So he popped the question and you said yes! Now what? You may be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the plotting and planning that goes into preparing for the big day that you don't even know where to start. One of the first things you're going to want to do is set the all important wedding budget. Your wedding budget dictates almost every aspect or your wedding. What size or type of wedding do you want? Do you want an intimate gathering or a grand affair? How big will your guest list be? Will you plan a local wedding or a destination celebration? So many questions will be easier to answer once you set that budget. Depending on how long your engagement is you should set a basic budget as soon as you can, or at least 12 months in advance, if you have that long.
According to the January issue of Brides magazine, the average American wedding cost is around $25,000. Don't worry if this sounds too high, for you can make your wedding just as special for less. That is why you need to set your budget early on, so you don't run the risk of spending more than you can afford.
Here are a few essential questions to ask early on that will help you set your budget:
When is the wedding?
Knowing when you're going to 'tie the knot' will dictate now long you have to save up money.
Traditionally the bride's family picked up nearly the whole wedding tab, now days more and more often the groom's family is contributing. Also, couples themselves now pay a good amount towards their 'I dos', especially when their tastes and wants exceed what their families can afford. When deciding who pays for what, set down with each set of parents separately and ask for a dollar amount that they are able to contribute. It also may be easier to have your parents pinpoint a certain part of the wedding that they can cover (i.e. ceremony, catering, honeymoon, alcohol/bar). If you and your fiancé will be covering the tab yourselves, really focus on the next question.
How much can be saved?
As soon as you're engaged figure out how much you can afford to put aside each month. Something to consider; the longer your engagement, the more money you can stash away.
Now that these important questions have been answered, here is a formula to follow to set your budget: