ring

Transportation:...........................................................2%
-To ceremony
-To reception
-Guest transportation

Gifts:........................................................................2%
-Favors
-Attendants’ gifts
-Groomsmens’ gifts
-Parents gifts
-Couple gifts

Miscellaneous:.......................................................... 6%
-Marriage license
-Taxes and tips
-Cake knife
-Guest book and pen
-Toasting glasses

Know that for some elements you may go over, and for others you may be under budget.  The key is to work out different scenarios and determine where you are most comfortable trimming, to ensure the budget is maintained.  If your budget needs to cover the honeymoon as well, adjust percentages to make sure this is included.



Budget Tracking

Once you have determined the budget and are ready to start shopping, keep track of actual spending against the budget.  A standard spreadsheet can help or this site provides a budget worksheet to simplify the process.  Whatever method you prefer, make sure to track spending against the budget to ensure you are not excessively going over or under budget.

Download the Budget Worksheet.

Build in a little slush fund, typically 3-5%, for those circumstances when you go over a little in budget.  This can provide a little peace of mind so you do not feel so strained during the planning.  This can also be used to cover any last minute or unforeseen costs. 

There are some costs, however, that sometimes get left out of the planning.  Make sure to include tips for vendors, stamps for thank you cards and RSVPs, or any trial runs you request from vendors.  All of these costs can add up quickly, if not considered in initial planning.



Open a Wedding Account

Financial Institutions

An ideal way to keep track of the wedding budget, and not have it interfere with everyday finances, is to open a bank account specifically for your wedding.  This will ensure that money saved for the wedding will truly be spent on the event.

Any money that is saved before the wedding, or received from family and friends, can also be placed in this account, further ensuring it is spent on the wedding and not everyday living.  It will also provide a record of what has been spent to date and where you are in terms of the overall budget. 

Make sure to obtain a credit card through the account and use this for all of the planning purchases.  If available, ensure that some kind of rewards program is included with the card, such as frequent flier miles, or hotel points and you may earn enough miles to cover a future flight for you and your spouse, or a few days in your favorite hotel.



Keeping the Budget in Line

Because this is your big day you will want it to be everything you’ve dreamed of.  Be careful however, not to let the spending get out of control on too many high priced add-ons that you think will make your day extra special.  Remember the real meaning for the day is to celebrate your love.  Most people won’t remember the fancy add-ons, and with everything going on that day, you might not either.  Below are some additional thoughts to keep in mind when planning the wedding that could help keep the budget in check.

Scrutinize the Guest List:  This can make the biggest impact, both positive and negative, on the overall cost of the wedding.  Keeping this down to include only those who MUST be invited will effectively lower the overall cost of the wedding.  When the catering charge is $150 per person, eliminating 12 people from the list is a significant overall savings. 

Plan Early and Book Early:  Booking in advance can provide significant saving and avoid any last minute charges.  Late notice to vendors typically provides them with a means to charge more for their services if they have to rush or pay overtime to accommodate your requests.

Keep Things Simple:  While the hibiscus may be your favorite flower and look gorgeous in the bouquet, they may not be in season or native to the area.  Sticking with choices that are locally available or in season will avoid high priced shipping or special order fees.  Keep the invitations simple.  When adding a lot of custom inks, special inserts or unique shapes, these costs can add up quick.  A simple design can still be elegant while not exhausting the budget.  Cut down on the number of courses planned for the dinner.  Three courses instead of five can be just as memorable and delicious, while ensuring the budget does not get out of hand.

Mix it Up:  If serving the best champagne, consider using it for the toast, and then switch to a less expensive alternative for the remainder of the night.  Or limit the amount of time you serve champagne, and then switch to a lower priced alcohol.  No one will notice the difference and this can ensure more control over the budget.



 
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