I was speaking with a friend who is a bridesmaid in a very disorganized wedding. She was describing to me how the planning seemed to go from bad to worse and how she felt helpless. She asked me for ideas on how she could help the bride pick up the pieces and get this wedding back on track. With that in mind, I decided to write a series on wedding planning basics. Each weekly installment will highlight important tasks and tips on how to stay sane during the planning process.
Before we begin, I want to say congratulations on your engagement! Saying YES is the first step to making it down the aisle. We are thrilled for you and hope that this next year allows you and your fiance a chance to grow even closer as you prepare to spend the rest of your lives together.
Now having said that, planning for your wedding is the most important event you’ll ever plan. Being such an important day in your life, we want you to look and feel fabulous! So the first thing you need to do is nail down a budget. I know it’s not your favorite thing to do, but it is so important to know how much you can spend on the wedding.
Wedding Budget Basics
1. Don’t assume your folks (or his for that matter) will foot the bill for your entire wedding. Nowadays, many couples pay for most, if not all, of the wedding expenses; especially if they have been living together for some time.
2. If you are getting financial help from family for the wedding, have a talk about who will contribute and how much they will give before you come up with a budget. Be sure that everyone involved is comfortable with their contribution before you start putting deposits down on anything. This will save you from any misunderstandings that could lead to drama or even worse, broken relationships.
3. Set realistic expectations for your wedding budget. You don’t want to start your lives together with the stress of debt looming over you. If having a huge wedding is really important to you, consider having an intimate ceremony now and wait to have a big reception in about a year so you can save up for it.
4. Keep track of your spending. There are so many tools available now to help you stay on top of your wedding budget. We recommend getting a wedding binder to keep track of vendors, quotes, receipts and deposits. There are also a few handy phone apps to help you keep track of your budget on the go, even when you forget your binder at home (this happens more often than you think).
The most important thing to remember throughout the entire process is that the wedding day is merely a celebration of your commitment together in marriage. Your marriage is the key here, not the wedding day. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of planning the wedding that we forget what it’s all about: YOUR MARRIAGE. Make your marriage a priority and you will find that your beautiful wedding day is just the icing on the cake.