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Monday, September 19, 2011

Budgeting So You Don't Break The Bank

The one part of wedding planning no one wants to address is the 'B' word--Budgeting.  No one wants to deal with it.  It's not the 'fun' part of wedding planning.  In fact it is probably the most stressful issue you'll have to address because it will impact every other decision you make while planning your wedding.  Even a DIY bride needs to know how much money she has to spend and where she's spending it.  Today this isn't just a issue for brides to address--grooms you're in it too.  This is the beginning of 'for better or for worse.'  Surviving planning a wedding budget is a true test of your compatibility as a couple. 

What is the best way to plan your budget?  The web is full of easy to use budgeting tools (so you have no excuses) so check out the major wedding sites and choose the one that's easiest for you to use.  There are also plenty of books on wedding planning at any major book store or Some will be overly elaborate if you're planning a simple at home wedding, others won't be elaborate enough for a week long 'event' -- each bride and groom needs to evaluate the budgeting tools and find a good 'fit.'

A budget is only as good as the data you put into it.  Start with how much money you want to spend, plan to spend a couple thousand less and you'll probably won't go too far over the top of your budget.  If you find you are, cut, cut, cut!  And don't forget those nasty little things like taxes and gratuities--they add up fast and you don't want to get a nasty surprise at the last minute!

If you live near a state (like I do) where there's no sales tax, seriously consider having your reception there.  In my case it would take 6% right off the top of what my costs will be--that's a nice savings you can apply to another item in your budget. 

Another good saving tip, see if you can buy your own liquor and buy from a vendor who will let you return any unopened bottles.  It's worth the savings to spend a few hours picking it up and returning the unused bottles.  Or better yet, plan a wedding without alcohol at all -- yeah I know, you think your friends and family will complain, but it's a wedding not a frat party. 

Have you ever considered bartering? A few days ago I saw a caterer willing to barter for someone who knew how to do some relatively simple household repairs, so if you're handy that way be sure to check sites that have bartering posts. 

Are there more ways to save money? Sure, but that would take a book--wait, there's an idea, maybe I'll write one!  I'll keep you posted!

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