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How to Set Your Wedding Budget
Wedding planning can be stressful, especially if you’re already facing debt. But by following a few key steps, budgeting for your wedding will be a breeze.
1. Take a snapshot of your current finances.
Know your basic budget, including what income you have coming in and where it all goes. Write out your monthly bills and debt payments. Include basic budget categories like entertainment, utilities, gas, food, clothing and personal care. Allow room for “extras” to avoid surprises.
2. Talk to your family.
Ask what your families can contribute to the wedding and honeymoon and collect those funds before you start to pay for wedding expenses. You don’t want to be chasing family members for an I.O.U. on your wedding day.
3. Decide how much you can save.
Look at your budget and decide how much money you’ll be able to save between now and your wedding day. Commit to putting aside a specific amount each month, either together or individually. Keep the lines of communication open: if one of you is unable to save the expected amount one month, talk about it so that you can both look for solutions together.
4. List your events.
Plot the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner and honeymoon on your calendar so that you can see all the pieces. This is the first step to determining how to pay for each part.
5. Prioritize your needs.
Within each event, determine what you absolutely must have. Understanding what’s non-negotiable helps you know where to allocate limited resources and where you can look for unusual solutions.
6. List your extras.
At the same time, decide what falls into the “want” category. Do you need a photographer at the reception, or could you put disposable cameras on the tables and ask guests to be their own photographers? Will you buy a wedding dress or use a family heirloom? Determine where you can pick meaningful alternatives that will help you save money.
7. Make your decisions together.
Get estimates on everything in your “needs” category and make adjustments accordingly. If there are funds left over, start dipping into those “wants.” Leave a little wiggle room in the budget for errors in your estimates or extras on your honeymoon. Outlining what makes sense for your personal financial situation is the best gift you can give each other as you plan your wedding budget.
Planning a Wedding on a Budget?
The cost of wedding expenses doesn’t have to feel oppressive or stressful. To plan a wedding that is a joyful day instead of a long-lasting burden, it’s important to plan a celebration that reflects all the unique aspects of your relationship, including your bright financial future.
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