Here Comes… the Money?

July 6, 2010

The Financial Aspects of Your Big Day

Article contributed by Bull & Bear Essentials www.bullandbearessentials.com

Did you know that the average wedding in 2009 cost $27,500? And that is down from 2008 levels.

Bottom line- you may want to start saving the moment you or your child is asked out in 6th grade.

Where to begin as you sketch out your wedding? We outline some steps below.

Decide What You Will Spend

1. Total: Decide on the total amount of money you are able to spend on a wedding.

2. Budget: Make a Budget for 80% of that total because, the reality is, you will go over your budget.

3. Help: If the two of you are going at it alone, or if you are fortunate enough to get help from family, you will need to know the amount all parties are willing to put in up-front. This may seem awkward at first, but it will save you headaches and heartaches later. Remember money promised is different than money in your hand. People’s financial situations can change and the amount they (or you) are willing to spend can change.

Tip: Many people rely upon receiving money as gifts as a way to pay off wedding expenses. Don’t do this. It’s very unpredictable.

4. Question Your Budget: Do you want to spend this much money on a wedding? Would you rather use this money for a down payment on a house or pay down your student loans?

Begin to Budget

1. Determine Your Priorities: Where do you want to splurge, where are you content paying market price, and what are willing to do on the cheap?

Tip: Don’t forget about the Honeymoon. Good news is that you can now register for your Honeymoon at a site such as Traveler’s Joy.

2. Invest Time Before Money: Do a good amount of research on all of your options. There are always less expensive options that may not sacrifice quality.

Tip: Seasonally available resources. For example if you are getting married in Napa Valley in the summer, roses will be cheaper than orchids that you must fly in from Thailand

Tip: Locally available resources: There may be beautiful town halls or other local venues open to you for free or at a deeply discounted rate. Ask about it.

Tip: Perhaps consider wedding insurance. Perhaps you would feel less stressed about a lost ring, tropical storm or sudden illness if you had wedding insurance. This could make a difference if the number you’re budgeting for is large.

Tip: On the day of the event you must have cash on hand. Vendors will expect tips so be sure to budget this in.

3. Set the budget before you set foot in a store or talk to vendors: For example, before you see any bridal gowns, communicate that you do not want to see any gowns above your price range. You run the risk of falling in love with a $15,000 gown and leaving no room in the budget for those monogrammed sweatbands you wanted for the after-party dance session.

4. Use Budget Sheets – There are many great sites with sample wedding budgets.  In this example you can enter your total budget and check off the items that you want in your wedding. This tool will pre-fill numbers for you. It is then up to you to finesse that.

5. Use a Timeline for Your Budget – There are many wedding timelines and checklists detailing all of the steps you should be taking from 12 months out, up until the day of your wedding. Review this when putting together a budget as it will remind you of things, which may not be so obvious at the outset—like that last hair trim before the ceremony. It all adds up!

Related Articles: Wall Street Journal: A Lavish Wedding Costs More than You Think

Photograph taken by Liz Daly Photography

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