Part of the trouble with wedding planning is that your Total Wedding Budget isn’t always exact. It may originally seem as if it is when you’re making plans to spend it! Unless you have stacks of cash sitting in the bank, free and clear of any claims like bills or debts, your budget will actually tend to fluctuate. Setting the budget is probably the least sexy and exciting part about planning a wedding, but if you’re in the 59% of couples paying for their own wedding, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to do so.
Figuring out your total wedding budget has nothing to do with how you spend it, which is why here at Wedding for $1000 we make sure those are two separate conversations. Spending your budget wisely is what we’re all about, but know how much you have to spend is the first thing.
Before you get caught up in what your colors are going to be, where you’re going to say your vows and what kind of shoes you plan to wear, sit down with your freshly affianced and figure out how this fete will be financed.
How much can you each afford to contribute without going into debt?
Everyone handles their finances differently. Some couples throw all their money together, spending from the single bank account, and some split things precisely down the middle. Many fall somewhere in between. Jobs are different, costs of living in particular areas are different, student loans are different, etc. Assume that everything is different for every couple and then don’t make any assumptions any further.
You’re getting married, so if you haven’t already had a frank and honest discussion of your spending habits as well as any personal debts, now would be a really great time to do so. Knowing where you both stand financially is equally as important to starting the marriage off on the right foot as not going into debt for a single day’s events.
Is there a set amount that either or both of you have set aside, ear-marked for the wedding? If so, that amount gets added to the wedding budget.
Is there a specific amount that each of you can realistically contribute toward the total wedding budget each month until the Big Day? That amount gets aggregated with the wedding budget.
Is anyone else contributing to the Total Wedding Budget?
If so, who and how? This may be a varying and diverse amount and style of contribution. Maybe your mother wants to ‘take care of the flowers’. Maybe your father can hand you a check for a certain amount but can’t help beyond that. It’s possible your in-laws-to-be will contribute to the wedding, since the ‘traditional roles’ have blurred quite a lot in the last decade or two.
Whatever it is, find out by talking about it with your family. There’s one huge caveat to this, though: Unless you have it in hand, don’t assume you can spend it. Recently there was a story shared online about a bride who had been told by her mother that a certain amount was going to be contributed to the total wedding budget. Not long after, unforeseen medical circumstances occurred, and several thousand promised dollars were no longer available. It put the bride in a very frustrating and emotionally fraught position, and the mother was quite upset as well. The money was spent before actually being available, and the couple ended up with an unintended debt to a vendor. The old saying about counting your chickens before they’ve hatched is well founded. Don’t spend money you don’t yet have.
You may have a solid idea, but it’s always good to check. Head over to our Budget Calculator and plug in four simple numbers to find out what your real wedding budget is. The results may surprise you!