The number one issue that many couples fight about is money. Tension around money does not necessarily start after the couple has been married for a few years. There is a great deal of stress that goes with planning a beautiful wedding, and money issues can really add to this tension. It is very important to begin a wedding planning budget right at the start of your wedding plans. It is also equally important that a couple stick to this budget. Failure to do so can result in added stress for years to come.

Planning a wedding without a budget can land you into some serious financial debt. Although a wedding budget does not sound like a glamorous thing, it doesn't have to be a bad thing at all. So what is the key to planning a successful budget? As it will be throughout your marriage ... honesty, openness and two-way communication are an absolute must.

Newly-engaged couples must discuss how each envisions their special day. It is a wrong assumption for the bride to think that the groom-to-be does not care about the details. It is, after all, the man's special day as well, and he does have a family to please also.



Getting Started
After the excitement of being engaged wears off, both the bride and groom need to find a quiet place where they can discuss what is important to each other in regards to the wedding day. You not only want to talk to your partner about the wedding plans, but you also want to listen to what they have to say. First make a list of the absolute essentials such as: a caterer, photography, and wedding rings. Then create a list of the extra things that you both want such as: arriving in a limo or horse-drawn carriage, a prime-rib or lobster dinner, a wedding on the beach, flower arrangements and other wants. This information will be useful in helping you create your budget.

Assessing Your Finances
After you have finalized the list of important items, you will now need to do some number crunching. Determining your current financial situation is a very important necessity in helping to create your budget and can be broken down into these important steps:
  • Determine how much you will have to commit to saving from your regular income streams.
  • Assess how much money you currently have access to from various areas such as: stocks/bonds, real estate, trust funds or saving accounts.
  • Determine if you can expect income from other streams such as friends and family.
  • If you're wedding date is set to occur many months from now then you might want to consider opening a high-interest bearing bank account to get a little extra income.
If you will be getting extra finances from other members of your family, then it is important to not make unrealistic demands on what they will be offering you. Keep an open mind and take whatever others are willing to kindly offer you. It is important to not dwell on how much or little they will be contributing to your wedding. Disappointment and anger can only lead to additional stress that you don't need.

Make A List
Once you have a better understanding of where your finances are coming from, you will then be able to see how much you can allocate to various costs. You now need to make another list of all the wedding related expenses and place a percentage or dollar amount as to how much you are willing to spend for each item. Some of your expenses may include:
  • Wedding Dress ($2000)
  • Honeymoon ($2000)
  • Wedding Favors ($2000)
  • Wedding Reception ($8000)
  • Tuxedos ($1000)
  • Wedding Invitations ($500)
  • Wedding Cake ($900)
  • Wedding Music ($800)
  • Wedding Flowers ($900)
  • Wedding Photography ($600)
  • Wedding Decorations ($500)
  • Bridesmaids Dresses ($1000)
Laying out each individual item will aid you when it comes time to contracting out various services. You must be aware that if you should exceed you budgeted amount in one category, then you will need to cut back on costs from another item in order to keep the budget in balance.
Finally, to help simplify a number of wedding budget planning tasks, you may want to consider using a wedding budget worksheet, software and the many other automated tools that are available online.

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