A new wedded life with your partner shouldn’t kick off with overwhelming debt. You want to enjoy every moment of your wedding day—the music, flowers, friends and family, not to mention your soon-to-be spouse—without a nagging feeling in your gut that you've spent too much. We have some tips to help you plan a beautiful wedding and stick to a budget.
Before you page through a single magazine or discuss any details with any vendors, examine how much you have to spend (financially and emotionally) on your wedding. If your parents or soon-to-be in-laws are planning to pay for all or some of the expenses, include them in the conversation.
Start by visiting CostOfWeddings.com to get an idea of the average cost of a wedding in your area. Granted, these stats are for straight couples, but it's a good starting point. Then look for any extra income you could dedicate to your big day, such as a tax refund or an expected bonus check. If you receive monthly payments from an annuity or structured settlement, consider contacting an organization such as J.G. Wentworth. They may be able to buy your future payments for one lump sum of cash now, which you could use to help fund your dream wedding.
Walk through what you envision your agenda will be on that day. Using this wedding budget worksheet, figure out which events or aspects are most important to you and your partner, and allocate a higher percentage of the budget to those things. Ask your married friends what they were thankful they had at their weddings. Things like a videographer to document the occasion for family members who can't come may be worth the expense, while others (like footing the bill for the ladies to get their hair done at a salon, or treating all the gents to a pre-wedding night on the town) may not be worth it to you.
Photo: Hudson River Photographer
Choose your venue first—it's typically what costs the most. Choose your attire around the time of year the venue is available. Save yourself some time and headache by coordinating the attire, decorations and flowers with the dates of availability and the décor of the venue.
When you visit your vendors, make your budget known. Work with them to accomplish what you want; don't demand they lower their prices to meet your needs. The old adage “kill them with kindness” will work nicely here. No one wants to see you have an ugly wedding. The nicer you are to them, the more they are likely to throw things in to help your day be more glamorous.