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Weddings - Saving up for the Big Day
Preparing Financially for the Big Day
Anyone that has been married, and had a wedding where you invited friends and family, knows just how surprisingly expensive it can be to pull off. Some guys save up a long time just for the engagement ring. That is just the beginning of large sums of money going out to make that wedding day just perfect.
Without sounding too cliche, I want to say that saving up for one's wedding really isn't that different from saving up for anything else in life. There are differences however. For one, this is a short term goal for many people. Often they have been living life, dealing with owning a car, and/or dealing with college tuition. Or they are much farther along in life, and other things have been in their sites. Regardless, it usually a short term savings goal for those that are looking to saving for a wedding. I mean that it isn't something that parents have been putting money away for like college, etc. Therefore, you find "the one", that very special person in life, and fall in love. Next thing you know, you are needing to save up for the wedding day. Many people don't put the wedding date too far out into the future. For me, it was about a year or so. This is why I call it a short term savings goal.
That said, you can start saving up anytime for your wedding. You need not wait until you find the person you are going to marry before you begin to save.
Save like you would for anything else in life
Save for your wedding day, like you would anything else in life, only maybe a bit "faster" if that is possible. In short, have income coming in, spend much less than that, and save the rest. That is the "super easy version" of what I am trying to communicate, but it is time tested and true.
Ideally, you want to start thinking of every possible thing you could possibly want at your wedding, and the costs of making it all happen. You are going for a goal, a number of dollars no matter how big it seems at the time. You need to have your goal in mind at all times, and preferably down on paper. Invariably, you end up needing more money because the sheer cost of things is mind boggling. Do your research in advance. Consider ways of saving, like rather than hiring musicians and people to sing, is there someone in the family that would be honored to do it for free? It isn't about being cheap, but being a part of making it able to happen at all. Trust me, anywhere you can ways to cut costs, will be beneficial to you.
To this day, I have very fond memories and we still talk about how my aunt played her flute with the pianist at our wedding. She was so happy to do this for us, and wouldn't hear of taking money. On the other hand, when my wedding gown needed to be fitted a bit better, there was no one in the family or close friends qualified. So I had money going toward a seamstress, and other things like flowers, etc. You get the idea. Cut costs however you can, but keep in mind what you would rather "lose." Consider that part carefully.
For instance, we could not afford a full sit down dinner for all the guests we wanted to invite. I was so disappointed that the chef we were using told us how much it would cost. Many people at this point will keep the meal, but cut down on wedding guests to invite. Now you are having to not invite people you wanted to invite to have more or better food. We kept the people, and did amazing finger foods of all kinds, it was very nice! There were beautiful fountains, and cakes, and all kinds of truly beautiful foods. This was how we cut cost without feeling like we were cutting anything out.
Short Term Goals
Since most often saving for a wedding falls in the "short term goals" category, that is my focus here. A goal you hope to achieve in say, the next year, as I stated before. On paper, put down your costs, and if you are doing a price range, and then calculating things, assume it will be the most expensive end of your range, so you are not short. Make a list. Put numbers next to the items in terms of their order of priority to you. This helps to "un-muddy" the waters when you are trying to reevaluate later if necessary.
After making a list, then prioritizing with numbers, put down dates by which you hope to accomplish each thing. A wedding guide at this point can be very helpful to know when you want or need to have certain things done by. The last thing next to each item in the list, is the amount of money needed to make it happen. So you have your list, then the priority, then the date, then the amount of money.
This is just one way to try and organize your goals for saving for your wedding, but it works. You can get totals,and readjust as needed. Keep track on a separate sheet expenses going out, and income coming in. I might even start a separate account if I had to do it over again. My last thought in regards to encouraging you to plan ahead and much earlier than you think you will need.. Make sure you try to enjoy the process of planning your wedding and getting married. Staying on top of your finances can help make this very special time in your life more fun, memorable and wonderful.