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What You Need to Know When Creating a Budget for a Wedding
Weddings today are a multi-billion dollar industry. Many people think it's impossible to have a wedding that doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it is possible to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget. Many people still choose to do this, whether because money is tight, or because they would rather spend the money elsewhere. By creating a solid plan and a budget when you first start planning your wedding, you can save yourself not only a lot of stress, but possibly a lot of money as well.
Creating a financial plan for your wedding
One of the first things you need to do when planning a wedding is set a spending limit. You may come to this number in different ways - it may be a number you pick at random if you have unlimited financial resources, it may be a number you've been given by parents, if they're paying for the wedding, or it may be how much money you figure you can save in the amount of time you have before your wedding. If you're paying for your wedding on your own and you want to do it on a budget, the smartest thing to do is figure out your finances, create a regular budget, and then create a wedding budget based on what you have left at the end of each week or month.
When you create your wedding budget, look at your time frame and decide how much you money have to save each day, week or month to pay for your wedding. Many places require down payments up front, so be sure to take that into account and don't put off saving until the last minute if you can help it.
Know up front if you're going to have financial help. Are your parents or other family members going to be helping you with the costs? It used to be that parents almost always paid for a wedding, but that's not necessarily the case any more with the cost of some weddings being sky high. In some cases, if parents aren't willing to foot the entire bill, they're still willing to contribute in some way, or for specific things like venue or photography. This could be a big factor in making your budget.
Once you have your spending limit set and your budget created, you can start planning, researching and finding the best services for your wedding.
Make lists, lists and more lists for your wedding
When planning a wedding, especially if you're planning the wedding without the help of a professional wedding planner, you can never have too many lists. Get yourself a binder or folder to keep your lists in, as well as receipts. contact information and contracts for the services you're using - this way everything is in one spot, you can stay organized, and you always know where things are.
The very first list you need to make is a guest list. This may seem extremely obvious, but making a guest list goes beyond simply knowing who's coming to the wedding. The number of guests coming will determine the size of the venue you need to rent, the amount of food and beverages/alcohol you need, and the number of wedding favors you'll need.
Make lists of all the things you need or want for your wedding. There are many wedding checklists available online with everything you could possibly need for your wedding. Some of them even include suggestions on what percentage of your budget to allocate for each item or service.
Once you have a list of everything you're going to need, you can decide how much of your budget to set aside for each thing. Now is the time you might want to start researching wedding and reception sites, florists, bakeries, dress and tux shops, etc., and getting prices so you have an idea of where you want to spend more and where you're willing to cut back.
What are the most important things to you for your wedding?
Many people already have in their minds what the most important elements of their wedding are, and others come to realize these things as they're planning and researching their weddings. For some people, flowers are extremely important - they want elaborate bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces and arrangements. For other people, flowers are of very little importance, as they realize the flowers will die quickly, people might be allergic to them, or any other number of reasons. For many people, photography and/or videography is paramount - the photographs and videos from your wedding are the only real tangible things you take away from your wedding. The flowers die, the food gets eaten, the dress and tux go back to the rental shop or go into the back of the closet. Photographs are something you'll have forever, and something that many people are willing to spend a large chunk of their budget on.
Once you figure out what the most important elements of your wedding are, you can figure out what's not so important, and therefore where you can possibly cut costs.
An important point to consider when planning your wedding
Remember that your wedding is only one day out of your entire life. Yes, it is an important day and it should be special, but it's the marriage that is the most important thing. Many people go into debt over this one day, and it's completely unnecessary. When you're planning your wedding, try to keep in mind that you have the rest of your lives to plan for as well - homes, possibly children, vacations, retirement, etc. You don't need to go into debt to have a beautiful wedding.
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