Here Comes the Budget: Tips for Keeping your Wedding Financials in Check

Here Comes the Budget: Tips for Keeping your Wedding Financials in Check
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Your wedding may be the first big expense you and your future spouse handle together as a couple, and as your planning progresses, the price tag may begin to spiral out of control.

Alessandra Macaluso, author of The Real-Deal Bridal Bible book and creator of Real-Deal Brides blog and podcast, offers these tips for creating — and sticking to — a wedding budget.

1. Communicate Early

Discuss your financial situation with your spouse-to-be so you both have a clear understanding of how you’re going to pay for the event, says Macaluso. Determine if either set of parents will be contributing, and how much you can afford to pay on your own. Once you know the amount of money coming in — and from where — you can zero in on a wedding budget that won’t empty your bank account.

2. Think Beyond the Wedding

You don’t want to start your marriage without a financial plan. Whether you’re planning on purchasing a new home, taking a long honeymoon, or having a baby right away, consider everything that may require additional finances in the near future. “Plan accordingly for upcoming expenses, and your married selves will thank you,” Macaluso says.

3. Prioritize

List your must-haves versus wants. Do you need a live band, or will a DJ suffice? Can you opt for a buffet instead of dinner service? Do you need floral centerpieces on each table, or are the candles from the venue enough? Oftentimes, simple is best. Decide on the most important details, and pare down the list from there.

4. Solidify Your Guest List

Guest lists can get out of hand quickly, Macaluso advises. Capping the number of guests may leave more money to spend on the details, but make sure you are able to invite the guests you truly want at your wedding. If your guest list is a priority, you may be able to cut costs on smaller details.

5. Research Vendors

“Before you book any vendors, tap your network,” Macaluso says. On a friend’s recommendation, you may find an up-and-coming photographer who can shoot your wedding for a lower price than a large photography company. If you’re looking beyond friends’ recommendations, read reviews, interview references, and sample or evaluate their work — including the food, the music, and the photography — before hiring anyone.

6. Prepare for Unexpected Costs

There may be expenses you won’t consider until you’re knee-deep in planning, Macaluso warns. Plan for service fees and taxes on your venue, vendor tips, stamps for RSVP cards, and bridal party gifts, to name a few possible extra expenses.

7. Build in a Cushion

Before you start spending on the wedding, create an itemized wedding budget. Overestimate your expected costs for each item and round up numbers. Extra expenses pop up at inconvenient times, and if you’ve planned ahead, you’ll be able to keep your cool when the unforeseen happens.

Careful planning can keep your wedding budget in check so that you can start your marriage off on the right financial footing.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.