As soon as you set a date, you need to develop a budget. Once you have a number, you can start planning how you will spend your money. The best way to start allocating money is to do some research on what things will cost.
The first thing you need to know to determine the costs of your wedding is the number of people you want to invite.
Determine the cost of the wedding ceremony and reception location.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Use one place for the wedding and reception. Often, you can get a better rate for having the entire wedding at one location. You will also save money in transportation costs. Really on a budget? Look for a free place such as someone's home. Can't find a free place? Go to a park, or use your church.
Determine the cost of invitations. These can get quite expensive, so stick to your original guest list. You can always send announcements after the wedding.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Design your own wedding invitations. Many craft stores offer DIY kits that you can print from your own computer. Also, talk to a local print shop. They are often much more reasonable than invitation-only companies.
Determine a decoration budget. Factor in the flowers for the ceremony; any reception centerpieces; bridesmaids’ bouquets; and boutonnieres for the groomsmen, the fathers and the ring bearer and corsages for the mothers.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Stick to one flower type. Consider doing your own flowers, decorations and favors to really save.
Determine the cost of music for the ceremony and the reception.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Ask people you know to contribute their musical talents. Aunt May can play the piano. Your friend Sally can sing. Ask another friend to play deejay at the reception.
Determine the photography costs. How much will it cost to do portraits, the ceremony, and the reception? Do you want a videographer? Photography can be a large portion of the wedding budget, so really look for the best deal.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Only have a professional photographer do the portraits. Use disposable cameras at the reception for candids.
Develop your food budget. This should include food costs for the bachelor/bachelorette parties, engagement party, rehearsal dinner, the reception, beverages, and wedding cake.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Time your wedding so you don't have to serve a full meal. Early afternoon means you can serve light hors d'oeuvres and cake.
Consider your budget for attire. What is your budget for a wedding dress, veil, shoes, hairstyling, makeup, and jewelry? What is your budget for the groom's attire? Will you rent a tux or buy a suit?
Cost-Cutting Tip: Look online for a dress. Costs are typically much lower even on new dresses.
Determine the budget for your rings. Look at the different options available to determine your budget.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Online is the way to go. You'll find great deals on auction sites and with online wholesalers.
Decide a budget for attendant gifts. These are a must-have. If your budget allows, you can include your parents and each other in this line item.
Cost-Cutting Tip: Here's a great source for low cost attendant gifts .
Consider what you will spend on the honeymoon. It's important to think about this alongside the wedding budget because plans can be adjusted based on resources left over.
Your last consideration is a fund for any miscellaneous items such as tips, unexpected bar tabs, etc.
Be sure to keep up with receipts, and review your budget often. This will aid you in sticking to your wedding budget.
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