wedding budget jar

How to Successfully Create and Keep to Your Wedding Budget

When you’re figuring out your wedding budget, the topic can be a sensitive one. Here at Melhorn Manor, we completely understand the hiccups you may come across with your budget in your wedding journey, which is why we want to provide you with comfort and guidance.

We’ve mentioned in some of our previous blog posts how money can be a huge stress factor for couples planning a wedding, but it doesn’t have to be! Whether your budget is $25,000 or $250,000, there’s a way to stick to your wedding budget without causing stress. With sufficient organization, support from your significant other, a little flexibility, and this guide, you can have your dream wedding and still keep to your budget.

Determine Your Ideal Wedding Budget

The first step? Talk to your significant other about what wedding budget is ideal for both of you. Knowing your budget from the start will help you find the venue, photographer, caterer, and other vendors that will help you create your dream wedding.

We discussed the average wedding cost for Lancaster County in 2018 in an earlier blog post. In short, the average price of a wedding in the United States in 2019 was $33,900, and Lancaster County isn’t too far behind. Whether you have an average budget, or an above-average budget, taking the time to go over details with your partner will help you prioritize what is important to you and where you want to spend the bulk of your budget. Knowing this will help you more easily make the concessions that budgets (even above average budgets!) sometimes require.

For example, if you and your soon-to-be spouse are gourmet food lovers and look forward to sitting down to savor a five-course meal with your guests, you can prioritize catering in your wedding budget over something that is less important to the two of you.

Track Your Spending

Once you have a budget set, it’s important that you can easily tally-up where your spending is at within that budget. Many people use spreadsheets, and there are plenty of free wedding budget spreadsheet downloads on the internet. But perhaps even easier to use are expense tracking apps specifically designed for wedding budgets.

There are a multitude of wedding apps out there that will help you easily track expenses. Some apps will even let you categorize items as “needs” and “wants” making it really easy to identify the priority items we suggested you and your significant other decide on earlier in this article. And some apps will split expenses between different parties, making it ideal if you have several people covering costs of the wedding.

Another strategy you can use for tracking expenses is to pay for all expenses out of a single, dedicated “wedding” account – whether that be a checking account or a credit card. And don’t forget to designate one person to do the tracking! Multiple people tracking expenses could result in no one knowing true totals.

Understand What You’re Purchasing

Similar to tracking your spending, when you’re searching for wedding venues in Lancaster, PA—or any other type of vendor—make sure you know what you’re buying. When you work with a wedding venue like Melhorn Manor, you can rest easy knowing all of your costs are laid out as transparently as possible because we want your day to be something magical—not full of dollar signs. You’d be surprised how many hidden fees some vendors can slip into your big day, and sometimes you don’t see the bill until after the wedding!

We say this not to scare you but to help you make smarter decisions with your wedding budget. For instance, make sure that when you hire a wedding photographer, you know how long you’ll have them. Most photographers are usually hired anywhere between 4 and 8 hours of work, so you’ll want to ensure they’re there for the most significant parts of your day.

In addition, also watch out for any caterer fees for cleanup, alcohol, or cutlery. Most vendors will be upfront with you, and some venues (like here at Melhorn) have a pre-set list of caterers to avoid these fees. Luckily at Melhorn, owners Allory and Jess offer ample clean up time and will even help out by taking things to cars, cleaning up, moving tables, etc. We also offer early setup if possible the day before at no additional charge—anything we can do to help make your day go smoothly!

Identify Where You’re Flexible

If you don’t have an unlimited wedding budget (and very few people do!), it’s helpful to identify areas where you can be flexible if you need to be. Here are a few ideas of ways that flexibility can help you achieve your dream wedding within your budget:

  • The Guest List: Your guests are the most important part of your wedding. And because of this, they can be the most expensive. For food alone, one plate or person can cost $50 or more. Not to mention that as the guest count goes up, so do the costs for linens, china, glassware, and other supplies.
  • The Wedding Date: You likely already know that the wedding season is primarily May through November. But did you know that most wedding venues (including us!) have reduced pricing in the off-season? You can still have your beautiful dream wedding during the off-season, and doing so could gain you back some money to spend elsewhere in your budget.
  • Flowers: No, you don’t have to get fake flowers to save money. But talk to your florist and find out ways to re-purpose ceremony flowers for the reception, or choose flowers that are in-season or even locally available. You can also go an all-greenery route, which is a trendy look right now.
  • Wedding Favors: The mementos you give to your guests to remember your special day by are important. But just because they are important, doesn’t mean they have to chew through a big portion of your budget. If you prioritize other aspects of your wedding over the favors, consider “from the heart favors” that you make yourself.

Expect the Unexpected

Sticking to your wedding budget can be difficult, which is why we always suggest allowing your budget to have a little bit of wiggle room. If your budget is $20,000 maximum, aim to spend $18,000 so that you know you’re covered if any surprises pop up.

Luckily, if you choose Melhorn Manor as your wedding venue in Lancaster, PA, you won’t have any “surprise” costs for renting out the facility. A lot of venues tend to charge extra for using a certain building or aspect of the venue, but our prices are all-inclusive and give you access to everything on our beautiful historic property on your big day.

Just remember—controlling your wedding budget is all about compromise, conversation, and being realistic. This is a fun time in your life—don’t let money spoil it!

Choose the Right Wedding Venue

Speaking of compromises, apart from your caterer, your wedding venue is likely going to be your highest cost. Shop around for one that suits your needs and don’t settle on one that doesn’t feel right.

Another thing to consider is keeping your ceremony and reception all in one place to save on any travel costs for guests or vendors. Here at Melhorn Manor, we have a beautifully renovated historic property that is great for both ceremonies and receptions. Our bridal suite and man cave are the perfect spots for you and your wedding party to get ready, plus we have all the modern amenities you could need in our three historic barns. Even our outdoor space is beautifully landscaped if you want an outdoor ceremony! And our venue rental pricing covers the entire property, for the entire day, and even some extras like table, chairs, yard games, fire pit, room flips, and more!

When you’re looking for the perfect barn wedding venue in Lancaster, PA, for your dream wedding, Melhorn Manor is here for you. Reach out to us today if you have any questions about costs or amenities. We are here to answer any questions you may have.