You're engaged! Congratulations!! What an exciting and thrilling time
in your life! Everyone is asking to see your ring and then instantly
asks 'When is the wedding?' Like magically once that ring hits your
finger people seem to think you have the whole wedding mapped out.
Crazy one day you were just dating then the next you're supposed to
Well I'm here to shed a little light on what I believe to be the
absolute most important thing you should do first when planning a
wedding- figure out your budget. Seems like a no brainier right? Can't
make any decisions without knowing you can pay for it. Surprisingly
what I found is usually the 4th or 5th that is decided and never kept
Make a budget. I'm serious do it. Without a budget there won't be a wedding.
You could google wedding budget templates and find million different
templates like this one:
This is a sample of what I created to make our own wedding budget. This is a one to start with before you go into more detail with items you wish to include in your special day.
When creating your budget talk with your fiancé honestly what your
income is and how much you can squirrel away in a year or two to pay for
a wedding. Sit down with your parents and find out if they will help
and by how much. I know the money talk can get a little uncomfortable
sometimes but it needs to be done.
Once you know who will help with what you can add that into your
reserved funds. Remember to make a firm amount of what you'd like to
spend but make sure there is about $5,000 of wiggle room in your
budget. Seems like a lot but you'd be surprised how many little costs
arise that have to be paid for like postage on invites, return stamps,
tips, vow books, center pieces. All of those things add up really
Now making your budget think about your living arrangements. Are you
renting but want to purchase a house? Are you living at home but want
to move out on your own. Things to think about and costs that can
affect your budget.
The way Joe & I planned and paid for our wedding was waiting. We will
be engaged for almost 4 years before we get married. Not an ideal wait
time but we decided it would be great to get married and buy a house
at the same time while I struggle with paying my school loans-
brilliant idea on my part.
My other word to the wise is - if you think you can save and pull off
getting married put the wedding off for 3 years to give
yourself wiggle room. We regret not pushing the wedding off for
another year. We realize we probably should have waited for 4 years to get married to have more of a nest egg.
Another thing that plays a big role in your budget is school loan
debt. It's a serious crisis millioums are dealing with. The 'Go to
college that costs $20,000 a year and live there- you'll get a great
job at graduation', but then you don't. Don't discount the amount of
money school loans will suck out of your paychecks.
Where you live/plan the location of the wedding itself will dictate
how big your budget should be. After much research in the Philadelphia
area most venues have a venue cost, a per person cost, cocktail hour
per head costs AND a decoration costs. Most Philadelphia venue cost is
$6,000- to $10,000 alone not including feeding and boozing your guests
or decorations for the venue. Just an example to show how truly high
the cost of weddings are.
With all my points to think about when creating a budget it's a lot to
take in. Making the budget shouldn't be done lightly but lots of
thought. Do you really want to spend $30,000 for one day in your life?
Is that $5,000 dress really worth it? Can you afford to go on a
honeymoon after the wedding? All big questions only you and your
fiancé can answer.
As stressful as this planning is it will be one of the most exciting
times in your life. Take a breath and relax. Just enjoy that exciting
sparkle of being newly engaged. Congratulations to you and yours-
wishing you happy planning ahead!