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When you begin to allocate money for your big day, it’s important to have a checklist to help you consider and keep track of all the costs. Know that expenses can vary widely depending on your tastes, the time of year, the location, even the day of the week. But you can begin to calculate your spending once you’ve set a date and estimated your budget. Here are the basics to help you create your own list:
No matter what you’re able to spend, your wedding day will be memorable and unique. Even so, creating and sticking to a budget can help you manage your expenses and your expectations. First look at how much you and your fiancée have or can save up to pay for the event. If you have a year-long engagement, you can put aside a certain amount every month to allocate toward costs along the way. If you have friends or family who want to help, you can pool their contributions or allow them to choose certain things they wish to cover. If you plan on using some savings, be sure to maintain your emergency funds and not completely drain your account. If you need to borrow some money, look at interest rates. Your credit card may have a higher rate than a personal loan.
Don’t fret if you need to be conservative with your wedding budget. There are many ways to cut down on the costs without sacrificing the magic that makes the day so special. However, the old adage “you get what you pay for” could mean trouble if you skimp on the wrong things.
Here are some ways to save…
First, you may have to trim your guest list, which can save you in food, beverages and more. Be flexible with your date — weekend and evening weddings are the most expensive, as are events in late spring, early summer and during the holidays. Shop around. Though you may have your heart set on a certain venue or a dress, you may find something just as lovely for much less money. Buy flowers wholesale and arrange them yourself. Do your own invitations — there are many websites with templates that you can print. Potluck the food for the rehearsal dinner. Skip the fancy cake and opt for a fun alternative. Consider renting attire rather than buying — yes, even that dress that you’ll probably only wear once.
And a few things not to skimp on…
Your photographer. Pictures last a lifetime and are an historic representation of your union. Find a photographer whose style matches your own. Oftentimes, the biggest cost is the photobook and prints. See if you can get your images digitally for self-printing. Make sure your venue is large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably. Also, be sure to order enough food and beverages to feed everyone. Whatever the menu, it should be from a delicious and reputable vendor. Finally, don’t skimp on whatever makes the wedding uniquely you — that is what people will remember about the day.