Planning a budget for your wedding day

Penny Olson

Recently, my sister got married. The day was absolutely incredible; many memories were made by all. But being the sister and the Maid of Honor, I saw many of the bumps in the road of creating the day that my sister had always dreamed of. Planning a wedding can be, and most likely, will be the most fun and the most frustrating experience you will ever have all wrapped up into one.

Weddings can get very expensive, very quickly. Although there are many ways to cut costs, it is important to figure out a budget prior to getting started so that things don't spiral out of control and cause any unnecessary stress during the planning stages.

Make a list of EVERYTHING that you feel is important for your big day. This detailed list will feature everything from your dress, drinks at the reception, officiant and chapel fees, decorations, flowers, gifts, rings, catering You get the point; all the 'wedding bells' and whistles should be included.

Sit down with everyone that is going to help you financially and review the list, i.e.: you and your fiance, your parents, his parents and any grandparents or friends of the family that may be contributing. (Please note: use your discretion when you decide whether or not to gather all of these people together at once to discuss finances, you know best if this could potentially cause any unnecessary arguments. If you need to, meet with them separately to keep the peace.)

Next to each item on the list mark who is responsible for each item, keeping in mind that they will probably have a limit to what they are able to give to you. It will help to make a separate page with a breakdown of each party, the amount that they can contribute, and below, a list of all of the things that they would like to offer to you and your fiance.

Now it's time to start to make phone calls. I'm sure that if you are of the age to be married, you have a few places in mind where you'd like to hold your event. Call them and get some ideas of deposit requirements and balances they will require. Call florists, officiants, churches, photographers, and do a lot of research on the internet to find the best prices and make sure that you pay attention to feedback in chat rooms or forum pages. Friends that have been married and people that have had experience with wedding planning are great resources that may help you save money and find the people that will make your day memorable.

Once you have some ideas on prices you can plug in the balances to your sheet and get a better idea of what items you can keep and where you need to cut back. You may need your mother or a bridesmaid to help you with this because you might find it difficult to rate the importance of the things on your list. Just keep in mind that if you are married to the person that you wish to spend the rest of your life with at the end of the day, your mission has been accomplished, the rest is mere details.

At this point you can start to book dates and facilities, try on dresses, and meet with florists or photographers. Throughout your planning, refer to your budget constantly. This will help you stick to your plan and relieve some of the stress while planning your dream wedding. Most importantly, have fun, this is your day, enjoy it.
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