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Photo from Jennifer Chase Photography.

You’re newly engaged. The excitement of your impending nuptials is contagious. Visions of flowers, tulle and taffeta dance in your head. Then you comprehend how much those flowers, tulle and taffeta are going to cost and you begin freaking out.

Stop freaking and start budgeting, stat! Sticking to a wedding budget is difficult, but not impossible. You have to start with a few basics:

  1. How much money do you have? Before you pin even one single picture to Pinterest, take a good, hard, honest look at your total savings and current salaries. Do NOT blow your entire savings on a wedding, even if you’ve dreamed of nothing but Vera and the Ritz.
  2. Who are you expecting money from? Figure out who is going to help foot the bill. Every family is different, so don’t assume anything when it comes to money. All brides would like to think mom and dad have been saving every penny since she was born for their daughter’s eventual walk down the aisle, but this is completely unrealistic. If you are expected money from your parents, ask them if they are able to contribute and, if so, how much. It will be awkward, weird and potentially uncomfortable but it must be done. If your betrothed thinks his parents would like to assist with the wedding funds, let him have a conversation with his parents. This is not your place and you should not expect it.
  3. How much do you really want to spend on a wedding? Once you know how much you can spend and how much your family is able to contribute, it is time to decide what you want to spend. Look at your money as a lump sum. What can this lump sum buy? A honeymoon to Tahiti? A down payment on a dream home? An Amsale gown? Make a decision about what is most important for YOUR wedding experience and prioritize accordingly.

These three questions will help any bride better understand what she wants and how it compares to what she can actually afford. Once a budget is in place, it is much easier to make responsible and realistic decisions, making the entire wedding planning process less stressful.

After the budget is settled, there are tons of ways to prioritize, cut costs, stretch investments and DIY your way to wedding perfection!

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