1. Create a budget that is realistic. Talk with your parents or whoever might be contributing and then talk with your fiancé about what the two of you can afford to contribute. This will most likely require the two of you to do some calculations about your incomes and other expenses to determine how much you can save before the wedding.
2. Give yourself some wiggle room. For example, if you want to spend of maximum of $20,000, create your budget breakdown with only $18,000. That way you are aiming to spend less, so if you go over budget (which most people do) you will still fall within your original budgeted amount.
3. Don’t forget the small stuff! When you create your budget breakdown, one category should be set aside for miscellaneous expenses. This will be for all the small expenses that you forgot about, or never knew you would have. They can add up quickly, and if not accounted for, will cause you to go over your budget.
4. Choose one or two categories that are the most important to you. Those should be the categories you can allow yourself to go A LITTLE over budget with. You might really care about photography and having an open bar. Or you might have your heart set on your favorite band and designer bridal gown. If you allow yourself to go over in these categories, you either need to scale back elsewhere, or dip into the extra amount you previously accounted for. That means you need to be really strict in all of the other categories and not go over in any of those. It can be tempting to go over just a little bit here and there, but in the end that can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
5. Don’t forget about the tips! Make sure when you are adding up all of your vendor costs that you also account for tip money. If you leave this until the end, you can easily add on hundreds of dollars in tips. Some vendors will include the gratuities in the cost of the services, but many do not. Make sure you ask and check the contract carefully to determine.
6. Keep documentation of what you spend. Keeping track of everything you spend on the wedding will help you focus on your budget and realize if you are overspending. Save receipts and make a spreadsheet or list to organize your spending. $10 here and $20 there might not seem like it’s worth recording at the time, but staying on top of your finances will help a lot in the long run.
Krista Spinti is the owner of Weddings With A Twist, LLC. She’s certified by The International Institute of Weddings and offers assistance with preparing a timeline, establishing a budget, selecting vendors and more!