He proposed, she said yes – now who’s paying for the wedding? Figuring out a wedding budget can be a big source of strife for newly engaged couples and their parents. After all, a soon-to-be bride probably has had visions of her wedding since she was a young girl, and the crab cake appetizers, waddling swans and chocolate fountain she envisioned might not fit into a $ 10,000 budget. While some plans may have to be scaled back to fit a realistic budget, it is possible to have a beautiful wedding on a budget without it causing a family rift. Here’s how:
1. Who’s paying?
While it’s traditional for a bride’s family to foot the tab, things are changing. More and more often, a couple pays the way themselves, which gives them more leverage in budgeting and doing things the way they want to. Sometimes the bride and groom’s family splits things up – the bride’s family pays for the catering, the groom’s family pays the ceremony site fee and the couple pays for the honeymoon. Whatever the breakdown is, knowing who’s paying for what is of utmost importance when starting to plan for the big day.
2. What’s your priority?
Certain things are more important to certain couples. One duo might find that having an open bar is vital to their reception, while another might serve only beer near me and wine in favor of opening up funds for a more elaborate wedding dress. Both the bride and the groom should make a list of what’s the most important aspects of a wedding are to them, to know what just can’t be skipped over. (A note to brides: It might be tempting to put your wishes ahead of your grooms, but that’s no way to start a marriage. Make sure his priority gets a nod, too).
3. Shop around
A budget calculator can be an invaluable tool to planning a wedding, but due to regional differences, it might not always be accurate. Before relying on national averages that you find online, call around to various vendors or visit Web sites to find out prices. You might find that a photographer in your area is much cheaper than you expected – or vice versa.
4. How long is your engagement? (Or, alternately, how much can you save before you get married?)
It’s simple math: The longer your engagement, the more money you can save, the higher budget you can create. Alternately, if you have a higher income that is just whiling away the hours in your bank account — how nice that must be! — you can afford to save more in a shorter period of time. You could also consider saving money (or creating more money) by opening a money market account, which can give you a greater return in interest than a savings account.
5. Don’t forget the extras
You might have planned out what you think is the world’s most-perfect budget, but if you’re not accounting for surprises, you’re going to be in shock when the final tab comes in. Around 5 percent of your total budget to “extras.” Trust me, you’ll be happy that you did.
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