Congratulations, you’re engaged! The first few weeks and months of your engagement (depending on how short or long you want to keep it) can be a little scary and overwhelming. Figuring out budget stuff and touring locations can become a little hectic and disorganized, and I recommend a solid wedding spreadsheet.
Microsoft Excel (or any other spreadsheet program you might be comfortable using) is designed to be easy to use and helpful, and is especially wonderful during the wedding planning process – take advantage of it! If you aren’t comfortable using Excel or an equivalent program, try to get help from potential bridal party participants or your new fiancé/fiancée. I first learned how to navigate it by looking around on Google and YouTube for quick tutorials – it’s an amazing tool, as it does all of your math and budgeting for you. Plus, you can add your proficiency to your resume once the wedding planning is finished!
Columns should be organized by different budget scenarios, starting with your ideal budget and working toward more specific budgets on the right. I recommend one column for an ideal budget (have a number in mind as you build your spreadsheet), a column for projected budget (how much you think you’ll actually spend depending on research – you can add several of these columns as you find new vendors with different prices), a column for quoted prices from vendors, and an actual amount spent column. These columns will help you to keep your budget in perspective as you move forward with hiring vendors and collecting quotes. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize all possible budget outcomes without a physical guide, and this is a great solution.
Your rows can be as general or specific as you like, but keep in mind that you can always add subheadings for very specific items that you know will be a part of a larger group. You can have a row for “food” and a row for “alcohol” (or “decor”/”sparklers” or “stationery”/”Save the Dates“, etc) or you can group them together as a single expense. This will change depending on how inclusive venues and packages are (hence the several columns you can dedicate to different budget scenarios), and you can always group them in later columns – such is the wonder that is Excel!
The reason that Excel is such a great wedding planning tool is that nothing with take you by surprise as you add up your expenses and discuss priorities with your fiancé/fiancée. Your spreadsheet can be a singular tool that keeps track of your expenses and helps you decide where you want to spend your money on your wedding day!