I found these ten very helpful hints to help you create a logical, reasonable wedding budget in the latest issue of Bridal Guide magazine. I paraphrased Denise Chipani’s excellent article to shorten it just a bit. Here goes…
1. Set Budget Priorities. Resist the impulse to rent a Rolls Royce limo. Begin with a realistic overall budget (which will involve planning meetings with your fiance.) Make a list of, in order of MUST-haves, your wedding details, so you can spend your dollars on the higher priorities.
2. Read the Fine Print. Read everything. Don’t skip over anything, and ask any questions immediately, especially when it comes to payment terms. You need to know when payments or balances are due, if there are any minimum charges, corkage fees, cake-cutting fees, etc. Instead of signing a contract on the spot, take it home and read it carefully. The vendor shouldn’t mind waiting 24 hours or so. If there’s pressure to sign then and there, proceed to the next vendor on your list.
3. Look Before You Leap. Even if you fall in love with the first reception venue on your list when you visit, be patient. Don’t write a check, only to find a beautiful place that costs less and offers more a few days later. Investigate. List the details of each wedding venue — costs, services, extras, terms—on a spreadsheet or something similar. You just may wind up taking the first place you saw, and you’ll know in your heart it’s the best!
4. Don’t Fall Prey to Peer Pressure. Resist keeping up with the Joneses. You don’t know all the details about that fabulous wedding you just attended—lobster, filet mignon, the best champagne. Who paid for it? How much debt did this couple take on? Don’t be affected by the choices of others. You’ll be more likely to create and stick to a budget you can afford.
5. Don’t Get Stuck on Shoulds. All you really need is love and a wedding license. Do you really need the priciest favors when unique wedding favors are available at affordable prices? Consider whether a particular detail will mean something to you in the future. Wedding photos are priceless and everlasting, but how important will that two-minute ride in a ritzy car mean to you in the future?
6. Know What You Both Want. When you go food shopping without a list, don’t you often come home with lots of stuff you didn’t need? Ditto for weddings. Sit down with your fiance and list what you absolutely must have, and you’ll make wiser financial decisions.
7. Don’t Let Your Guest List Get the Best of You. More people=more money. Period. Their solution is to “figure out how many guests you can actually afford. Split your list among your own guests, your groom’s and your parents’. Then have everyone chop from the bottom to create a “B” list.” They recommend you order extra reply cards to send after the initial RSVPs come in and you know you have space.”
8. Don’t Stuff Your Guests. Certainly you don’t want your guests to leave your reception hungry or unhappy, but overordering food or planning a seven-course dinner-palooza isn’t the answer. The more choices you order, the higher the cost. Work with your caterer. Let her know what your budget is, what kinds of food you want, and she’ll determine what she can give you within those parameters. Trust that she’ll come up with creative options.
9. Think Creatively. Don’t follow the crowd (or re-create your sister’s wedding.) Be imaginative. Bridal Guide’s example is to “ask a florist to create one centerpiece that you and your friends can use as a template for making the rest yourselves.” You’ll save on the cost of labor you would have paid the florist.
10. Don’t Do It All Yourself. Frankly, you don’t have the time to do all the research and footwork it takes to find the best, most economical choices. Get help. A wedding planner. Mom and sis. Your BFFs. Your fiance. If you have talented friends, enlist them to help you with invitations, decorating or flowers. They’d probably love to help you make your wedding a triumph!
Personally, I think these are incredibly valuable ideas. To see the whole story, check out the May/June issue of Bridal Guide magazine.
All photos courtesy of Google Images.