Each week, I get the opportunity to meet with clients and clients-to-be to discuss their adventures in wedding planning. Our conversations include topics from family, food, photography, guest lists, concerns, locations and the all-important – but sometimes scary-even-though-it-shouldn’t-be – budget.
That six-letter word is usually the root of most fights during the wedding planning process and I can honestly say that “not” having a budget is going to be one of your biggest mistakes.
First of all, what is your budget? If you respond with: “We don’t really have a budget” then do me a favor and ask the nearest person to oh-so-lovingly-but-still-effectively slap you. If you say that, you’re most likely lying. We all have a budget in life. We may not have an excel spreadsheet down to the penny of where our hard-earned income will go, but there is some type of budget-y thing floating around in your brain. Think of it like this: you want to go out to dinner tonight. It’s a Wednesday, no special event or holiday to celebrate, maybe you just don’t feel like cooking. Do you go to McDonalds and spend $10, the nearest steakhouse and spend $30 or the fancy black-tie restaurant and spend $150? I don’t know, but you do. And what you know is what you’d like to spend.
So, I have a few theories as to why I hear this response:
01. You don’t know the right answer. Ok, that’s fair. I’m with you. I don’t like to be wrong or say the wrong thing – ever (but that’s for another day). Sometimes you’re sitting in front of an expert in the industry or someone you want to impress and you sincerely don’t know what to say. THAT’S 100% OK. But be honest. You have a budget, but you’re not sure exactly what it is. Maybe you can ask them for help on getting a clearer vision on it.
02. You’re not paying for it entirely – or at all. Also fair. Maybe you have a great set of parents that helping financially with the wedding plans. That’s fine, but a discussion needs to take place unless they are going to be planning the entire event start-to-finish. If you are sitting down with professionals and making some executive decisions then you need to know what you’re working with. It may be a difficult discussion, but it will save from any hurt feelings down the road. I also recommend avoiding relative words like “not that much”, “just a small amount”, etc. They are words that mean different things to different people.
03. You think that you will be judged for it. This is one that I can only speak for myself. This world is comprised of many types of people. I think we could all agree that if everyone were a millionaire, it simply wouldn’t be the same world. I have MUCH more respect for someone who knows their budget (or wants to know their budget) vs. someone who doesn’t care and spends money mindlessly and without thought or reason. Plus, what you make think is a small budget may not be. It’s all dependent on what you want to do with it that makes it realistic or not.
04. You think you’ll be charged more if you have a higher budget. Let’s say you’re meeting with a DJ. They ask what your budget is and you respond with $1500. Well, now they know you’re willing to spend up to $1500 no matter what their services initially cost, right? They could’ve been at $750 but now it’s higher because they know you can afford it. I’d like to say that this is a myth, but it’s not. There are some dishonest companies that will increase your cost if they think you can afford it. If this is something that concerns you, say so (or don’t meet with them). Allow them to respond and decide from there. Some companies will not give out pricing information unless they meet with you or find out your budget, which is fair. But I think it should be a conversation of give and take. For both parties, in order to gain information, you must give information. If you don’t feel comfortable, then it isn’t a good fit anyway.
These are just my theories. In your case, it may be a different reason but I strongly urge you sit down and nail down some type of budget. If you’re unsure about where to start, email me. We’ll chat, I can help. I recommend starting with our one-on-one consultations ($59) where we can easily discuss this and point you in the right direction.