Planning your wedding can be lots of fun. Figuring out how to pay for it? Not so much. But coming up with a realistic wedding budget is an absolute must to make sure you don’t have tons of stress and don’t get into tons of debt. Here’s what to consider and how to get it done.
Who’s paying for what? Sit down with both sets of parents to find out if–and how much–they’re willing to contribute to the wedding. Some parents offer to give a set amount that you can spend as you see fit (and when the money runs out, you’re on your own), while others prefer to pay specific vendors. Either way, you should walk away from the meeting knowing how much they can afford for the big day.
How much do you need to save? These days, most couples do need to financially contribute to their wedding. Once you find out what the parents are willing and able to pay for, you’ll be able to determine how much you and your fiancé need to come up with on your end.
What does it cost? It can be difficult to try to figure out how much to set aside for each aspect of the wedding. This breakdown is a good start:
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
Prioritize. While a designer wedding gown and live band might be a high priority for some brides, another would rather spend the money on gorgeous flowers and an end-of-the-night fireworks display. Think about what your vision is for the day and make a list of your must-haves.
Do some research. Once you know what you want, come up with an estimate of how much it will all cost. Check online, ask friends, get estimates from vendors or talk to a wedding planner–this will help you calculate a realistic number for your dream day.
Be sure to include unforeseen costs. No matter how hard you budget, some things wind up costing you more than anticipated. Be sure to pad the budget a bit–putting aside about 5 percent of the budget for a “just in case” fund.
Start a spreadsheet. Set up a spreadsheet and allocate money to each part of the event. Keep track of how much you are spending and enter it into the sheet.
Figure out ways to save. Ask friends who have recently gotten married for recommendations on vendors and how much they paid. You can also ask to borrow certain items or buy them secondhand to save. And when you find savings in one area, you can move that money to another one if needed.