One of the most important steps in planning for your wedding day is preparing your budget. What is important to you about making your wedding day memorable will not necessarily be what your best friend thought was important in making her wedding day special. Like every wedding, every wedding budget is unique, and from what we have noticed, there is no direct correlation in the amount of money spent and the beauty of the day. You can create a beautiful wedding on any budget.
One of the first things to consider is who is paying for the wedding – just you and your fiancé? Parents? Grandparents? An accumulation of support? Know these details and if you have financial assistance from your family, know what they want to pay for and how much they are willing to contribute. Nowadays many couples pay for the “lion’s share” of their wedding costs so be careful about overusing credit cards – you do not want to start married life already in debt.
Next, rank the elements of your wedding by level of importance and use that list to determine where your budget, and attention, should be directed first. A large portion of your budget should be allotted to the top 3-5 priorities, then the moderately important, followed by the least important. Work out roughly how much you think everything will cost you and remember it is often the little things that you forget, and these will add up quickly. Set your budget as soon as possible and check it often. If you overspend in one category maybe you can save in another.
If your budget is a little tighter than you would like there are plenty of ways to save money. Consider holding your wedding out of season or on a Sunday and you might get extra deals. Choosing seasonal food and flowers often means better value and better quality. Make use of your family and friends’ talents – your aunt that has a knack for baking cakes, or your soon to be cousin in law that is a part-time photographer, might be willing to assist you at a discounted rate.
Negotiate – politely – when possible. Do not be afraid to ask if there are specials you can take advantage of or if there is a charge in the contract that may not pertain to you and can be waived.
These are loose guidelines as every wedding is different. Just make sure that your overall costs and your priorities stay in line. For more assistance download our Wedding Budget Worksheet here.