Whatever else a Wedding Planner’s clients may expect by way of professional services, budgetary control and management will be somewhere towards the top of their list of requirements.
This is actually a complicated subject and one that you can’t really do justice to in a brief article of this nature. Even so, it might be possible to outline just a few of the basic steps associated with budget management for weddings.
Green field scoping
No two couples are the same but the Wedding Planner may see certain relatively commonplace tendencies.
One of those is at the outset for couples to define expectations relating to their wedding which they subsequently have to dilute somewhat once budgetary reality sinks in.
To help in this process, the Wedding Planner will usually produce what is called a ‘first cut’ budget. This is usually a rough set of figures based on the couple’s initial requirements.
At this stage, it usually isn’t worth going into micro-level planning and budgeting detail because it is highly likely that the first rough bottom-line figure may well cause significant revisions in the couple’s overall wedding ideas.
First draft budget
Once the overall scope and scale of the wedding begins to stabilize, it is usually time to produce a detailed financial budget projection for the overall ceremony.
That will include all components of the wedding including not only things such as limousines, flower costs and reception venue rentals but also the Wedding Planner’s fees etc.
It is always highly advisable to build in a very significant contingency of perhaps around 20% to cover unexpected costs.
At this stage, the Wedding Planner’s clients should review the detailed budget and sign it off as being acceptable. It is a good idea to avoid entering into any contractual agreements with suppliers until such time as the budget has been formally accepted.
Although it is often a delicate subject, try to ascertain just who in reality will be paying for the wedding. What the Bride and Groom to be may decide is acceptable and agreed to, isn’t necessarily the same thing as what their respective parents might agree to should they be the ones that will actually be signing the cheques!
So, make sure you have the approval of the person who will be finally responsible for saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when bills arrive.
Tracking and changes
In all probability, the wedding bills won’t come in in one lump at the end.
The Wedding Planner will be receiving bills at all stages and needs to keep track of them in terms of their conformance to original quotes and projections.
If anything appears to be going significantly over budget, the arrangements for that particular item should be stopped until such time as the clients have agreed the additional expenditure. That should be reflected in the master budget and overall forecast total spend for the wedding and that again should be signed off.
As wedding planning certification will usually stress, it is important to distinguish in your own mind between your role as a budget administrator and that of the budget controller (the latter typically being the person who is finally going to pick up the bills).
As a Wedding Planner, you are managing and administering the budget on behalf of your clients. It is not your money and you should be cautious about being held accountable for spending decisions made which your clients do not agree with.
So, avoid springing unexpected surprises on them by adopting a sound process of keeping them fully informed and getting their approval of any budget variances as they happen (and they usually will!) rather than present them as a fait accompli!
Lisa M Morris is an author of this article. Wedding Planner Academy is one of the top class wedding planning training [http://www.weddingplanneracademy.com.au/] institute and provides highly effective information and training for wedding planning and event management.For more info please visit the website [http://www.weddingplanneracademy.com.au/]
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