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You're Engaged...Now What?

You're Engaged...Now What?

Every year 2.3 million couples wed. That breaks down to nearly 6,200 weddings per day. Are you one of the newly engaged that will be planning the event you want to remember forever? If so, you are going to enjoy our Wedding Series on our ASE Credit Union blog. I will try to tackle everything you need to know about planning your dream wedding.

I am not an expert in this field, so I have asked for help from one of Montgomery’s top Wedding Planner’s Kavonda Rogers of Weddings by Vonda.

So here is what Kavonda has to say about…

You’re Engaged…Now What?

The question was asked and you said yes. Every time your left hand moves you catch a glimpse of your engagement ring. Yes. Your engagement ring. Yes! You’re getting married. You have told your parents, family and friends. Now what do you do? Make a wedding dress shopping appointment? Ask every friend you have known since kindergarten to be a bridesmaid? No; that is not the first step. The first step to wedding planning is not as fun. Nor it is most people’s favorite subject: money!

The average wedding in the United States cost $29,600.00. The average wedding for the River Region (Montgomery and surrounding areas) is $18,765.00. That is for 150 guests. There is one hard and fast rule of wedding planning which is more guests=more money.

So, now that we know the average costs of wedding let’s talk about creating a number that works for you.

  1. Discuss with your fiancé(e) what type of wedding you want. Do you want in intimate garden ceremony for 75 guests or are you more partial to a huge ballroom style gala with 300 of your closest friends and relatives?
  2. Estimate the number of guests you want to invite. You don’t have to be very specific but a good guess will help. A high-low value is a great start. We will have at least 100 guests but no more than 150.
  3. Talk to all contributing parties and ask what they are contributing to the wedding. This includes parents, siblings and even grandparents. Push as much as possible to get an actual monetary number from each contributor. Add those figures together. This is your wedding budget.
  4. Make sure steps 1-3 complement each other. If your max budget is $10,000.00 and your guest estimate is 250 you need to either increase budget or cut guests.

Here is my rough estimate formula for wedding budgeting. Think about your restaurant. I know it seems strange but food is 35% of your wedding budget. You got your favorite restaurant in mind. Great! Now think about the cost of your favorite meal there including drink. My favorite restaurant is Outback. My favorite meal at Outback costs around $35.00. So, most people chose their wedding meal by their favorite meal. So, if my favorite meal cost $35 and I want to have 125 people at my wedding I use the following formula.

Meal Cost X Wedding Guest Count= Base Wedding Amount

In my case it means:
$35.00 X 125 guests= $4,375.00

Most professional caterers and venues charge a service fee of anywhere from 19-22%. They also charge tax as well. So, now we have $4,375.00 X 32% (21% service charge plus tax) = $1400.00.

Your base food cost for 125 guests is $4,375.00 + $1400.00= $5775.00

In addition to food you need to make allowance for alcoholic beverages, décor (ceremony and reception), cake, invitations, programs, attire (bride’s dress, groom’s tux and accessories), flowers, entertainment etc.

So, money is the biggest thing to settle before you start planning. Also, keep in mind that couples without a clear budget usual spend $5-10,000.00 more than expected on their weddings. Next time we will be discussing the often coveted and often hated wedding planners. What do they really do?

By: Kavonda L. Rogers [email protected]
Owner/Lead Planner & Designer
Weddings & Honeymoons by Vonda

Lori Cummings [email protected]
ASE Credit Union Loan Information: www.yourASEcu.com/loans

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