Getting Married: Setting a Budget
POSTED IN ADVICE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018
Take these tips to plan a wonderful wedding you can afford.
Planning a wedding can seem overwhelming. With so much to do, where do you start? The first thing to do - yes, even before picking a date - is to set a budget. Not only will it help break down one big task into more manageable pieces, it will make sure you don't start life as newlyweds in the red.
How much can you spend?
Start your budget process by identifying your sources of funding, like investments, family or loose change from the couch cushions. As you look at your savings, remember to leave enough for an emergency fund -- and consider your other life goals. If you'd like to buy a home after you're married, every dollar you spend on the wedding is one fewer you'll have for a down payment.
If any relatives have offered to chip in, find out upfront about what they're willing to contribute so there aren't any surprises or fights when the bills come due. (Aunt Mabel may think she wants to pay for the flowers, but she might be expecting closer to $200 than $2,000.)
Once you have all your funding sorted, you can add it up to come up with your budget ceiling. You can always spend less than this amount, of course, but you shouldn't spend more. If your plans don't exactly fit within your budget, you can either scale back the plans or scale up the budget by taking on more work or finding additional ways to save up in your everyday life. Be cautious about financing a wedding with debt, especially if it has a higher interest rate like a credit card, unless you'll be able to pay it off quickly.
What will you spend it on?
Whether you're playing with house money or working with a limited budget, set priorities for your spending. What parts of your wedding are most important to you? What parts don't matter as much? Maybe you're willing to spend less on a venue to spend more on food or would forego printed invitations if you could get the dress of your dreams. There's no wrong answer here -- what your wedding looks like is, and should be, up to you!
Start with the big-ticket items like a hall, catering, a photographer, a florist, entertainment and clothing. You can do some quick research online to make sure you're in the budget ballpark, and if you already know of must-have items, plug those actual costs in and see what you have left to play with.
Once you've established your budget, avoid visiting venues or trying on dresses that cost more than you've allocated so you don't break the bank. If you do fall in love with something outside your budget, find other areas you can cut back on to get yourself on sound financial footing. Creating specific lists before shopping trips can help keep you focused and avoid impulse purchases.