For brides that are planning a wedding and the sky is not the limit, the one thing that may at the top of your list is…money, money, money. When you walk into the Caterer's… Cha Ching. When you stop in the florist shop Cha Ching. When you think about getting invitations Cha Ching. You want the wedding to be a "Special Day" that you will remember for the rest of your life – yet you don't want to be paying for it – for the rest of your life.
How do you plan a Wedding on a Budget? I'm glad you asked. Be sure to get your note pad ready and take notes.
1) You must know what your budget is. Keep the following two things to keep in mind;
a) What is the amount of money you and your fiancé can contribute towards your wedding? This means each of you must already know what your individual budgets are (income and expenses) – what do you have left over to contribute towards your wedding. Let's say for example your Wedding is 9 months away and together you both contribute a total of $400 – in six months that means you'd have $2,400 for your wedding expenses.
b) Second factor would be if your parents said they would contribute any amount. You are able to know how their contribution would impact your wedding budget.
2) Once you have the budget, then you should decide what is important to YOU and YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE when it comes to a wedding. What are the MUST items and what items can you do without? This occurs even before you go into any store to make any purchases. Think back over recent weddings you have attended. What is it you'd like to see at the wedding, same for the future spouse? Make a list AND PRIORITIZE this list.
3) Once you have your list, approximate what you believe each item should cost UNTIL you go to various stores and comparison shop. CAUTION: This is not about being cheap! The lesson is about learning how to comparison shop and get the most for your money; as well as being able to decide what you NEED and what you can go without.
4) Before you go shopping, write down 3 stores beside each item on your list that you can look at. You may also do some online research which would save you some time. Whether you buy local or online could make a difference in the costs. There are some items that you can buy online and others you JUST have to see up close and personal.
5) Decide how many bridal shows you will attend, whether it is 3 at the most and no more than 4. Also determine what you hope to accomplish by attending the bridal show. Listen there will always be bridal shows and after a while some of the vendors are repetitive. Questions you can ask yourself:
a) What type of vendor am I looking for at a bridal show?
b) Do they provide samples or are they people oriented?
c) Can I schedule a meeting with them during the show?
d) Did they have a brochure or card that I could review later?
** When you are planning your wedding, the goal is not to overwhelm yourself.
6) When it comes to budget – Once you begin going to the stores – write down the pricing. I recommend that you keep a tablet that you started once you were engaged. Make sure you write down the price of each item from the 3 stores. This way once you return home, you can look at the pricing, remember the quality and make some sound decisions.
CAUTION – Do not be swayed by bridal magazines, bridal TV shows or even friends and family members who are all about YOUR wedding. Think big picture – what do you and your future spouse want to see when it comes to your wedding and marriage.
FURTHERMORE – Do not fall into the trap of seeing all the different shoes, flowers or even wedding dresses on the bridal forums you belong to and think that what you have chosen is not good enough. Know what your budget is and do not be pressured by someone else's choices. Plan your wedding according to your budget that you can afford!