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  • Writer's pictureMarine Nalbandian


First of all, congratulations!! I’m sure by now your photo library is filled with pictures of THE RING from every angle because that’s just what you gotta do; and guess what, it’s your moment, ENJOY it!! After you get the ring on your finger, take all the photos and decide which one is perfect enough to post on social media to make your big announcement, and after all the fun has been had, you have to start planning a wedding.

Time to get to business! What I suggest to all couples, and what I did myself when I first got engaged, is to sit down and talk about the budget. Of course in an ideal world we’d all have an extra $50,000+ lying around to plan and splurge on the perfect wedding but that’s just not the case for most couples. Some couples plan ahead and realistically calculate how much they can save in the next year or two and decide their budget that way. Some couples have some money saved up and try to stay within that amount for wedding planning purposes. Some couples have parents/grandparents/godparents who will contribute financially. If your situation is like the last one mentioned, let’s address the elephant in the room right away: you will have to put aside your wants, even if only slightly, to accommodate those helping you with money. Keep that in mind when planning on number of guests, date, pricing, etc because now you’ll have multiple people to please, different traditions to consider and different styles to incorporate.

Let’s say for the sake of this article that you and your partner are paying for your big day yourselves. Things will get stressful, things will get hard but this will also be an opportunity to see how you manage your finances together. On a personal note, this was the area where my husband shined brightest. He organized our finances for the year, made an excel sheet for each of us that listed how much we could save while still paying our bills and having some spending cash and realistically laid out what we could afford. If you haven’t done something similar yet, do yourselves a big favor and do it now!! It will help guide you during the months ahead.

Once you know how much you can afford, you’ll need to sit down and really think about what’s most important to you, what you want to allocate more money towards and what you can manage to spend less on. If you have a specific venue in mind, you have to check what is included in their special events packages. Do they provide food, drinks, tables, chairs, linens, utensils? If not, then you have to really think about your budget, the cost of this dream venue, the additional cost for food, rentals, etc and see if it can realistically work for you. This is where your wedding planner can guide you but it is up to you and your partner to decide, ultimately. Personally, I had my heart set on an outdoor venue for our reception. The idea of twinkle lights hanging in the night sky really warmed my romantic heart. When we looked at our options, we went with a banquet hall instead - the all-inclusive venue, rentals and catering price was impossible to beat. It’s all about compromise and doing what makes the most sense, not just for you but also for the family and friends that will help you celebrate your big day.

Below, I will break down an average couple’s budget and how to allocate funds to best meet your needs in a realistic and logical way. Please feel free to email or call me with questions so that I can better assist you with your specific wedding planning needs as you go through this wonderful and crazy journey that is your engagement!

BUDGET: $30,000

Venue: $5,000

Officiant/church: $750

Catering: $10,000

Alcohol: $1,500

Florals: $2,200

Photography: $3,500

DJ: $2,000

Dress: $2,000

Hair & Makeup: $300

Suit: $750

Day-of Coordinator: $1,000

Invitations: $500

Cake: $500

**This is an example of how to allocate your available budget and should only be used as a guideline. Each wedding is different and each couple’s visions for their wedding day is different. If you have a friend who will make floral arrangements for your wedding, you can use that $2,200 and hire a videographer or order late night snacks instead.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun, try not to stress and keep in mind that all of this hard work goes towards planning the special day where you get to celebrate your love in front of your closest friends and family so enjoy this time with each other.

Until next time,


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