You’ve had all your life to dream about your perfect wedding, and it’s normal to want the absolute best.
Everyone starts that way—at least until their dreams run straight into the brick wall of their budgets.
Questions such as “how to keep your finances in order before getting hitched?” or “how much to spend on an engagement ring?” are not the most fun to think about, particularly when you feel so deeply in love, but they are some of the most important questions you have to ask yourself before proposing.
It’s not just about how many people attend or how nice a cake is served at your reception, it’s also about how much the wedding itself will cost and how it impacts you and your partner’s long-term financial goals. If you plan to invest in a house, start a family, or take an extended vacation after the wedding, keeping a close eye on your wedding expenses is essential.
While it’s okay to go over your budget a little bit for that perfect dress or venue, you should try hard not to cross into irresponsible spending territory. You want your wedding to be a memorable day for all the right reasons; not something you’ll be paying off for years to come.
Financial strain is one of the most common reasons for divorce. Start your wedding on the right foot by doing your research and planning how to balance your dream wedding with your financial plans as a couple.
In this article, we take a look at three questions you must ask yourself before planning your wedding.
How Much Can You Spend?
Before anything else, you have to nail down a budget. If you don’t, it’s easy to get lost in the wedding planning process and, before long, your dream day becomes a budgeting nightmare.
Your spending plan should be a combination of two things: an overall budget for how much money you can spend on everything from invitations to flowers, and a separate line item budget for each major section of your wedding.
For example, you might decide that, given a wedding budget of $30,000, $5,000 is the most you can spend on food and catering, while another $1,000 has to go towards decorations for the reception hall.
Spend some time thinking about what elements are really important to you so that when it comes down to making final decisions you won’t be tempted to spend more than you can afford.
It’s also useful to identify family and friends who want to help with the wedding costs. While you don’t want to rely on them for everything, a little help from your parents and siblings can go a long way towards easing some of the financial pressures.
Be sure not to expect anything without asking first. These conversations can be awkward, but they’re necessary to prevent even more awkward conversations later on.
It’s better to know how much others can chip in at the outset, rather than finding out they can’t help as much as you were hoping for down the road.
What Can’t You Live Without?
Once you have a ballpark figure for how much you can spend on your wedding, it’s time to start planning and making decisions.
No matter what financial guidelines you set for yourself in advance, some costs are inevitable when getting married.
If you’ve decided that certain elements are non-negotiable for your wedding day but don’t fit in with your chosen budget, then it’s time to make some cuts elsewhere!
This is the time to be ruthless. If you are working with a limited budget, you’ll have to make hard decisions. What matters more to you? Your bride’s wedding dress or the reception? Do you value professional photos more or a live band?
It’s okay to change your mind along the way, but having a clear idea of what you want from the start will keep you from going over budget when it comes time to cut costs.
Once you have your plan in place, start saving up. Don’t wait until the last minute to sort out financing—even if you’re paying for everything yourself, it’s important not to get caught off-guard and find yourself scrambling at the eleventh hour!
Does Everything Make Sense?
Now that you know how much you can spend and which parts of your wedding are non-negotiable, you can begin to plan exactly what kind of wedding you have.
Do your research and look out for any hidden costs.
Don’t be afraid to make changes if you feel they don’t make sense for your budget. Check everything against your budget and revise as necessary.
Once you’ve finalized your plans and budget, it should all start making sense!
A few small tips that can help you plan the perfect wedding while remaining financially responsible are:
- Stick to your budget as much as possible and avoid using your credit cards
- Open a separate banking account for your wedding expenses
- Watch for any special wedding deals and discounts
Creating a spreadsheet might also help you keep track of your wedding plans and make sure that you’re staying on budget.
You’ll be able to see exactly how much money each element costs and which parts of your wedding are most important to you.
At the end of the day, it’s about taking a realistic look at what matters to you most when planning your perfect wedding.
Don’t forget to have fun along the way—two people in love getting married should be something special, no matter how much money you have!
Even though it’s hard to know where to start when you’re faced with a big, overwhelming project like wedding planning, getting organized early on will make things less stressful in the long run.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to handle any curveballs along the way!