After the joy of the engagement comes the exhilarating process of brainstorming ideas for your ideal wedding. Next up is arguably the most challenging and frustrating part of the wedding planning process – budget setting.
Your wedding will probably be the most expensive and sentimental party you’ve ever had, and with great responsibility comes even greater room for error. A third of all couples who go over their wedding budgets underline how difficult – and essential – it is to get the proper budget. However, this difficulty is mainly caused by a lack of knowledge on the couples’ part rather than any inherent complications.
Following a set-out plan will simplify your budget setting and result in a budget that is easy to stick to. Below are our five tried and tested steps to creating the best budget:
Evaluate Your Finances
Before getting the pen and paper, taking stock of the money at your disposal is crucial. This typically includes your and your fiance’s savings, contributions from friends and family, and any cash you plan to save during the wedding.
While the excitement of finally walking down the aisle with your fiance may understandably cloud your judgment, avoid making decisions that may come to haunt you later. In particular, do not put all your savings into the wedding. Instead, open a different wedding account and deposit all monies intended for the day therein.
To determine the exact amount, combine your total savings and subtract about 3-4 months of living expenses. Then leave that in your savings account(s) as mitigation for any unforeseen events and transfer the rest to the wedding account.
Further, do not expect your parents, friends, or family to cover your wedding costs. Instead, determine the amount you can raise by yourselves and have that at the back of your mind as the budget figure. Otherwise, only figure in contributions from others if they make formal pledges.
Categorize Different Expenditures
After coming up with a general figure, you need to break down your spending into various categories for easy tracking. This is best done with a spreadsheet program on your phone or computer. Ideally, divide the spreadsheet into three columns, namely: estimated costs, updated costs, and final costs.
Under the estimated column, record the average prices of different items, as you got them from other brides you asked or from any research you did. On the other hand, the updated costs column should contain the prices as they appear in the quotes and proposals you receive from the vendors you talk to. Finally, under the final costs column, write down the actual amounts you pay for each element.
To have an even clearer picture of your spending, record all tips and commissions you pay under the final price of each item. Further, have a separate line under each column, preferably with the name “extras,” where you record seemingly small and forgettable yet cumulatively important costs like postage fees, gratuities, and so on.
Be Ready For Anything
Unfortunately, weddings don’t always go as expected. So, to reduce the extent of any potential disappointments, you need to mentally prepare yourself for cost overruns, late deliveries, and other unexpected events.
Although you don’t have much control over the future, diligently playing your role helps you eliminate avoidable mistakes. For instance, read all contracts and seek advice from a trusted relative or friend before signing anything. Pay closer attention to all the little add-ons, especially cancellation fees, vendor commissions, and delivery costs.
Think Outside the Box
Being innovative and creative with solutions can save you a great deal and ensure you have your dream wedding even on a limited budget. DIY solutions, for instance, can allow you to get your ideal theme and venue decorations when the bought solutions go beyond your budget. Alternatively, you can research similar alternatives for the various elements that appear too expensive. Additionally, remain on the lookout for any small savings you can make. For instance, you may decide to participate in decorative tasks to cut labor costs.
Keep Your Card Away
The temptation to use your credit card to cover sudden budget deficits may be overwhelming, but whatever you do, don’t cave in. Plastic brings its own complications, and adding it to your wedding equation can leave you with long-term debt and, even worse, a bad credit rating.
If you really, really have to use your card, let it only be for emergency expenses. Also, don’t swipe beyond what you can comfortably pay off in a month. Otherwise, the interest fees may end up being higher than the cost of the element you bought with the credit.
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