Which elements are the most important to you? The romance of a wedding …the reality of paying for it…
Whether you want to have a barbecue for 20, a formal
dinner for 100 or a cocktail reception for 400, the first thing to do
is to sit down with your fiancé and work out who is going to contribute.
Although it was once tradition for the bride’s
family to pay for most, if not all of the wedding, this is no longer the
case. Today many couples pay for their own wedding, with help from
either or both sets of parents. Therefore, the bride and groom must add
up the amounts that they have from various sources and plan their
After deciding what the budget is, the next step is
to prioritize expenses. For example, the bride might insist on an
elegant evening reception. After some research, it may be determined
that up to 60% of the budget will need to be spent to achieve her ideal,
leaving few funds for a designer gown, fabulous photographs, quality
invitations, flowers a plenty and a dream honeymoon. Or perhaps, the top
priority is flowers, with orchids spilling form Lalique crystal vases
on every table, or maybe the groom hopes to commission Harry Connick Jr.
to sing at the reception. Obviously, your budget will strongly reflect
Try to group expenses into major categories:
reception (to include the location, rentals, food, drink and cake),
fashion (to include bridal wear and other accessories for the groom and
wedding party), flowers, photography and videography, music and
entertainment, honeymoon and miscellaneous (to include initiations,
stationary, favors and transpiration). Ideally the reception should be
about 50 percent of your budget and the remaining categories the other
50 percent. It might be a good idea to have your budget outlined on
paper. This hard copy will aid in resisting vendors who will try to
tempt you to stay beyond your means. Be sure that you understand all
costs involved before finalizing any arrangements and read contracts
carefully before signing.
Remember that many companies will require a deposit so it might help to highlight dates for payment on your spending plan.
There are a few key elements that will vary the cost
tremendously; time of day, menu, length of reception, level of
formality and the size of the guest list.
If you set out your budget and find you keep cutting
where you would rather not, perhaps a longer engagement period would
give you a chance to put away the extra cash needed. A monthly savings
program as little as one year can make a big difference to achieving the
wedding of your dreams.
Another way to economize is to accept generous
offers from family and friends; whether an aunt volunteers to fill the
church with flowers from her garden or a friend from school sings a
rendition of Ave Maria, not only will enhance the personal side of both
the wedding and your memories.
A little creativity will stretch your budget a long
way. Church decorations and flowers can be reused at the reception and,
if you have the inclination make your own gifts for the bridesmaids and
the ushers. Take a course at the local college in stained glass,
ceramics or even Chinese painting; these gifts shall be cherished and
will cost nothing more than the registration fee, materials and your
time. Plus, the class might be a good way to wind down each week
throughout the stressful planning period.
Finally, many travel agencies have savings plans for
honeymooners; if you don’t mind waiting a few months before departing,
then go ahead and register your honeymoon, then invite guests to
contribute. This is an ideal registry for couples who have already set
up house and are more in need of the dream vacation that an additional
set of china or glassware.