When the majority of Americans get engaged, one of the most frequently uttered words afterward is “budget”. It’s also one of those words that can incite rage and start arguments if you aren’t as organized or intentional as you initially planned to be. Obviously, not all of us are Kennedy’s — we can admit that affording a crazy, $55,000 wedding blowout may not be in everyone’s future. So, what are the most important steps for the rest of us to take in order to starting a wedding budget that we can actually follow?
1. See the big picture. Get a rough idea of what you want your wedding to be. This is kind of like a rough draft of a paper that you can edit later or an outline of a drawing. Think about what you want: what kind of vibe or theme (if any), who do you want to be there, and where and when will it be. You know, the basics.
2. Assess your combined finances. What can you save in the engagement period to go toward your wedding? What have you already saved? Get a rough number of this and continue to #3.
3. Find out if your parents want to contribute. This goes for either set, since we are living in the 21st century and anything goes these days. Do not demand that they foot the bill. Find a way to see if they want to contribute and leave it at that. Once you have that idea, add that and what you can contribute together for an estimate of what you want to spend overall.
4. Begin thinking about small details. Things like place cards, side dishes, scheduling, or what color eye shadow you’re going to wear. All of this stuff costs money. All of it.
5. Start writing it all down and stay organized. Oh, did we mention that we built an app just for that? For instance, you could list it by smallest to largest expense, least to most important, or group it all into categories (dress, food, ceremony, etc.). Whatever method works with your brain the best, because this list is going with you everywhere. Details about your wedding should not be left out of your ultimate budgetary concerns. If that happens, expenses can sneak up on you and suddenly you’re $5,000 over budget. Remember, details are everything.
6. Check everywhere for ideas on how to save. Pinterest is a great way to start. It’s a hub for any and every possible idea related to weddings. Once you find pins you like, you just follow the links outward. Make sure to plan breaks, as it’s easy to fall into a Pinterest hole and not be able to come out for several hours. There are also tons of articles a simple Google search away. The internet loves weddings.
What are your best tips for staying on budget? Do you have a budget for daily life? Tell us how you keep your wallet unscathed in the comments!
– The Gala Pal Team