You've gotten engaged and now you're ready to get down to business with the actual planning of your dream wedding! You've been perusing bridal magazines and obsessing over all of the pretty little things you've seen on the top wedding blogs, but yet, you still have no idea exactly where to get started on your planning journey. One of the most important decisions you'll have to make, and one that should definitely be the first, is that dreaded B-word...BUDGET. Not exactly a fun topic, huh? However, taking the time to set a wedding budget can make the difference between a smooth wedding planning process and bridal meltdown!
Here are 3 tips to help you set your wedding budget:
1. Get Realistic - Determining a wedding budget is not as simple as thinking of a magical number that you THINK should cover wedding expenses. Oh no, my friend, it is way more complicated than that! You'll have to do a little homework so that you'll have a REALISTIC idea of what a wedding in your city actually costs! It's really important that you do your research to find out the average cost of services in your area. Call a few vendors to get a price quote so that you'll have a general idea of what things really cost so that you're not blindsided when it's time to book those services. Call 3-5 vendors in each category so that you'll have an idea of both the low and high end costs and use the average to determine how much you should set aside for each service.
2. Round Up the Troops - Determing exactly WHO will be paying for WHAT. Are you and your fiance footing the entire bill? Will you have outside contributors, such as your parents or other family members? How much will each person contribute? These are important questions to ask when determining what is the maximum amount of money you will have to spend on your wedding. Be very specific and clear in communicating how much each involved party will be contributing.
3. Save, Save, Save - Open a separate checking account strictly for the wedding, then determine an amount that you can contribute on a bi-weekly or monthly basis (depending on how you are paid) and have deposits automated to be moved from your checking account to the wedding fund. This way, personal bills and living expenses are not affected. Also, think of ways to cut back for extra savings potential, such as limiting the number of times you eat out each week, taking the bus or car pooling to save on gas, switching from premium to a more basic cable plan, etc., and add your savings to the wedding fund. These things will require some sacrifice and committment, but it will be well worth it when you think of how your savings will help you fund the wedding of your dreams. The amount you're able to save from these efforts will be a major determining factor of how much you can actually afford to spend on your wedding. One piece of advice that I strongly suggest you follow: never, ever, EVER take out a loan to finance your wedding. It is a costly mistake that you will regret. Going into a marriage with a huge burden of debt is not a good way to start your lives together.
Setting a wedding budget may seem a little intimidating, but it is a very necessary and important step in planning your wedding. If you need a few more pointers to help you overcome your fear of the B-word, shoot me an email and I'd be more than happy to help!
PTE Wants to Know: Have you determined your wedding budget? What concerns did/do you have about the cost of your wedding? Please leave your comment below.
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Nikola Ahaiwe is a Los Angeles wedding /event planner and owner of Platinum Touch Events, a boutique event planning firm servicing southern CA. To learn more about Platinum Touch Events, please visit our website and become a fan on Facebook to stay connected!