After a date has been set for your wedding, the first thing you should do is plan your wedding expenses. Why? Because your budget lets you see the big picture. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the details of planning a wedding, but having a concrete budget to stick to makes the planning process so much easier. Your budget ultimately becomes the blueprint for your wedding. A properly planned wedding budget will reflect your wants, needs, and priorities for your wedding ceremony and reception. Will your wedding be formal or casual? Do you want a big wedding with many guests, or a more intimate celebration with family and close friends? Obviously a small casual wedding will cost less than a large formal event. There are myriad decisions that you will have to face, and these decisions are so much easier to manage when they are based on the budget. Here is some good advice for planning wedding expenses.
Before you can start writing dollar amounts on your wedding budget worksheet, you’ll need to first figure out who is paying for each item, and how much can be spent in each area. If parents/family on each side will be helping with the wedding expenses, the budget can get complicated quickly. Start by discussing the type of wedding you want with your fiancé. Write down as many aspects of the wedding as you can. Review this wedding budget worksheet for a sample listing of things to account for in your budget.
Wedding Costs Traditionally Paid by the Bride or Bride’s Parents:Next try to meet with each set of parents and discuss whether they would be willing to help out with the expense. Remember, you’re asking for help, not demanding it. Depending on whom you’re asking for money, you’ll get very different responses. Some parents will say that they can contribute a certain amount and that you can spend it however you like. Some might give you money with strings attached, expecting that they will get some sort of say in how the money is spent. The main thing here is to be up front about how you plan to spend the money. It helps to have a list of who traditionally pays for each part of the wedding. This list below can serve as a starting point, but can be reorganized to meet your needs.
• Engagement party
• Invitations and stationery
• Ceremony rental fee
• Bride’s dress and accessories
• Ceremony flowers and décor
• Bouquets for bridesmaids and flower girl
• All vendor services for reception, including food, beverages, décor, and entertainment
• Groom’s ring
• Transportation for bridal party to and from ceremony and reception
Wedding Costs Traditionally Paid by the Groom and/or Groom’s Parents
• Bride’s engagement and wedding rings
• Marriage license
• Officiant’s fee
• Groom’s attire
• Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres for ushers, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers
• Honeymoon Travel
• Rehearsal dinner
Wedding Costs Paid by the Wedding Attendants:
• Attire (Tuxedos and Dresses) including shoes and accessories
• Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
Once you determine who will pay for each item on your list, you’ll have a much easier time planning your budget. A budget is simply a plan for your wedding expenses, and having a good plan removes a lot of the guesswork in the planning process. For less wedding stress and fewer fiscal fiascos, figure out your finances first. The rest will be cake!