The first step in your wedding planning should be setting your budget. But how do you decide what mount you will spend? How do you decide how to divide the total amount into sections for different expenses? Here is a quick guide to help you set the budget that works for you.
Come up with a grand total- Take into account your wedding vision and your available funds. You will also want to take into account any money that others will be contributing. Your vision may not match your available funds but you can find ways to save money and trim expenses later. Establish what is important to you and your fiancee. Neither of you may want a huge wedding cake, and wedding flowers may be most important to you while your fiancee has his heart set on a ballroom wedding reception. Decide whether you want a sit down dinner or a buffet. Do you want a 50 person guest list or 150 guests? Making big decisions even in such a general sense will help a great deal in determining your budget.
List your priorities- Each of you should make a list of your top priorities. This way you can communicate to each other what you really don’t want to compromise on when it comes to the vision of your perfect wedding day. These are the areas where you will want to invest the most money and budget into your total first. Even inexpensive priorities such as a certain type of aisle runner should take priority in your wedding budget. After you have your checklist print some checklists from online and cross out some things you don’t want. This will help you get a better idea of where your money will be spent and what traditional expenses the two of you can do without.
Allow yourself plenty of time to plan- A general rule in wedding planning is that the more time you allow yourself to plan the more money you can save. Not only can you take your time to make smart financial decisions, but you can "lock in" vendors at their current prices. Many vendors raise their prices a little each year t cover rising costs. Make sure you get the prices written into your contract so they are the prices you pay and not whatever the vendors’ rate is at the time of your event.
Meet with the people who are paying- After you have a general vision and your priorities in order you should meet with anyone who is contributing to the wedding costs. If they cannot afford what is in your vision, you can choose to alter the vision or foot the difference in the bill yourselves. Make it clear that your plans are going to follow the vision of you and your fiancee regardless of who is footing the bill. Don’t spend money that you haven’t received yet. Your parents may offer you 3000 dollars but expenses may arise that lower that amount in the future.
Finalize your budget- Now that you know who is contributing what finalize the total amount you are going to spend. Be sure to keep track of every little expense related to the wedding so you can stick to your budget and allow extra money for things expenses you may not have expected.