Today we’re talking about a topic that makes people uncomfortable and that is money or more specifically your wedding budget. Talking about money is always a difficult discussion to have and it gets so much more emotional when you are talking about your wedding. You want your day to be magical, to be memorable. You want all these things, but you have to think about the cost as well. Everyone wants more than they can spend. EVERYONE. Whether your budget is $10,000 or $1,000,000, you always want more. This day is special and you want it to be all you dreamed it to be, but how do you do that on your wedding budget?
Step one: Figure out how much money you want to and can invest in your wedding. Your budget should answer to both what you WANT to spend and what you CAN spend. For example, you may want to spend $50,000, but can only spend $30,000 with the income and savings you have. You don’t want to start your marriage in debt, so be realistic about your financial situation. Most couples are now paying for part or most of their weddings, but even if your parents are chipping in or paying for it all, they will be presenting you with a number that is representative of the same concept. Once you have agreed on a wedding budget that you are comfortable with, then you can move on to step two.
Step two: Sit down and list out what you want. The trick with any budget, whether it is for a wedding or a vacation or a home or even a camera, is all about prioritizing. List everything from the letterpress invitations to the world class photographer to the vintage car. Jot everything you can think of down. Once you have that list, then you have to rank it. I would suggest that you and your fiancé do this step separately so that you can each think about what is important to you. Be realistic with your rankings. Not everything can be ranked number 1.
Step three: Compare your lists and see what is important to you and what is important to your fiance. Take a look at the top 3-5 items and see if you have similarities and/or differences. Then talk about it. Compromise and come to an agreement on what matters most to you both and put together a new list that combines your individual rankings. Now, those top 3-5 items are what you should focus your money and your wedding budget on. These are the items you really want, so make sure you get those, but be willing to look at different options for the rest of the items. Maybe you don’t really need letterpress and can use offset printing instead. Or perhaps photography doesn’t rank as high and you would be happy with a local photographer instead of the one that you have to fly across the country.
Step four: Accept your wedding budget and stick to it. This step is probably the hardest because when you start planning and choosing vendors, you’ll find yourself wanting more. You’ll find yourself saying, “Oh, look how nice that is. It only costs XXX more”. Be careful because it is a slippery slope and you can find yourself adding more and more until you’ve completely blown your budget. You can’t have everything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a special and memorable wedding. You just have to be creative and flexible when it comes to the areas that don’t rank as high on your list. If you find yourself straying, just look at your prioritized list again and remind yourself of the items that are really important to you. Then look at your fiancé and remind yourself that they are what really matters. The two of you and your love and the start of your life together is what matters. No matter what happens or which florist you choose, you will be happy because you are getting married to the love of your life and that’s memorable all by itself.