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10 Tips for Setting a Budget and Sticking to It

Budget concerns can be one of the most prominent sources of disagreement for a couple in the process of planning their wedding. The couple may have different ideas about what type of wedding they want and also about what they can afford. It is important for the couple to discuss financial constraints before the wedding planning goes too far. Therefore, it is recommended that preparing an overall wedding budget be one of the first items to address in your planning.

  1. The first tip for setting a wedding budget and sticking to it is to have a conversation regarding finances well before the wedding planning starts in earnest. It is important that everyone involved in the decision making process of the wedding understand just how much money is available to be spent on the wedding.
  2. Another tip for setting a wedding budget and sticking to it is to start saving early for your wedding. Putting aside a portion of each paycheck for awhile can add up to a sizable amount that can be used for your wedding. This advanced planning and saving will allow you to maximize the budget that is available to you for your wedding planning.
  3. Once the wedding budget has been established, set it aside for a few days and then review it again. This time away from the budget gives those involved the chance to let the information settle in, and the review of the budget after this waiting period gives the participants the opportunity to verify that they understand and agree with the budget. This is important because if someone does not agree with the wedding budget, they may be likely to overspend in one area leaving the budget in jeopardy.
  4. After an overall wedding budget is established it is important to divide the total amount appropriately to establish budgets for items such as the venue, food and drink, the bride's attire, the groom's attire, transportation, entertainment, photography, favors, centerpieces, gifts for the wedding party and even gifts for each other. It is also important to partition a small amount of money for incidentals to account for any unexpected expenses.
  5. In establishing a wedding budget it is also important to be clear about who will be paying for what items. For example, if the groom's family offers to pay for the centerpieces and you choose to let them, this will allow you to divert your previously designated centerpiece budget amount to other aspects of the wedding. The key to sticking to your wedding budget is to be aware of who has agreed to pay for what.
  6. It is important that budgets for each individual aspect of the wedding be established to enable you to follow this next tip. This tip advises the couple to be mindful of their budgets for each individual component of the wedding before negotiating contracts for services. For example, if you know that you have allotted $500 for entertainment you would be wise to seek out a DJ that is offering his services for approximately that amount and then negotiate your contract to ensure that you remain under budget.
  7. Doing as many things as you can on your own is another way to ensure that you are sticking to your wedding budget. Crafts and homemade invitations can greatly reduce the cost of your wedding. For example, making your own favors or centerpieces can greatly reduce your costs and free up additional budget amounts for other areas of the wedding.
  8. Another tip for sticking to your wedding budget is to not be too restrictive in your ideas. If instead of thinking about the things that you can't afford, you focus on how you can make your wedding and reception truly unique you will be inspired to create a fabulous and memorable wedding despite your budget constraints. For example, if you can't afford that lovely centerpiece with fresh flowers you may be able to come up with something similar made with silk flowers for half the price.
  9. Still another tip for sticking to your wedding budget is to shop around and comparison shop for services. A limousine company may come highly recommended but if they are not in your price range, don't be afraid to let them know why you are going to have to choose another company and you may be surprised at how soon they are willing to give you a different offer. When comparison shopping, you may find yourself comparing items of different value. For example, one photographer may be cheaper but the other photographer may include prepared photo albums giving you a better overall value.
  10. A final tip for creating and sticking to a wedding budget is to realize that there are bound to be snags along the way. As long as you remain cognizant of your spending and realize the ramifications of your actions you are likely to realize that if you go over budget in one area, you will need to modify other areas by reducing their total budget. Don't forget that the wedding budget is a guideline only and it should be reviewed and readjusted as often as necessary.

A wedding budget can be a serious cause of emotional strain on a couple. It is important for them to discuss their finances and establish a budget for their wedding plans. Doing this early on in the wedding planning process can help the couple to avoid conflict during the planning phase of the wedding.

“The Simply Organized Bride” wedding planning and organizing guide provides a detailed, easy to use budget available in both Adobe PDF and Microsoft Excel format. For more information, see Plan Your Event.
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