Starting the Wedding Budget

Before you start spending money you need to consider how much the wedding is going to cost. It is vital to have a working budget that you will be able stick to. Once you set the budget you must stick to it. You would be surprised how quickly money adds up by spending a little here and a little there. First and foremost, you must think of how you are going to pay for your special day. Some areas to consider: Savings accounts, money saved from paychecks, bride’s family, groom’s family, friends or close relatives contributing wedding services in lieu of gifts, credit, and bank loans.

A great way to save for your wedding is to set up a wedding only account. Having a savings account will help you stay out of debt and keep you on track with your budget. You should consider depositing a certain amount of your paychecks into this account each month. This extra cash might be needed for unexpected situations.  Job layoffs, unexpected medical bills, emergency home repairs, and many unplanned events can drain your money quickly.

It is recommended that couples DO NOT take money out of their 401k or IRA accounts to pay for the wedding. The cost of a single day shouldn’t compromise the couple’s happiness in retirement.  Also, a withdrawal from these accounts costs more in the end because they are taxed by the government.

If you and your partner are going to ask your parents for help be sure to ask them sooner, rather than later. Before you jump into spending  you must look at the big picture to see if you are going to need help from your parents. Before a proper budget can be put together, you must know where all the funding is coming from, including help from parents. When approaching your parents make sure that you approach them alone; do not bring your partner. The last thing you want to do is make the parents uncomfortable and have them feel forced into giving you money. Once you decide to speak to your parents, you must come prepared. Bring along a projected outline of your expenses so that your parents know how much each item is going to cost. It is important that you ask for help in a polite way and show  them that you are grateful for their help. Once they agree to give you the money be sure to keep them in the loop. They are nice enough to provide you with a little extra money, the least you could do is let them know where the money is going. Always remember to be appreciative for the help. It is encouraged to write a thank you card (yes, even to your parents) with a special note of thanks to let them know you appreciate their help. ***One thing to consider: Some parents feel that if they are giving you money, they have a right in making the decisions. If your dream wedding is not at all how your parents view your wedding day you will seek conflict. If there is too much conflict you may want to reconsider taking the money. ***

Many couples will decide to charge their wedding expenses with a credit card or bank loan. This approach can be beneficial if the couple uses a credit card with a rewards program. Airmiles, for example, can be used towards the honeymoon. If you are able to pay the balances on time and don’t accumulate too much interest, this option may be great for you! If you are not, however, you may need to revisit your budget. Is there something within your budget you can live without? If so, look to cut down, or cut out items you feel you can go without.  Statistics show that weddings typically cost 20-30% more than originally expected!

Compromises will need to be made to stay on budget. Instead of being dropped off in a luxury car, you may have to settle with a less expensive limo or bus. Is the dessert table REALLY needed if you plan to serve cake already? You may also have to shift money from one category to the next to balance everything out. Keep in mind that by compromising you are able to cut costs and still have a beautiful day.

It is important to save, so if you are planning to get engaged/married soon keep saving! You will be so glad you did! 🙂

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