Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How do I make a wedding budget? Vol 1

Your friendly budget watchers
This should be one of the first five questions you ask yourself once you embark on your wedding planning journey.  Yet, it rarely is.  It's not that the topic is a complicated one, but it is a priority that isn't fun, so it often gets avoided. this is probably going to take a few posts, so prepare for 2 to 3 volumes.

Okay, now that you know you're going to set up your budget, what to do first?

ONE: Write down the boundary number.  This is the scariest part because chances are you have no idea what anything costs.  Honestly though, that shouldn't matter.  What does matter is that the number you put here $_______________ is a number that you (or whom ever is paying) is comfortable spending on the wedding.  It does NOT mean that you have to spend all of it, or that it will even be necessary to.  But you have to establish your boundary number first.

TWO: Prioritize  What is most important, 1, 2 or 3? You might change your mind later, but it will be best if you're honest with yourself now and write it down.  If you change your mind later, you have to start a new budget.  Always have a working budget.
  1. Guest list (Whose invited to the wedding)
  2. Location & Style (Where your wedding will take place, both ceremony & reception AND Indoor/Outdoor, Casual/Formal)
  3. Date (also consider day of the week if you're flexible on this)
Now that the 1st wedding discussion (argument is more likely) is over and everyone is done yelling and screaming (somebody is probably crying too), its time to do some research.  Based on what you've prioritized,

THREE: Research what is out there.  Based on your first priority, what are your options?  It's time to do some online research and make a few calls so that you have a reasonable idea of some options and costs. DO NOT fall for this:
"The average U.S. wedding costs $23,000"
Wrong, wrong, wrong.  It totally depends on where you are, how many people are coming, and the kind of wedding you're planning.  No need to completely rule anything out yet.  Just get ideas.  Do not look for hard and fast answers.  They will not apply until you've made many more decisions.  You may or may not be in sticker shock after this step, so we'll take a breather and come back for vol. 2 later.
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101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons