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Planning Your Wedding Budget

Aug 29, 2008
Money is the subject that married couples argue about the most. Is it surprising that the very same subject can cause stress before the wedding? Weddings are pricy affairs and costs can spiral quickly unless a couple plans in advance. Once a budget is drawn up, it is also equally important that both parties adhere to their agreements.

And while a wedding budget doesn't sound all that glamorous, it doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, planning your wedding without a budget is almost guaranteed to land you into serious financial debt. What's the key to success? As it will be throughout your marriage, open, honest, two-way communication is an absolute must.

Newly-engaged couples must talk about how each envisions his and her special day. Women work on the assumption that guys don't care about the details but that's not always true. It is, after all, the man's big day, too and he has a family to please as well.

As the excitement of the engagement settles down, the couple should spend some time in serious conversation about what is important to include in the event. It is essential to listen to each other. Once each person has described their vision of the perfect day, a list should be drawn up of desired details (to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage, lobster, renaissance theme, color scheme, etc.) and the items that are indispensable (photographer and videographer, caterer, flowers, rings, etc...). This information is going to form the structure on which to build the budget.

Number crunching is the next step once the tentative list of items is drawn up. First, the total amount that is currently available to spend (for example, in savings accounts, stocks/bonds, real estate, trust funds), and how much needs to be saved from each person's income, and how much help with expenses can be realistically expected from others. If the wedding date is a bit distant, it may be prudent to open a higher-interest bearing account to allow additional interest to be earned.

Don't make unrealistic estimates based on what others might cover in planning your costs. Whatever is contributed by friends or family should be accepted graciously. It would be immature to become angry or disappointed if the amount isn't what you hoped it would be.

When you know where the money's coming from and how much is coming, you'll know how much you'll be able to spend. Now make another list of all wedding-related expenses and allocate a dollar amount or the percentage you're willing to spend next to each item. This will help when you're actually contracting for these services. Remember that if you exceed your budgeted amount in one category, you'll have to scale back another so your budget will stay balanced. Because budgeting is so very important for most couples, you'll find that wedding budget worksheets, software and other tools are available everywhere, so go find one and start using it right now!
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Newly Engaged? Then be sure to check out these Wedding Plan Ideas and Handy Wedding Tips
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