This is a very sticky subject, and one that should be taken on IMMEDIATELY you start planning. Yes, I read all the advice and knew it in my head, but didn’t put it to the practice and it’s been one of the biggest regrets I’ve had during the planning process. So instead of writing a diary format, I’ll share what to do, and what not to do based on my own experience.
1. Set a budget limit EARLY! Determine how much money you want to spend realistically. Is it $500.00, $5,000.00, $50,000.00, $500,000.00, or $123,456,789.00? Know what your magic number is!
2. Write the budget down! Excel is your friend. You can get wedding budget templates online, that have rows that include the typical wedding items.
3. Insert a JUST-IN-CASE line in your budget. In my opinion, this number should be approximately 20% of your overall budget. Why? Because chances are that you’ll forget something and remember it 3 weeks before the wedding. Or if you’re like me, you’ll decide that you want a traditional chapel-length veil after seeing veil shots online, and will have only 2 weeks to order said veil – this of course, will include Rush Delivery charges.
4. Appropriate your budget to the different wedding items accordingly – décor, food, photography, videography, attire, you name it. If you’re going to use a product or service for your wedding, you need to figure out how much you are willing to spend on those items.
5. Figure out who is contributing to the wedding budget. How much can you bring to the table? How much can your fiancé bring to the table? What amount are both sets of parents willing to give? Have any rich uncles, aunties or godparents that would like to give you a monetary gift towards planning? Find out how much each contributor has to give to the wedding budget. Do this early. And don’t assume that anyone will donate anything if you haven’t asked, and they haven’t confirmed!!!
6. Determine the possible maximum number of guests that you may have, and work with that number. This isn’t such a big deal if you’re not a Nigerian bride. If you are, and you want 500 people, make room in your budget for an extra 200 people. This number helps determine your menu budget, as well as reception/ceremony crowd capacity, number of chairs/tables you need, etc.
7. Cut your coat according to your size, meaning be realistic. Are you trying to have a flowers imported into your country, and your floral budget is $200? It ain’t gon work, child! If you find that your dream wedding is outside your budget, postpone the wedding, or have a small ceremony now and a grand vow renewal in the future. You can also DIY some items if you’re crafty, or look for cheaper options for décor/centerpieces.
8. Eliminate unnecessary items from your budget. No, you don’t need that chocolate fountain. Hey, I know you love Beyonce, but she doesn’t have to sing live at your wedding – buy her CD.
9. Don’t go into debt on account of your wedding!!! At the end of the day, this is about your marriage. It does not make sense to borrow a large amount of money, and be broke with debt to pay off, after the wedding. Remember, you’ve got bills to pay – car, rent, power, water, kids eventually (if you don’t have any and want some one day).
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