Any way that you cut it a wedding is something that you have to be financially prepared for. Even if you're the type of couple that isn't going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your special day, you should still expect to put out thousands. Learning how to create a budget for your wedding will keep you on track and within the green so you don't have to worry about using your wedding gifts to help you pay off debt.
Here are a few things to consider as you create your wedding budget.
#1 Get on the same page
No matter what one party thinks there are 2 minds working together to plan this event. You might have different opinions in terms of spending when it comes to your fiance so you will want to make sure that you two get on the same page. Come to an agreeable amount of money that you're willing to spend so you know what dollar amount you're working with.
#2 Create a realistic guest list
Although we love the idea of being able to invite our great aunt Patty who we haven't seen since we were 3-years-old, it's time to develop a realistic guest list that fits within your desired budget. The less people that you have equates to less money being spent on food, drinks, and decor. Even though many couples justify inviting more people because they'll get more wedding gifts, most of the time you won't receive monetary funds to help cover the costs of paying for distant relatives. Weddings are supposed to be intimate celebrations of love, so choose guests that are actually close to you.
#3 Ask your parents
In some cases, your parents may be willing to help you with your wedding. In many cultures, parents actually pay for the entire wedding on their own, but that should never be expected. Talk to your parents to see if they are interested in contributing and if so -- how much? Perhaps your mother is interested in buying your wedding gown and your father is interested in paying for the photographer. In any case, your parents can be of great help when you want to stick to your budget.
#4 Make room for last minute emergencies
Now that you have a general idea of how much you're both comfortable with spending, if there's any help from family, and the total cost that you'll have to put out for guests, make sure that you make room for last minute emergencies that inevitable crop up. Almost every couple spends more money than they anticipated but this can easily be avoided. All you have to do it take your total budget and cut it by 10 percent and set it aside. That way you know that you have an emergency fund and you won't be forced to overspend your budget.
Finally, remember that life goes on after your special day. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a financial bind that will take years to get out of long after the wedding.
Staci Franklin is the owner and founder of It's Your Day! Weddings and Special Events. Since 2006, her company has been providing event management services for weddings, social and corporate events, fundraisers, trade shows and group travel.