Setting Your Wedding Budget

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Step two is setting your wedding budget. A Budget is a very necessary part of planning your wedding. If you sit down now to figure out the financial end of the wedding plan, you will save yourself, your spouse and your family undue stress. It is best to put it in writing so that it can be a reference for each step of the planning. Don't think that a budget cannot be flexible, it can. It is a guideline that keeps your spending in check, but it can be manipulated, more or less, as you see fit.

Many couples start their life together with unnecessary debt incurred for the wedding. This is NOT wise. Financial stress can be avoided and SHOULD be avoided. It is not the wedding itself that truly matters, but that the two of you are getting married. With that said, stick to what is really important to you and the rest really won't matter, especially once the "I dos" are said.

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The first step to a budget is to figure how much money you will have to work with. How much will you and your fiance' be able to afford without going into debt? How much will your parents be contributing? How much will theirs? Is anyone else contributing? Add it all up and you have your budget total to work from.

Setting your wedding budget is made simple by using a chart. It keeps you organized and on track. It would be wise to keep this chart in your notebook as mentioned in another article. This next tip is very important! You must keep track of EVERY expense. If you do not, the little things that you buy here and there will come back to haunt you. Remember the wedding industry is big business and so there are lots of things to catch your eye so that you impulse buy. These do add up, and they add up quickly. Don't waste money you don't have. Keeping track of everything you spend on the wedding will give you a clear picture of what's REALLY going on.

Budgets are a tool that can be manipulated, so the following percentages are simply a guideline.  If you see fit to spend more on, let's say your veil, than what the original budget guidelines would allow, you would adjust some spending in one of the other categories to allow for the extra spending.  It's a give and take situation.  Be careful though, because some of the other items on the budget have a market value that does not shift much.  Photography for example has a going rate and you would be hard pressed to find a good photographer for less than the industry's charging in your area.

There are more comprehensive breakdowns for setting the wedding budget, but the following is a simplified version.  After looking over several budget examples on the web and in bridal magazines, it seems that the following percentages would be acceptable for setting the wedding budget:

Wedding Attire 10% to 12% (Gown, Tux, Jewelry, Shoes, Etc.)
Flowers 8% to 10% 
Invitations 4% 
Photography 5% to 10%  Or Videography
Reception 50% (Venue, Food, Music, Decor, Liquor, Rentals,Etc.)
Additional Expenses 6% 

To keep a small budget is to think smaller, more intimate, and meaningful. Many a bride has spent an exorbitant amount of money to simply regret it later. Spend what you must, but think about where that money may be spent more wisely. Perhaps a down payment on a house, or paying off some debt that could possibly burden you later, or even on the honeymoon. Carefully consider your spending and spend it where you and your fiance' are most comfortable.

I can tell you from experience that if there is a will there is usually a way to make things happen. In the fashion industry if you see a shirt that is $500 by a famous designer, you can find a knock off at a fraction of the price and still have that look that you fell in love with.  Same with the wedding.  If you want something, but can't afford it start getting creative with your thinking and it can come to reality.  Maybe someone you know will have the answer so don't be shy about saying what you would like and that you are trying to find a more affordable way of doing it. Many brides have found help from friends, co-workers, and family members.  

Setting your wedding budget is a very important step to planning your wedding, so work on it pronto.

Here are two of the best little wedding organizers! And once your wedding is said and done, this will serve as a keepsake. It has ample room for organizing all the many things that you will have to keep track of.

Now on to STEP THREE: Choosing the Venue

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