How to Set a Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget TipsAre you busily planning your dream wedding? Congratulations! But while you’re blissfully selecting wedding colors and flower arrangements, you and your betrothed need to sit down and have a serious talk about your wedding budget.

The average U.S. couple spends a whopping $24,000 on their wedding–and that’s before the engagement ring or a honeymoon! Whether you envision yourselves quietly eloping or walking down the aisle in front of 300 guests, you need to carefully plan your budget to avoid beginning your marriage deep in debt.

When planning your wedding budget, you need to consider not only how much you’re willing to spend overall, but also how much you’re willing to pay for a specific item or service (for example, a live band vs. a DJ. Your budget will need to cover the following: attire, rings, ceremony and reception venues, catering, flowers, music, photography, invitations, officiant’s fees, transportation (limo), and gifts for the wedding party.

How much of your wedding budget you designate to each category is completely up to you. For many couples, the reception takes up nearly half of the budget, while other couples divide everything up even and square. Some couples have a low-key wedding to afford a fabulous honeymoon! What’s important is that you and your fiancĂ© are in agreement about your spending limits and what you’re willing to splurge on or sacrifice in order to make it all work.

For example, if catering a sit-down meal for your guests will be too expensive, ditch something else, like the full bar, to balance things out. Or, if having those out-of-season flowers is truly important, cut back on the table arrangements and save the expensive stems for a few select bouquets.

It’s a good idea to print out a copy of your estimated wedding budget and take it with you while shopping for vendors, decor, and other goods, so that you can keep track of your actual costs as you go and avoid unpleasant sticker shock later on. Sticking to your budget is one of the easiest ways to reduce the stress of wedding planning, and ensures that you’ll have a little money left over to start out your new life as man and wife.

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