It’s one thing to set a wedding budget, but it’s another thing completely to STICK TO IT! Setting the budget is actually the easy part… and I make it even easier in my new book, where I share how to look at your personal finances and monthly expenses to calculate the perfect number for you.
Sticking to Your Wedding Budget
1. Identify your core values and priorities
Step 1 of wedding planning is to identify your priorities and your core values for life. Then you will use these principles to guide your decisions (especially when it comes to spending.) This is actually the first chapter in my book, all about defining the vision you have for your day. Your vision should be based on you and your partner's shared values and priorities for your lives, and as an extension, your wedding day.
2. Get organized
When planning a wedding, it’s important to get yourself organized from the start. Whether that’s by purchasing a wedding planner, starting a spreadsheet, a Google Drive, keeping all the receipts, whatever. Find a system that works for you and make sure to keep track of EVERYTHING so you really know where you stand financially. Record every penny so you know what you've spent and what you have left to work with.
3. Determine Your Maximum Spend
Be clear about how much you’re willing to spend, and where the money will come from. You obviously have to set a budget if you're going to stick to it, but it's important to get specific about the max you'll allow yourself to put towards your big day. Make a plan, and come up with a firm figure that you are not willing to go beyond, even if you technically could afford to spend more. It may help for you to examine your other financial goals in order to refocus your mind. When you realize that the extra $1000 is taking away from your first home downpayment, you may think twice before splurging on a DJ and find a DIY alternative instead.
4. Be Flexible With How You Allocate Your Funds
Be willing to make necessary cuts and adjustments if you overspend in certain areas. It takes discipline, but if you’re committed to not overspending, it’s sometimes what it takes! If you spend less than you budgeted for in a certain area, feel free to reallocate those funds toward another area of the wedding. If you spend more than you planned for, know that you might have the adjust and reduce your budget in other areas to accommodate those expenses. For example, if you fall for a photographer's work that's a bit over the price you'd planned for, you may have to deduct from your dress or cake fund to compensate. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend placing a bigger emphasis on line items that impact your guests' experience, rather than something that only benefits yourself.
5. Protect yourself from Wedding Inspiration Overload
Protect yourself from Wedding Inspiration Overload. Ignore the “must-haves.” Avoid peer pressure or falling into the comparison trap based on what other friends or family have done. Another pro tip: blacklist Pinterest after a certain point in the planning process to save your sanity. Your partner and your wallet will thank you! You don't want to give yourself any extra temptation to take on another craft or expense when you're getting down to the wire. These little additions can add up quickly, so use your best judgment and try not to get caught up in the details that won't actually matter in the long run.