The do’s and don’ts to creating a realistic wedding budget.

Now that you are engaged, it’s time to sit down and come up with a realistic wedding budget. This task can be daunting trying to figure out who is going to pay for what. Sitting down with parents can also make for an interesting time. First and foremost, creating a budget of how much you think your wedding will cost is a good idea. There are many tools out there to help you, creating a spreadsheet is the easiest way to keep your wedding money in order. Create one where you can have a section for your budget (the amount you will show your parent-if they are helping you out) and a section for actual amount spent.

When you are meeting with potential vendors for the first time, be prepared to discuss you vision regarding their services. For example, when you go to meet with a florist, be prepared to discuss the look and feel for your event. Bring photos of thigs that you like and dislike. You will also need to have an estimate of the number of bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and centerpieces that you will need. Most importantly is letting the florist know what you are looking to spend overall on your flowers. Starting with this will help the florist make suggestions on alternatives if necessary, with some of your choices if the come in over your budget. This way you can also discuss things that are must haves and things that could maybe be changed out. You are counting on them to come up with ideas that fit your theme and budget together. The best thing you can do is be honest and up front about the amount you want to spend. Try not to give them an impression that you would be ok with going over this amount, especially if you are not. This will give them the opportunity to make a proposal that will have your look (or something similar) and stay within your budget.

Once you have a contract with your vendor the you can fill in your spreadsheet with that amount. This way, you can track whether you are staying on budget. If you are finding you are under budget you may be able to spend a bit more on another item or if you have spent more than you thought you would on one vendor you may have to cut some costs in another area. The more you save the more you may have for things such as last-minute costs or a honeymoon. If you are consistently overspending you may need to make adjustments on your guest list or some of your big purchases so that you don’t end up way out to lunch.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be reasonable with your negotiations. If you only have a $1000 to spend on a photographer, don’t go to one whose package is a minimum of $2500 and expect that he or she will give you a $1500 discount.
  • Wedding purchases are often highly emotional so don’t put yourself into a position that will leave you in tears. If you have $2000 to spend on a wedding gown, don’t let family or the salesperson talk you into trying on the $8000 gown. IF you fall in love with that gown, you will end up being miserable in comparing it to every other gown you see.
  • Remember to review your budget often. It is much easier to correct your budget after one or two items then to be scrabbling near the end.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you need to cut back in several areas in order to maintain your budget. Sometimes there are other ways. If you are handy you may be able to do a few things your self. Or even consider hiring a wedding planner. They are great at finding vendors to fit a budget. Just remember weddings are about sharing your special day with the people you love most!
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