Tag Archives: ask kevin

Ask Kevin- How Do I Create A Budget?

Hi Kevin,

I’m just starting to jump into planning my wedding, and I am at a loss when it comes to creating a budget. I don’t know what qualifies as a reasonable amount! Can you help me?


Anita- Dublin, CA


Hi Anita!

Creating a budget is a tricky process, so I am glad you asked! The first step to figuring out your budget is to figure out where all the money is coming from. Are you and your fiancé going to pay for everything? Are your parents footing the bill? Maybe you have a generous great aunt on your mother’s side. Regardless of who is contributing to your wedding, make sure to get hard numbers. Someone telling you they will give you $2,000.00-$4,000.00 is less helpful that having a commitment for $2,500.00. The average budget contribution breakdown for 2012 was:

  • 59 percent: You and your groom
  • 12 percent: Your parents
  • 28 percent: A combo of people
  • 1 percent: His parents

Once you have figured out how much money you have, it’s time to figure out how you will allocate the money. There are a couple of ways to help you get an idea of how you much you should expect to spend. One way is to ask your wedding venue how much a typical couple at their venue spends. Another way is to assign a dollar amount per guest that you are willing to spend. For instance, if you are willing to spend $200.00 per guest and you have 180 guests, you will need at least $36,000. Finally, if you attended a wedding that you love, and you are close with the couple, ask them how much they spent on their wedding and ask for some tips.


If you’re looking for a general guideline for how much of your budget to dedicate to each aspect, here is the average breakdown for 2012:

  • Groom’s Formalwear (Rental): 1.1 percent
  • Favors: 1.3 percent
  • Officiant: 1.5 percent
  • Hair & Makeup (Including Attendants’): 1.8 percent
  • Attendants’ Gifts: 2 percent
  • Invitations & Other Printed Materials: 2.8 percent
  • Transportation: 2.9 percent
  • Flowers: 5.7 percent
  • Wedding Rings: 6 percent
  • Music: 6.8 percent
  • Wedding Dress, Veil & Other Accessories: 7.5 percent
  • Photography & Videography: 13.6 percent
  • Reception Site, Meals, Cake & Bar: 47 percent

If you are having problems staying within your budget, figure out what’s important to you. Are you a huge foodie, but flowers aren’t as important to you? Go ahead and get that meal upgrade and cut back on your flowers. Don’t be shy about using any money saving tips you may have. Saturdays are typically the most expensive days, but Fridays and Sundays are almost as good and usually cheaper. Have a crafty friend? Have her help you make centerpieces, place cards, etc. Is your brother-in-law a professional photographer? Have him do your wedding photos. There is no shame saving some money wherever you can because you always want to plan for any unexpected charges, like the gorgeous pair of Louboutins you saw!

Make sure to keep track of your budget, either on paper or electronically. We like http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning-tools/tools-wedding-budget.aspx from theknot.com. When you keep track of your budget, you are less likely to go over, which is important!

Wedding planning can be complicated, and it only gets more complicated when there are multiple people contributing money and opinions to your wedding. The important thing to remember is that it is YOUR wedding day. Discuss what you and your fiancé want for your big day and make sure you always stay on the same page.

Ask Kevin: When Should I Book?

Hi Kevin,

I just got engaged a couple weeks ago, and we just set our date for late 2014. I want to get everything locked down now, but I don’t know if I am starting too early. When is the best time to start looking for a DJ, Videographer, and Lighting vendor?



Danville, CA



Hi Marina!

Thank you so much for your question!  Typically the best time to start looking for a DJ and videographer would be about 6-9 months before your wedding, if not sooner. This gives you time to get to know both vendors throughout the planning process, as well as get two important vendors booked and out of the way leaving more time to enjoy the engagement period.

 As for lighting, you should begin contacting vendors 9-12 months before your event. Lighting sets the whole mood for the event, and as a result waiting could be risky. The last thing you want to do is wait until a week before your wedding to make the decision to book a lighting vendor only to find out they are all out of those beautiful chandeliers you had your heart set on. You can always add to your lighting down the road, but getting the basics taken care of early is the best way to ensure that you will be taken care of. I always recommend to book early, because then there will be less stress about what your venue is going to look like as the day creeps closer.

In fact, when it comes to vendors I will always tell my clients “If you like a vendor, and you mesh well, STOP shopping and BOOK!” Chances are if you wait and shop around and then decide that the one vendor you met with 6 weeks ago was the best, they will be booked and you will be sorry that you ever bothered meeting the others. Too many times there are clients that wait to book a DJ and by the time they do, that DJ is no longer available for their wedding!

The sooner you book those major vendors, the better. There is no better feeling than knowing who your DJ will be, how your videographer is going to shoot your wedding, and what your venue is going to look like on your big day, 6 months before the wedding. This gives you more time to focus on your florist, cake designer, photographer, and how amazing you are going to look when you take that walk down the aisle towards your soul mate, not to mention actually having the time to enjoy your engagement!