Thursday, March 3, 2011

Step 6 - Determine a Wedding Budget

(9 Months to 24 Months Before the Wedding)
Every family has their own budget situation, but you can surely count on your loved ones and close friends will try to do their best to help you out to plan for your big day!

The average price for a wedding these days is a little above $30,000 and after you include the costs associated with the engagement ring, the honeymoon, engagement, and bridal shower the whole wedding process, the costs may end up being near $40,000.

Some families even will spend over $100,000 but it is even possible to have a wedding costing around $1,000 with a backyard wedding and everyone pitching in to cater food for the event.  Inexpensive weddings can be had with a lower guest list, less expensive entrees, having the wedding at one's or a relative's home, lakeside, riverbank, or in a park in the woods, or an open field.  If you are poor and really want to get married, a picnic style wedding can still make your wedding a grand event with a little ingenuity.

For some families, pulling funds together for a wedding is easy and for some families is really hard.  The important thing is to go step by step and often you will find resources come together.  The important thing is try as much as possible not to force a beloved one to overextend their wallet too much.  After the wedding day and honeymoon are history, marriage expenses continue with the purchase of a house, buying furniture for the house, getting drapes and carpeting, buying silverware, dishes, and glasses, buying kitchen appliances, and towels, and maybe even an automobile.  You may find you need more help from family to get you started in your new life.

Before you begin with the budget process, the engaged couple should try to figure out how many guests are they targeting for the wedding.  First, make a list determining the number of bride's family members that should be invited, next, determine the number of groom's family members should be invited, then, how many of the bride's friends should be invited, and then, how many of the groom's friends should be invited.  You should consider a few extra guest counts for wedding vendors and possibly adding a few extra for people you have not met yet like people that you work with or new friends you make at bridal activities.  You then take your guest headcount and you multiply that by $130.  You would up the $130 for a little more extravagant wedding and a little less for a wedding with a little less flair.  The amount you come up with is the target you need to shoot for in pulling resources together.

Tradition states, it's the bride's family usually covers the cost of the wedding.  The groom's family usually covers the cost of the rehearsal dinner.  In pulling together resources, the first step is for the engaged couple to approach the bride's parents. (In some instances, the bride will choose to talk to her parent's and the engaged bride handles preparing the wedding herself, the groom is not much involved).  But today, more often both couple are involved in the wedding planning process.

After approaching the bride's parents, if the costs are short to pull together the wedding expenses, the next step is for the bride and groom to pull their own resources together, what savings do they have currently and how much can they save up to the wedding day.  If money is still short, next is for the couple to approach the groom's family and see if they can help in wedding costs.  Make sure the groom's parents are approached by the couple together.  If you are still short, next to see if any grandparent's can help, then aunts or uncles, then siblings, then close friends, and sometimes even the boss you work for come help out.

For the groom's parents, a rehearsal dinner generally runs about $30 - $40 a head and usually covers from two dozen to three dozen guests.  The bridal party and immediate family of both the bride and groom partake in the rehearsal dinner and generally held in a restaurant, or banquet facility.

If after you have gone the gamut of resources and find you are still short on covering the cost of the wedding you either need to cut the guest list down or find alternative resources.  You may need to look at your credit card situation and either get additional credit cards or get a higher line of credit on cards you have.  Make sure you tackle getting money early on, moving money from your card to a bank account.  The last resource is getting a loan, either your parent's getting a loan or you getting a loan.  This should be your last choice as you have to pay back interest on any loans you get.  Make sure you shop around for a lower interest rate on any loans you take out.

When you receive the money, the very first thing is you want to do as a couple is go to your bank and open a joint wedding account.  All monies associated with the wedding are paid through this account.  All checks written out to vendors come through this account.  Make sure receipts are collected from every vendor that you have a contract with and all expenses are tracked.  Communication with your spouse is paramount on all expenses unless all the wedding expenses are handled solely by the bride.

Somehow, the pulling together for the wedding seems to magically come together, it's going step by step to get things done.  So that is how to determine and pull together a wedding budget.  See you on the other side.

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