After the initial excitement of getting engaged, it’s likely that you’ll want to launch into wedding planning mode immediately. While it’s perfectly normal to be excited about what’s meant to be the best day of your life, if you aren’t careful and allow yourself to get carried away, your budget can get out of control fast. To help keep you on track, here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your wedding planning process.
Of course you want your wedding to fulfill your wildest dreams, but it’s important to take a step back and make sure you aren’t setting plans in place that you can’t actually handle. Take into consideration your current salary, your monthly bills, any outstanding debts you may have and the future you might be saving toward— while it’s tempting to put all of your spare money towards your wedding, it’s also vital that you keep track of and prioritize the real-world financial obligations that will continue to exist.
Set a Definitive Budget
The sure-fire way to get yourself into financial trouble while planning your wedding is by setting a loosely-structured budget without serious spending caps. To avoid going overboard and to prevent future headache, decide at the beginning of your planning process what your absolute limitations are, and stick to them. When the festivities are over and real life resumes, you (and your wallet) will be extremely grateful that you did.
Determine Your Money Sources
Sit down with your significant other and have an in-depth discussion on how the wedding is going to be funded. Are you going to be paying for it together, out-of-pocket? Would you be willing to consider applying for a wedding loan? Are parents from either party able to contribute anything financially? Could you ask your guests for financial gifts rather than setting up a registry? (Although if you’re going to do that last one, avoid going the route that this woman took!)
There are a number of ways to fund a wedding, but be sure you know exactly where the money for the event is coming from and that you can rely on those financial sources without question before getting too far into the planning process.
Establish Your Priorities
Once you know how much money you’re working with, it can be helpful to decide what components of the ceremony and reception are most essential to you and what things you’re willing to let slide. Have you found a venue that’s too perfect to pass on? Do you need a DJ, or would you be willing to make your own playlist for the reception? Is it important to you that each member of the wedding party receives a beautiful, heartfelt gift from you and your spouse?
While you hopefully won’t have to cut too many things out of your wedding vision to stay on budget, knowing what your priorities are will make it easier to make those cuts without feeling like you’re decreasing the value of the day.
Utilize Your Loved Ones
Do any of your friends or relatives have skills they might be willing to put to use before or during the event? Are any of them talented musicians, photographers or bakers? Is there a certified officiant in your social circle?
Don’t be afraid to ask for their help! It’s more than likely that anyone you’d be willing to put on your guest list would be willing to do their part to make your wedding run more smoothly. Incorporating more of your loved ones into the process will not only save you money, but it will also make the memories all the more meaningful.
Decide On Your Honeymoon
Ask yourself this: do you want to put the majority of your money towards your wedding ceremony and reception, or would you rather splurge on a week-long honeymoon in the destination of your dreams? Economic studies have actually shown a correlation between more money spent on wedding ceremonies and a higher rate of divorce as well as, conversely, a correlation between going on honeymoons and a lower rate of divorce.
While it’s wonderful to spend your wedding day surrounded by your friends and family, it doesn’t have to be an overly extravagant day. Keep in mind what this event is ultimately about: the love that you and your partner share, and celebrating that bond with the people you love most. By placing greater financial focus on your honeymoon, you’ll likely find that it’s much easier to focus on the purpose behind your wedding as you’re planning it and take some of the stress off of your own shoulders.
Congratulations, and happy planning!