As the beginning of a long and exciting journey for you and your partner, a wedding merits great celebration and care-free indulgence.
Unfortunately, coordinating all the details to enable such delights can be quite overwhelming. This can especially be the case if you are also juggling budgeting constraints.
Deciding a budget is usually the easy part – it’s dictated by what you can afford. The hard part is sticking to it. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track.
1. Establish the facts
Everything you have in mind for the wedding might not necessarily fit your budget. It is important that you set realistic expectations and map out what is actually possible within the limits of your budget rather than what you imagine or hope will work.
As boring as it sounds, establishing what everything will cost in detail could save you from financial difficulty or heartache further down the line.
2. Be straightforward with vendors
Not being upfront with vendors about your budget can be risky when planning a wedding. It can put you in the position of being shown an array of beautiful options for wedding essentials, such as flowers and dresses, that could be far beyond what you can afford.
The more affordable options you are shown when the extent of your budget becomes clear could pale in comparison, leading to disappointment and the temptation to overspend. It is much better to be upfront and let the vendors come up with the best possible ideas for the budget you have available.
3. Track your spending
Consistently comparing what you have budgeted with what you have spent to check the amount remaining is one of the best tricks for staying on track with your wedding budget. You can use a spreadsheet for this purpose. It will show you if you have gone over budget in one area, helping you see where you might need to cut back in another.
When tracking, don’t forget keep a record of everything – even the small stuff like calligraphy, stationery and stamps. These costs can quickly and easily add up to a surprisingly large amount.
4. Work together with your partner
Since you and your partner are spending from the same pot of money, it could help to work together on the budget planning and tracking process. Occasionally, you will need to make decisions separately, but be sure to keep track of them on a shared spreadsheet when you do.
It could be very easy to lose track of the budget if both of you are spending money independently, potentially leading to frustration and arguments in the build up to your big day.
5. Be flexible
Although you might have first choices or preferences for everything, being open to other options when planning your wedding could really help. If you allow yourself to be flexible when choosing some of the less essential items, you might be able to find more affordable options that are just as effective.
It might also be useful to identify areas where you could save (do you really need welcome bags or chair covers?) or reduce costs (does every bridesmaid need a full bouquet of flowers?) and free up more of your budget for items that really need the wow factor, like the cake.
6. Go for the essential, not the trendy
Just because something is trending does not mean that it is right for you. Even if wedding magazines or TV shows are highlighting a certain option as a ‘must have’, sticking to your guns and resisting the influence could keep your budget from spiralling out of control.
Having faith in your original ideas – rather than those that anyone else thinks you should have – could lead to a more affordable and far more personal wedding experience.
7. Control the guest list
A significant portion of your budget will go towards the venue, food, and refreshments for your guests. Although it might be tempting to invite everyone and anyone you know to share in your wedding celebration, when there’s a budget to stick to, you might need to trim the guest list and perhaps invite close friends and family only.
8. Avoid last-minute spending frenzies
As the big day approaches, it is easy for doubt to creep in, leading you to question your choices and consider quick – and expensive – fixes. Seeing this panic for what it really is can help you stay the course and stick to your budget.
As long as the things that are most important to you both are taken care of, who cares if there are bouquets of flowers in the toilets? Remember: if it did not initially fit into your budget, it still won’t fit now.
Planning a wedding can be fun as long as you are not overwhelmed by the details (and there are a lot of them!). A budget is a tool that gives you some semblance of control during this crazy process. However, even more important than making a budget is sticking to it. It’s possible to have that dream wedding without having to break the bank to do so!
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