Setting a Wedding Budget

One of the first and most important tasks in your wedding planning is creating the budget. Studies show that the biggest fights between bride and groom are caused by money concerns. Avoid the heartache and hassle by mapping out your wedding budget with these easy steps…

Step 1: Figure Out Who’s Footing The Bill

Before you can go any further with your budget, you need to establish who will be paying for what. Tradition states that the bride’s parents will cover the wedding costs, but nowadays that can vary from couple to couple. Have a discussion with all parties involved (parents, grandparents, step-parents, etc) to determine what each family’s contributions, if any, will be. Who pays for what in a wedding?

Step 2: Assess the Funds

Now that you know who’s footing the bill, you need to figure out exactly how much cash you have to spend. Tally up the monetary gifts contributed by each family and then, have an honest discussion with your fiancé about how much money, if any, the two of you want to spend out of your own savings. Once you’ve got a firm number, you can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Allocate the Funds

It’s up to you to determine how and where you want to spend your wedding money. Typically, wedding budgets are divided as so: Reception (48-50%), Ceremony (2-3%), Attire (8-10%), Flowers (8-10%), Entertainment/Music (8-10%), Photography/Videography (10-12%), Stationery (2-3%), Wedding Rings (2-3%), Parking/Transportation (2-3%), Miscellaneous (8%). Remember this is just an average and meant to be used as a rough guide. You may choose to put more money into one area than another, which is totally fine. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the costs in any one area.

Step 4: Prioritize

The budget estimate above is just that, an estimate. You and your soon-to-be spouse need to determine exactly how each dollar is spent. If your dream invitations end up costing 5% of the budget, figure out a way to cut expenses somewhere else. Planning a wedding is a lot like marriage: it’s all about compromise. If you go over budget on the reception site rental, try to lower the expenses on food or flowers.

Step 5: Save, save, save

Just because you have X amount of dollars to spend, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Try to be budget-conscious whenever possible and cut costs. Wedding can be incredibly costly affairs and often there are unexpected expenses that pop up at the last minute. Plan a brainstorming meeting with your fiancé to discuss ways you can save money. Got a friend who is a great photographer/graphics designer/florist/baker? Ask him/her to take pictures, creative invitations, assemble bouquets, or make your wedding cake. And don’t forget to scour the Internet for DIY wedding ideas. You’d be amazed how many stunning details you can create yourself at a fraction of the cost.

Step 6: Reevaluate

The wedding budget isn’t something that’s meant to be created and then ignored. You should constantly be reevaluating the budget as you make decisions about the wedding. Create a spreadsheet that can easily be altered as things are purchased or booked. Plug in the numbers and tweak the budget as you go to ensure that everything is covered and you never go into the red.

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