One of the questions I see most asked in any bridal Facebook group is, "How do I set my budget?"
It's been a little over five years since I was married, but I remember the wedding planning that took place before our actual wedding. I completely understand how lost you can feel when you first start out (let's be real.... you feel completely lost even up to the wedding itself!). It's my goal that by the end of this article, you'll have a better grasp at where to start and what to do.
The first, and in my opinion, single most important thing you can do is set a budget. My husband and I have done this whenever we've made a big purchase, and it's partly due to my affinity to all things expensive. When you open a bridal magazine and see the perfect dress, only to see that in person the dress costs thousands more than what you can afford. That's me! Budgeting is something that we have to practice all the time.
So look over your financials. What reoccurring bills do you have each month? Are you paying for the wedding all on your own? This is vital.
Do not spend what you can't afford.
Let that sink in for a bit.
Do you want to start out your marriage with big credit card bills that are a result of your wedding? If not, then you need to set a budget.
Once your overall budget is set, I like to tell my clients to write down all of the things you'll need for the wedding:
These are the big ones that pop into my head. Once you have your list, both you and your fiance need to rank these from 1 to X. Why both of you? You'd be surprised at how different you value certain things! Ranking the importance of each item lets you set a priority over how much you want to spend per category.
Once you've set your budget in each category, it's easier to look at things within your budget, so you aren't tempted to overspend. It is my personal recommendation that you do not look at stuff far outside of the budget you've set. What happens is that you allow yourself to be star-struck by what you get with a higher price tag. Then, when you have to go back to looking at things actually within your budget, you're left feeling a little disappointed.
In the end it's you and your future spouse who need to make these decisions, together. This will be one of the first of many major decisions you make together, and this simple budgeting practice is important throughout your whole marriage.
Have you given the budgeting idea a go? How did it work? Where did you and you fiance differ on importance? I'd love to hear your experience!