The dresses, the flowers, the tuxedos, the lovely music, the gauze-covered chairs with large, theme-colored bows, beautiful words and a grand party afterwards.
This could describe any social event, but we’re talking about what has been referred to through the ages as ‘the happiest day of your life’. Your wedding day. And as lovely as a wedding can and should be, it takes planning. Lots of planning, strategizing, and money. Though, not necessarily lots of the latter.
Today it costs thousands to put together the perfect wedding, but ‘perfect’ depends on the individual couple. You can easily pull off a beautiful wedding for $5,000. Whether you’re gearing up for a $30,000 day, or a $5,000 day, with careful budgeting, and the drive to stay within a budget once it’s set, you’re beautiful day can also have painless memories of what it took to have it your way.
Shop. You don’t buy the first snack food you see on the supermarket shelf, nor would you buy the first wedding dress you see. Most women begin planning their wedding details before they even like ‘boy cooties’. Over the years they may change the dress as many times as they change boyfriends, but when they finally find ‘the one’, of either, they know it.
The same goes for the cake, decorations, floral shops, and essentially the flowers they offer, the stationary, and every other step it takes to plan a wedding. Shop around for even the smallest detail because it might be the one item that pulls the entire event together in the end, and you might even find it at a ridiculous price because you were diligent with a budget.
Don’t settle. If the flowers aren’t quite what you imagined, search until you find what you want, but remember to price shop even when searching for that hard-to-find item. When a friend’s daughter recently married, she wanted the perfect unity candle. By the time the ceremony came around she had two because she’d purchased the first one she thought she liked, and later found ‘the one’ which she used. She’d shopped for two months for the dress, and a candle caused a near glitch for her.
It may work best for you to have a lump sum account for the whole process, or you may prefer to organize a little tighter, and set separate budgets for each section of the event (ie. dresses for bride and maids, flowers, cake, catering, etc.) and stay within each allowance as much as possible.
Not all budgets have to be set in stone, however. You may opt to give yourself a little free money. By this I mean, set your budget. As you plan, shop and spend keep track of every penny and return any extra you save on bargains back into the budget allowance, put it into one of the other budgets that went over unexpectedly.
If you save a hundred dollars on a caterer, don’t spend willy-nilly on extras just because you didn’t need it where it was budgeted. It can help add flowers, or decorations somewhere else.
By the end of your wedding day, you could have saved enough to start a savings for your first home later down the line.