How To: Set Your Budget

by Lauren J Sharkey

Aside from announcing your engagement, your Big Day Budget is one of the most important things you need to do.  While picking the dress, setting the date, and selecting a venue are all on the to-do list, you can’t check them off until you crunch some numbers.  Minimize headaches and take the stress out of wedding planning with our step-by-step guide!

 1. Do Some Research

It’s important to know how much things (wedding venues, florists, photographers, etc.) cost in your area.  Getting an idea of how much you’re likely to spend will allow you to better examine your finances.  Now, your first instinct might be to go Google, but consider using Cost of Wedding’s Wedding Cost Estimator instead.

Even though Google is most people’s primary search engine, it won’t take your finances into account when showing results.  You may fall in love with a venue scrolling through results, only to discover it’s out of your price range later.

2. Create a Priority List

When it comes to planning a wedding, compromise is inevitable – you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.  Deciding which elements are essential to you (gown, photos, favors, etc.) will help determine how much of your budget to allocate to those costs.  In addition, being able to visualize what’s lower on your priority list will shed light on where you can cut costs.

3. Communicate

The tradition of the father of the bride footing the bill has long since passed.  However, it’s important to have a discussion with your fiancé/fiancée about how much each of you can contribute to the wedding.  Once you’ve worked that out, speak to your parents about whether or not they’d like to contribute.

For tips on how to talk to your folks about the Big Day Budget, check out:  Have the Money Talk with Your Folks, How Do You Ask Your Parents Whether or Not They’re Paying for the Wedding, and How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Wedding Budget.

You may also want to peek at:  Budgeting for the Wedding – Who Pays for What? and The Traditional Breakdown of Whose Family Pays for What.

4. Narrow It Down

Once you have an idea of how much money you’ve got to play with, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your fiancé/fiancée about what you envision for your wedding day.  Are you a more low-key, intimate ceremony on the beach couple, or are you planning on busting a move to a live band in a catering hall?

5. More Research

Now that you know what you’d like your wedding day to look like, you can start researching venues, entertainment, flowers, etc.  As you begin to get estimates, you can decide what money goes where, and what to cut back on.

Please remember that budgets are meant to keep you on track – not to add stress or make you feel restricted.  It’s important to remember that your budget will change as you move through the planning process.  Click here for tips on How to Stay on Your Wedding Budget.


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