What You Need to Know Before You Start Planning A Wedding

wedding figures stood on top of coins
(Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

When it comes to planning a wedding, there are many moving parts. There are vendors to be hired, colors to be chosen, menus to be selected, guests to be invited, venues to be booked; the list goes on and on. There is one piece of information that you must know before you begin to plan a single thing for your big day, and that is your wedding budget.

Your Wedding Budget

Unless you're Kim Kardashian, chances are you will have some sort of budget you want to stick to for your wedding day. Perhaps that dollar amount is based upon you and your soon-to-be spouse's personal savings or what you'll be able to save over the course of your engagement.

Before you book a single vendor, you must figure out your wedding budget. It's imperative to staying on budget to know what you have to work with before you start allocating funds to different areas of the wedding.

Setting Your Wedding Budget

In order to set your wedding budget, you'll need to consider several factors:

  1. How long will your engagement be? (This doesn't mean you have to set an exact date right away)
  2. Do you or your fiancé/fiancée have any money currently saved that can be put towards wedding expenses?
  3. Will your families be contributing to the wedding funds? If so, how much?
  4. If your families are contributing, will they be giving you a lump sum all at once, or contributing over the course of the engagement?

Having The Wedding Budget Talk

It would be wise to sit down with each of your families to discuss these matters as soon as possible prior to beginning your wedding plans. Choose a time that is convenient for your family and let them know that you need to discuss wedding plans with them.

Having financial conversations with your loved ones can be awkward, but it is essential to keeping everyone on the same page about the plans. If your family does plan to contribute towards your wedding funds, be sure to ask for specific figures and a timeline for when you should expect to receive the funds. You want to make sure you don't have a cash flow problem when it comes to paying vendors or deposits on time, so getting this information from any contributing parties is crucial.

What to Do Once You've Set Your Wedding Budget

Once you've had the talk and come up with a total budget, your next step should be discussing your wedding priorities. Decide on a top three items that are most important to you in terms of your big day and compare your list with your future spouse. From there, you can see if you have overlap and choose to allocate funds appropriately based on your priorities and vision for your day.

Use a wedding budget worksheet to figure out the amounts you should spend on each area of your day based on the standard percentages. Be sure to set aside a section of your budget as a cushion or buffer in case of unexpected expenses like delivery fees, surcharges, taxes or gratuity.