Planning A Wedding On A Budget

Learn how to create, plan, and organize a wedding budget. Find out tips to help make budgeting an more pleasurable experience. By creating a wedding budget, you take that first step in organizing a perfect wedding.

Planning the perfect wedding can be very stressful for not only the bride but the groom too. In order to take some of the edge off of this stress, a wedding should be well organized. One of the ways to begin to organize your wedding is to sit down with your fiancé, parents, and parent-in-laws to be, and start to create a budget. Budgeting is not a popular past time with most engaged couples, however, it is a necessary evil if you want a beautiful wedding.

It will be in your best interest to get together with all parties participating money to your wedding and find out what they are willing to contribute. Also, it is a good idea to find out what they believe their money should be used for in your wedding planning. Traditionally, the bride's parents should foot the bill for the entire wedding. However, in this day and time, both the parents of the bride and the groom may help with wedding expenses. Shocking as it may be, about 75% of engaged couples pay for their entire weddings themselves. It is remarkable how in this new millennium that couples can actually afford to pay for their own wedding without outside help. Good money management and budgeting may be the reason for such a high percentage of weddings being footed by the marrying couple.

Once you have established where outside contributions are coming from and the amount that will be given, you and your fiancé can now sit down together and plan the details of your wedding budget. At this time, you and your fiancé need to consider if you have any savings you are going to contribute to the wedding expenses. If so, do you and your fiancé feel that there is enough money coming in for the planning of the wedding that it would warrant opening a separate checking account (a wedding account)? If so, who will open this account and maintain it? After you have determined how much money you will be able to spend on your wedding, you should take a moment to discuss alternative ways to save money for your big day. One way is to take into consideration how big a wedding you are planning on having. A typical informal wedding costs about $5,000. If this estimate is to steep for you and your betrothed, you should consider having a small intimate family wedding. An easy way to estimate how much your wedding will actually cost is to use the following equation: $100 per person for a formal wedding or $50 per person for an informal wedding. This estimate will give you the working number you must strive to save or collect in order to create the biggest day of your life. Another way is to consider whether or not you can hold off your honeymoon until a later date. However, this idea is not very popular with most engaged couples. Yet another way is to use credit cards or obtain a short term loan. If this is the avenue you decide to pursue, please take a moment to consider your living expenses budget and how much of a crippling affect credit card and/or loan payments will be on you finances once you are married. It is common for newlyweds to spend the first year of their marriage trying to pay off the debt that they incurred putting their wedding together.

Now that your spending amount is established, it is time to create a budget. The first thing you need in creating this budget is a list of items and services you will need to pull off your wonderful day and their price estimations. Below is a sample of such a list:

Items Estimated Price Actual Price

Jewelry

Engagement Ring $___________ $__________

Wedding Bands $___________ $__________

Ceremony

Site Fee $___________ $__________

Marriage License $___________ $__________

Officiant's Fee $___________ $__________

Stationary

Invitations $___________ $__________

Reception Cards $___________ $__________

Bridal Attire

Bridal Gown $___________ $__________

TOTAL $___________ $__________

This however is only a sampling of an entire wedding budget list, but you get the picture. There are many more things to consider in your budget list than what is printed above. Also, the internet is a wonderful source for finding wedding budget lists just like the one above and most are free to print right from your computer.

Now that you have established your list, you should begin to put down the amount of money you expect to pay for each item or service. Once you have made all your estimations, you can now total your estimated cost. If your total estimated cost is more than you believe you can afford, you will need to adjust the estimated cost on each item or service until you find a number you are more comfortable with. However, if the total estimated cost is less than you had plan to spend then don't be afraid to splurge a little more on special items or services.

Next, you will want to find out the actual cost of each item or service. This means you will need to contact many different types of wedding vendors to get an idea on what your actual cost will be. It is wise to call several different vendors in order to get the best quote. Weddings are big business for wedding vendors so you should be very aware that many like to take advantage of customers and their lack of experience with wedding planning. This is especially true the closer you contact them to your wedding date. When you talk with vendors don't be afraid to let them know they have competition and you are looking for the best buy for your buck. Vendors that know they are competing for your business will be more likely to offer you discounts and/or special services.

After contacting each vendor on your list, you should tally your actual cost. Check to see how the actual cost measures up to your expectations of the cost. Is it more? Less? If it is more than you expected, you have a few choices to make. One option is to cut down your items and services list until you are satisfied with the final cost balance. Another option is that you could cut your guest list down until you reach your final cost goal. Yet another option is to put off your wedding date until you have enough money saved or contributed to pull off the wedding of your dreams. Although, pushing the wedding date is not the most popular idea with budgeting couples, there are some advantages to holding off. By putting off your wedding date, it is obvious that you will have more time to plan. Also, you will be able to do much more research on your final wedding day plan. With more time to plan, you will be able to look for even more bargains which means more money in your pocket in the long run. If putting off the date of your wedding in order to save money is not at all appealing, however, you still would like to be save, you should consider setting your wedding date during the off-peak season for weddings. Most peak seasons for weddings are between the months of May and September. By getting married during the off-peak season, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars on wedding cost. This is true because wedding vendors business goes way down on the off-peak season months and they welcome the business (even it is less than they usually charge) with open arms. These vendors know that they will more than make up the cost again when the wedding season begins again the following year. Now if your actual cost was less than you estimated the cost to be, again, I suggest you splurge on special items or services for the wedding. Another idea is to split the difference with all parties that contributed to the wedding or you might want to add the difference to your honeymoon cash. Vacations always seem to cost more than we intend so a few extra dollars may help out a lot.

Now that you have laid out a plan on what you intend to spend on your wedding and you know what the actual cost is, you need to keep in mind one minor detail. Your budget is not set in stone. Meaning that over the course of your planning your budget will fluctuate and you will need to adjust your budget accordingly. As you plan, you may be able to make some beneficial compromise with your vendors. Perhaps, you will stumble upon a bargain that saves you hundreds. However, you may have planned to pay less for an item and because they are out of season or hard to find, you end up paying more than you had wanted to. It will be most beneficial to keep an accurate record of all the purchasing you have done. You should keep track of each price, any deposits you have made, and the balance due on each item or service rendered.

The most successful wedding budgets are the ones that are the well organized. No matter what the size of your wedding, it is essential that you organize your plan carefully in order to pull off a perfect wedding. The cost of a wedding can be terribly taxing on an engaged couple, however, you must not stress yourself out. You should take your time, and evaluate all your options. Keep in mind that a memorable wedding is not about how much you spend. Rather, they are about celebrating your love and commitment to your new spouse with your family and friends.

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