Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Plan (and Stick to) a Wedding Budget

Congratulations, he's proposed and she said "yes!" So, what now?

Here's a list of things to do to help you plan and stick to a wedding budget.

  • Figure out who will be contributing
  • Well, weddings cost money... An average of over $25,000 in fact according to CostofWedding.com. And this doesn't even include the honeymoon. So, the first thing you should do is figure out where that money is coming from. Your parents, yourselves, a wedding loan, and/or whoever else might be contributing to your special day.
  • Determine your priorities and distribute the money accordingly
  • CostofWedding.com does a good job of giving averages for each of the different vendors you'll need for your wedding. Take their numbers and redistribute the money based on your priorities. If you don't want flowers at your wedding, then dump that money into splurging a bit more on your wedding gown, that fabulous meal for your guests during the reception, or perhaps a talented guitarist for your cocktail hour.
Now that you have your budget, here are a few tips for sticking to it.
  • Track your spending
  • There are lots of free online tools out there for tracking your budget. WeddingWire.com has a decent budget app on their website. It allows you to make notes, add or remove items, and adjust the budget for your needs. It also gives estimates for each of the categories for you. You can also make note of how much you've already paid and how much is left to pay.
  • Adjust for overspending
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you splurge in one area more than estimated, you must compensate for it in another. For example, if you just could not resist hiring that darling (and expensive) photographer that takes those perfect shots you've been envisioning for your wedding, you may have to say good-bye to your dreams of having a videographer. 
  • Keep your priorities straight!
  • Try to resist even looking at vendors and venues that are outside of your budget. You must be strong for this. If it turns out that your allotted amount for a particular area is unrealistic, then readjust the budget and your priorities. Not picky about the invitations? Consider making them yourself if you have a bit of a design eye or ordering from Vista Print. Not too interested in a designer wedding dress? Try shopping at a discount bridal store (not that they don't have great wedding dresses).
The most important thing of all is not to stress. If all of this seems overwhelming, consider hiring a wedding planner. A wedding planner will be able to set up a budget AND help you stick to it. For another perk, a wedding planner will be able to obtain discounts for the vendors in their network. Send me an e-mail at ladyautie@weddingseclectic.com if you'd like an obligation free consultation.