If you talk to any engaged or married couple, figuring out a budget for the wedding is one of the most difficult tasks. Determining how much to spend and who will pay for what is tough cookies! Mr. B. and I took quite a while to figure out what we would be comfortable with and how to distribute that total amo... read more

If you talk to any engaged or married couple, figuring out a budget for the wedding is one of the most difficult tasks. Determining how much to spend and who will pay for what is tough cookies! Mr. B. and I took quite a while to figure out what we would be comfortable with and how to distribute that total amount to include all of the things that are important to us.

Like many couples today, we are paying for the wedding ourselves. In one way this made it a little bit easier because we can use our budget the way we (and only we) want since it’s our money. In another way, it is completely overwhelming to figure out how much is enough and what we can actually afford on our own.  (Anyone out there feeling the same??)

Eventually, we settled on a very small budget that we could comfortably work with to plan a wedding that suits us.  In order to plan within our means, we’ve decided to have a casual celebration rather than a formal event… which is totally perfect since that’s our style anyway.  And though our budget it small, we eventually were able to come up with a wedding day plan that will have everything we want and still be within our budget.

Whether you end up with a budget that is big or small, here’s some of my personal advice for figuring it out. It may be advice that you’ve already gotten, but it’s what worked for us.

Finances – Take a close look at your finances.  Do you have money saved up?  If so, how much of that are you comfortable using for your wedding expenses.  Have any family members offered to help out by paying for certain items or a percentage of the final cost? Take a look at all options, talk it over with those who will be involved in footing the bill and clearly map out a total amount that you have to work with.

Once you’ve figured out your total budget, you can start to break it down by vendors, items and specific things that you want.  Here’s what me and Mr. B. ended up doing to figure it all out…

Must Haves – We sat down together and each made our own list of our “must have” items and things that are really important to us. Then we went through our lists together to see what vendors, details, traditions we simply had to include in our day.

Optional Items – We also created lists of those things that are not a necessity but, if the budget allows, would be nice to have.

Thanks But No Thanks – This is the easiest list to make.  We each wrote down all of the things that we definitely don’t want or feel the need for.  It may seem like this step isn’t really needed… but it feels wonderful to cross things off the wedding list right off the bat! It gives you a little peace of mind to know your load is a little bit lighter from the get-go.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you start making your lists, be sure to keep in mind that you’ll need to have some flexibility. When Mr. B. and I started talking about what we did and didn’t want, I was surprised to learn that some of the things on my “thanks but no thanks” list were actually things that were really important to him. So, make sure to leave a little wiggle room to compromise to ensure you are both happy with the final decisions.

And the last step in our budgeting operation was THE MOST crucial.

Do your research – Before booking vendors and buying items, make sure to do the proper research! I made sure to set aside time to really research what would be the best fit for our wedding – both in terms of cost and what we want. This research includes talking to other people you know who have gotten married for recommendations as well as scouring the web for the best deals. Don’t rush into any decision without being sure that it’s the right fit.  It can be easy to say “Oh that doesn’t fit in our budget” and leave it at that.  But you’d be surprised to find that many things you think you can’t afford are actually doable if you do your homework and consider all options.

Did you find it difficult to determine your wedding budget?  It’s always helpful for brides to hear from others going through the same experiences.  Share yours in the comments :)

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