The Wedding Budget: Keeping things in perspective

Your bride may want a Cinderella wedding, but unless you’ve got Prince Charming’s gold card, you’ll have to keep your special day on a strict budget.

Avoid going into debt for your wedding.
You want to build a foundation for your future, not dig a financial pit for you to crawl out of. If you can’t enjoy the fantasy wedding of your bride’s dreams on your current cash flow, go low key today. Then plan a blockbuster five year or ten-year anniversary bash that you can save money for.

Set a ceiling, and live by it.
Without proper planning, a wedding budget can explode to the size of a Hollywood movie shoot. Negotiate exactly how much you can afford to spend on the wedding and decide who will contribute how much. Set up a separate bank account to keep everybody honest.

Set aside ten percent.
Keep a tenth of your wedding budget in a safe place to cover emergencies and unexpected cost overruns. You don’t want to have to scramble for cash if you suddenly have to bail your best man out of the county lockup.

Balance your guests with your goodies.
Figure out how much you can afford to spend per guest. If you want something more lavish, you’ll have to make some tough cuts.

Off-peak works for weddings, too.
You can enjoy the same lush wedding on a Friday night for half the price of a Saturday afternoon ceremony. You’ll also enjoy a better selection of venues and caterers, who’ll give you better rates on those slower days.

Whose wedding is it anyway?
Throughout your planning process, remember to create a day that you and your bride will love forever. Keep pushy relatives and demanding friends from writing checks you can’t cash for elements that mean nothing to you.

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