Hooray! You are engaged! The date is set and you are ready to start booking all of the necessary vendors. But wait...have you stopped to think about how much it will cost? Now is the time to get out that wedding budget calculator so that you can see it all and black and white.
The following calculator will show you the average cost of a wedding in your area. Just type in your zip code and you are on your way!
Okay...so you have seen the average cost of a wedding in your area. But what does that include? Use the following cost estimator to get a detailed estimate of the cost of each part of your wedding day. It is a wonderful, interactive, wedding budget calculator to help you prepare. It also includes printable pages to help you stay "On Track and In Control".
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1) The importance of prioritizing ~ Many factors will affect the price tag of your wedding; the formality, the date and time, the size of the guest list, the food, the reception venue, where you live, etc. The key is to prioritize. Decide which pieces are most important and compromise on those that are less important to you. Throughout the budgeting process, you will need to coolly and calmly chip away at extraneous details that you can do without, in order to have what is most important. Use either of the wedding budget calculators above to get a feel for how much your wedding will cost, based on your location, as well as all of the options that you might choose. That number will give you a good starting point. Then, you can begin to prioritize and eliminate.
2) Decide who is paying and how ~ Gone are the days when the bride's parents paid for the wedding. Today, due to changing trends, rising costs and the increase in the average age of the wedding couple, weddings are paid for in a variety of ways. It is important to figure out who will contribute (you, your parents, his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents) before spending a dime. These conversations can be awkward, but they are necessary if you want to create a budget that makes sense.
3) Start saving early ~The sooner you begin putting money away, the more you will you will have as the big day draws near. Set up a realistic savings plan. Some couples allocate a percentage of their monthly income. Do some math, and come up with a monthly number that makes sense for your financial situation. Whatever your monthly savings target, remember that little cost-cutting tactics, like cooking at home or postponing vacations until after the wedding go a long way.
4) Open a wedding savings account ~ To make things simple, keep your personal and wedding funds separate. Open a separate account so that you have a clear picture of what you have to spend and you don't have to worry about transferring money when you need to put down a deposit.
5) Be realistic ~ Your savings potential and contributions from others (like parents and grandparents) will depend on many factors. If your parents just retired, they may not be able to contribute as much as you would have thought. If you are in grad school, and only work part-time, your contribution may be less than you would like. And the list of potential savings hindrances goes on an on. Only the most realistic picture of your total budget will get you to the big day without putting you in the poor house or burying you under mountains of debt.