Budgeting for the Big Day – Wedding Budget

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For some people budgeting may seem like a task too hard to undertake, for others a lifestyle change they are unwilling to make, but the simple fact of the matter is when you are planning a wedding the budget is a must. Unless of course money is no object in which I think you have stumbled upon the wrong article and you were probably looking for the article about releasing jewel encrusted doves at your ceremony which is still being researched.

Who Pays?

The first thing you and your “husband to be” need to figure out is who is paying for the wedding. Traditionally the bride’s family pays for the ceremony and reception and all things included, I.E. the dress, the flowers, the cake, etc. The groom’s family would pay for the honeymoon and the rehearsal dinner. But if you haven’t noticed we aren’t living in a traditional world anymore. If your family wants to do it this way, SWEET, let them take care of everything and you relax, but I’m guessing most of us will have to fork out some of our own money to cover costs, and that’s okay and totally doable if you have a proper budget set.

Have Some Tact

You are newly engaged and when you call your family to tell them all about it they don’t mention anything about helping with the wedding. You start to wonder; are they going to pitch in? You don’t want to start off being a Bridezilla already and demanding that your family pay for your wedding, so tactfully ask your parents if they think they will be able to help out or not. No pressure. Chances are, if they haven’t brought it up yet then they haven’t decided whether or not they will or they are waiting to surprise you with a cash gift, all well and good but it doesn’t help with the planning. Some options for people you know can’t afford much, but want to pitch in; ask them to pay for your dress, or the cake, or something small on the cha-ching list but would take a little pressure off of you.

A Word to the Wise
A note for those of you who do have parents or family paying for your wedding: Although we all love our families and want them to be a part of your Big Day, they may have some entitlement issues, because let’s face it, the ones with money have the power. Mom may hate chocolate so you are forced to go with a vanilla or lemon cake even though mother-in-law to be is allergic to lemon. Dad wants to bring his new twenty something girlfriend and wants her to do a reading at the ceremony. Mother-in-law to be hates the colors you picked for the bouquets and decides to buy her own corsage. If they have the money they have the power.

Where to Start

Now it’s time to figure out what is most important to you. Some women only care about looking beautiful on their day, and that is totally reasonable, BUT if you spend 5,000 on your dress, hair, make-up and those Botox treatments you won’t fess up to out of your 15,000 budget, then we may have a problem. You want your guests to have a good time, most of us now have family and friends traveling to be there, don’t let them waste their money on a bad time. Your guests care about good food and good entertainment, not your puffed up lips. So consider your catering and dj and pick wisely. The Bride and Groom however want the memories, all those months or years of saving and planning every little detail down to the color of the napkins needs to pay off, get yourself a good photographer and possibly a videographer if you can afford it. Those are the memories that will last a lifetime, not the flavor of the cake or the centerpieces.

Recruiting and Networking

If you happen to have someone in the family who is a masterful cake decorator or a friend who has a wholesale license for flowers, USE THEM! That’s what friends and family are for. Call in the favors; maybe put a little extra effort into showing up to your second cousin’s eight year olds’ piano recital to be able to borrow her card box, because seriously what do you do with a card box after the wedding? Save your $50.00 and go to the recital.

Hidden Costs

Not all of these are necessarily hidden but you don’t think about them at the time. Postage stamps for instance. You just spent $500.00 on save the dates and invitations for 150 people. Now you have to mail them. Let’s see 300 times $0.44 is $132.00! There goes the engraved cake cutting set you’ve been eyeing at the mall! When booking anything check to see if the taxes and gratuity are included in their fee. Otherwise $1000.00 can easily turn into $1270.00 with a 7.65% tax and an 18% gratuity. YIKES! Know your overtime costs. If the limo driver has to wait an extra 30 minutes for you…CHA-CHING…that’ll be $50.00 (at least). If the photographer has to stay an extra hour because the ceremony started late and you haven’t cut the cake yet…WHAMMO….that’ll be $150.00. I know how hard it can be to stay on time but know your hidden costs before you book.

And Lastly…

You know how much money you make and you should know how much you can realistically save in the time between your engagement and your wedding. If you HAVE to get married in April and it’s only seven months away but there is no way on earth you can save in that amount of time then stretch it out an extra year. This is supposed to be a fun experience and the easiest way to get yourself stressed out and turn all Bridezilla on everyone who looks your way is to know that you can’t afford everything you want in the time allotted.