A wedding can be an exciting time, and sometimes it can be easy to let your emotions get the better of you and spend more than you anticipated on spending. While it is a special day in your life, it is important to set and stick to a budget you can afford so you do not have the stress of paying off excess debt when you are embarking on the next stage of your life. So how can you stay on track with your wedding budget and still have a day you'll never forget? Take a look at these 7 tips,
1. Take a Hard Look at Your Finances
The first step, and most often the least exciting when planning an event, is taking a good, hard look at your current financial situation. You will need to come up with an amount that you will be able to save in time or that you can afford to cut from your budget or savings accounts. Once you have determined the most you can spend, a number 10 to 20 percent less, that will give you your budget range. While this can be an awkward conversation for many new couples starting out, it is a good way to build a strong foundation for discussing money matters throughout your marriage.
2. Create a Reasonable Guest List
One of the largest expenses of a wedding is the food and drink, and the amount you will need to provide for your guests will have a direct effect on the total costs. While it can be tempting to invite everyone that you know, including distant family you may rarely contact, it is best to set an amount on your guest list that is reasonable and stick to it. Start out by determining numbers for close family and friends to make sure you have the most important guests on the lists before you begin adding more.
3. Determine Contribution Amounts From Others
While some couples may tackle their wedding expenses all on their own, often times the bride's and groom's family will contribute to the wedding expenses. It can sometimes be awkward determining how much they plan to contribute or what items they plan on paying for, but it is an important discussion to have sooner rather than later. Just remember that if you accept monetary contributions from family, they will probably expect to be able to provide some input.
4. Create a Wedding Account to Stay on Budget
The best way to stay on budget and keep track of your wedding spending is by opening a banking account and setting aside the money budgeted in it. Use the money in the account only for the wedding expenses. If you end up with some extra in the account at the end, you will have some spending money for your honeymoon or be able to pick up a couple of items from your registry.
5. Decide What Parts of the Wedding Are Most Important to You
There are primary parts of your wedding that will require a significantly larger expense than others such as the food and the venue rental. Though aside from the standard big-ticket items, wedding expenses can come with a wide range of price tags. Determine with your future spouse which items you are willing to splurge on and which items you care about less. You may be willing to choose a more reasonably priced dress to be able to have an open bar, or limit flower options to have a live band for music. Have some fun and plan a date night where you write a list of your wedding priorities.
6. Set a Budget-Friendly Wedding Date
Having flexibility in your wedding date is a great way to shave some bucks off of your budget as well as get the vendors you want most. Some of the most popular times of year to have weddings are around holidays so it is best to avoid these weeks as you may have problems securing a vendor or be required to pay an increased rate. Your specific area may also have seasonal trends with popular wedding months. If this is the case, choosing an off-month will give you the best bang for your buck.
From personal experience, allowing yourself to enjoy your engagement and waiting 2-3 years before the big day gives so much flexibility with spending and discounts. One example here is, typically when you book a vendor, they will lock you in at current pricing. (ask if not clearly stated) Most are bound to increase over the next 2-3 years; so by giving yourself more time to plan, you end up saving a decent amount of cash too.
7. Fight the Urge to Splurge
It can be easy to get caught up in the money and excitement of unique items that will make your wedding perfect. Just remember that it is the wedding vendors job to upsell as much as possible to try and resist the temptation to have add-ons as they can cause your budget to quickly get out of control. It is also good practice to make sure you bring a list with you when picking up wedding items, so you do not find yourself distracted and purchase items you do not need.
Try following the seven tips above to give you a better chance of staying on budget while still having the wedding that you always dreamed of.
Looking for more guidance on how to budget for your big day? Let's chat.