How to Set a Budget
One of the most important things you can do when you are first engaged is to set your budget. This is important because weddings cost A LOT! Anytime you put the word “wedding” in front of anything you can expect the price to double, triple, or quadruple. For example, I did an online search for a photographer. On the website, a full day family session with 2-3 different locations will run about $450. I would assume that a shoot like this would be about 3 hours, making it about $150/hr. The same photographer has a “basic” 6-hour wedding package that starts at $2,000. This is more than double the family rate. This is not uncommon. Hence why planning your budget early on is so important! It is very easy for you to tell yourself or have others to tell you that “you only get married once.” This will lead you down the path of a very expensive wedding.
The first step of setting a wedding budget is finding out how much money you have to spend on the wedding. If you haven’t already asked your parents, ask them if they plan on helping you out in any way. Also, you may ask the groom’s parents. Sometimes one set of parents offers to pay for part of the wedding or for part of the honeymoon. This is important to know when it comes to setting the budget because you need to know what you have to work with and what you are going to have to cover yourselves.
The second step of setting a budget is to decide how much of your budget you want to spend on the big-ticket items. Some of those items would be the following:
All of these can vary greatly in price. You can spend $500 on a nearby 3-night spa honeymoon or you can spend several thousand to pay for a suite on a 10-day cruise. This same situation is true for almost every item on that small list. This is why your budget is important, especially for these items.
The last thing you have to remember is that the small items will add up quickly as well. You can forget all the other things you will need to pay for such as invitations and stamps, alterations on your dress, flowers, thank-you cards, etc. My advice is to download the wedding checklist on our website/blog and print it out. Then, off to the side of each item that will need to be purchased, give an amount that you would be willing to spend out of your budget. This will help you keep on track. Remember, you really do only get married once. But trust me, going into a marriage broke or in debt would not be fun. Don’t drain your savings. Getting married is great, but financial strain could add more stress to you new marriage than you need.
Good luck planning your wedding!
Comment below any other budgeting tips you might have!