By Tim and Lisa Spooner
When we got engaged, we weren’t sure how we would afford our dream wedding. We had little in savings, a growing education loan, and no expectation of a handout from our parents who also had tight finances.
These five simple steps were key to our success in planning our dream wedding for just $2,000 in a community where couples spend on average over $24,000 on their weddings.
1. The Rules of the Game
We all love the challenge of an exciting game. The goal is always the same: To Win!
By understanding the rules of the game and applying our creative thinking and other skills, we can achieve victory.
The same is true of budgeting for a wedding. Fortunately, the rules are simple:
Find out how much you can afford to spend on your wedding. Plan your dream wedding; but don’t spend more than you can afford.
In our case, we were big winners. We played by the rules, which said not to spend more than $2,000 to plan our dream wedding. Smart strategies led to a triumphant wedding day full of surreal beauty and the freedom of knowing that we were starting our married life without a penny of wedding debt.
2. Know How Much You Can Afford to Spend
To know how much you can spend, you should take a look at how much you both have in your savings accounts. Also, find out how much your parents can contribute to your wedding planning.
Consider how much you make each month. Also calculate your monthly expenses. You should also think about what your income and expenses will be once you are married.
The first few years of married life tend to be full of financial obstacles for most couples. So, you don’t want to add the heavy burden of wedding debt to your new life together. You may even want to have some extra money in savings to help your new life together get off on the right foot.
Also, consider how much money you will want to keep aside for your honeymoon.
3. Discover Your Magic Number
As you consider how much you can afford to spend, you will become more and more comfortable with spending a particular amount of money on your wedding. We were comfortable with spending $2,000 on our wedding. This was our magic number.
What is your magic number? Is it $10,000? …$5,000? …$500?
Do not be afraid of the number you discover. You will be surprised at how a bit of smart planning can make your dream wedding possible even though you can only spend a small amount of money.
Thousands of couples have been downloading our guide “Wedding Planning on a Budget” to discover tried and true strategies for planning their dream weddings at a price they can afford. Like them, you can follow winning strategies to plan your dream wedding at a price you can afford.
The amount that you decide you can afford to spend on your wedding is your total wedding budget allowance.
4. Anticipate Where the Money Should Go
The best way to make sure that every part of your wedding is paid for without spending more than your wedding budget allows, is to assign portions of your allowance to different parts of your wedding. You can, for example, assign 50% of your total wedding budget allowance to your wedding reception, 10% to your wedding dress and other attire, and so on.
Once you know how much you plan to spend on your reception, you can divide that money between the various components of the reception such as Room/Hall Fees, Tables and Chairs, Food, Drinks, Cake, Linens, Service Fees, Staff and Gratuities, Rentals, etc. Of course, you only have to apply money to the components you plan to include in your wedding.
You can use our free wedding budget spreadsheet that calculates all of these percentages for you and keeps track of all your planned spending and actual spending to help you stay on target. Our wedding budget planner is available at Wedding Planning on a Budget
5. Making Your Budget Do the Work for You
Now that you know how much you plan to spend on each item of your wedding, you can begin using some winning strategies and creative planning to acquire each item or service at the price your budget says you can afford to pay.
Before making any wedding purchase, first consult your budget to find out how much you can afford to pay. After the purchase has been made, record the actual cost of the purchase in your wedding budget.
If the actual price paid is less than what you had planned for, then you can afford to spend that much more on another item found on your wedding budget spreadsheet. If, however, you paid more than what you had planned for, then you must reduce what you can plan on spending for other items on your wedding budget.
In other words, the amount you actually pay for each item can be adjusted but make sure that all of the items end up totaling no more than your total wedding budget allowance.
You now know the rules of the game and how the game is played. With smart planning and by following some proven strategies you can, like us, achieve the wedding of your dreams at a price you can comfortably afford. We wish you a very happy wedding planning experience and a beautiful, dream come true wedding day.
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