Setting your Budget
The most important task is setting and sticking to the budget. It will set the tone for everything that follows. Remember that most expensive is not necessarily the best. It is really important to go into this stage with both a positive and practical state of mind.
Setting your wedding budget will often be the most stressful part of your wedding planning process. Obviously, we would all prefer to skip ahead to the Look, Dress, Color Scheme, or just about anything else! However, setting your budget is one of the first priorities when planning your wedding and it’s crucial to set and stick to it properly. Whether your budget is large or small, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide what you can spend, and what you’ll want to save or splurge on. The best way to approach it is to break the process down into six (6) steps.
Who is paying for the wedding? Who is contributing?
Of course, it may just be you and your fiance, or there may also be parents or family members that are eager to contribute. The crucial point is to ascertain who wants to contribute what, or whether there is a particular aspect of the wedding they would like to take care of. Whilst some of these conversations may be uncomfortable, it is best to know where you stand from the beginning.
Find out how much you actually need for the wedding
Once you know whether others may contribute, then it is time to focus on your own bottom line. How much can you realistically afford whilst paying all your regular expenses, based on your monthly incomes? How much can you responsibly earmark from your savings? Add your contributions.
Ballpark your guest count
Now that you know approximately how much you have to spend, you need to write down your initial count. The reality is – the cost of your wedding will be a direct reflection of your guest numbers….the venue size as well as the catering will be a “per person” expenditure.
Name your non-negotiables
Have the conversation. For each of you, it may be different. For you, it may be the dress, for him, the bar. Work out your number one priority so you can allot a larger percentage of your budget to that and perhaps, spend less on other elements that are not so important to you.
Research both the obvious costs as well as the hidden costs
Not a huge amount of fun here but a crucial exercise nonetheless! There are many obvious costs such as the cake – but does the venue also charge a cake cutting fee? Remember to ask different questions – for example – is there a discount for a Friday or Sunday Wedding as opposed to a Saturday?
Now time to do the math
The million dollar question is – “How can we reconcile the difference between the estimated budget and the actual wedding cost?”
Remember, going into debt before you marry is not the right way to start this whole adventure. If you can’t afford it, chances are, you do not need it.