Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. But this event can be pretty expensive, especially if you're not paying detailed attention to your budget. Creating a budget checklist for your wedding will help you complete all the tasks before your wedding day in a timely manner -- without putting a huge dent in your finances.
The Wedding Ceremony
First, you'll need to decide where you're going to have the wedding and how much it will cost. In most cases, if you or your spouse-to-be arranges to hold the ceremony at the church, temple or synagogue where one or both of you attend, you'll save a considerable about of money. The musicians who play at these houses of worship may also be more likely to render their services at your wedding for a low fee. An outdoor wedding may prove to be more affordable than in indoor ceremony, so take this into consideration -- depending on the season in which your wedding will take place and how fond you and your fiance are of nature. In addition to paying a fee for the wedding site, you'll also need to allot funds in your budget for paying the officiant. Other small items that you'll need for the wedding location, such as the guest book and book pen holder, the ring bearer pillow, and the baskets that the flower girls will hold, should be in the wedding ceremony budget as well.
Next, you'll need to think about what you, your spouse and your wedding party will wear to your nuptials. In most cases, the bride's dress will be the most expensive piece of wedding clothing purchased. The groom's suit or tuxedo must be included in the wedding attire section of the budget, as well as dresses or suits for the ring bearers or flower girls. Depending on how large your wedding party is, you and your future spouse can also put money aside to pay for the dresses and suits that your bridesmaids and groomsmen will wear. If possible, you may want to purchase your parents' attire as well.
Flowers and Decorations
The decor for your wedding day, which will likely include flowers, can take up a significant part of your budget. Items like flowers, arches, and tablecloths should be factored into the celebration budget, along with any table centerpieces you want to use at the reception. Aisle runners and ribbon or flower embellishments for the ends of the pews or rows of chairs may be part of your budget as well. Flowers will include the bouquet you'll carry (unless you want to carry a single flower or no bouquet at all), as well as the bouquets your bridesmaids will carry and the flowers or flower petals that will go in your flower girl's basket.
Reception and Food
The food can take a toll on your wedding budget as well. But, just as there are ways to get around paying thousands of dollars for a wedding dress, you can cut corners in the food and refreshment section of your wedding budget without disappointing your guests. For example, if the wedding is in the late morning or early afternoon, you can have appetizers and fresh fruits and vegetables at the reception instead of a full-course meal. Or, you can arrange for the reception to be family-style or buffet-style so you won't have to pay servers to work at the event. Of course, the wedding cake will likely be the most expensive item in your wedding food budget. You can either save up to get the cake you really want and spend less money on the reception fare, or you can order a smaller cake as more of an edible souvenir and serve your guests cupcakes or an array of festive desserts in lieu of a traditional wedding cake.
You'll also need to consider the entertainment at the reception. This means you'll need to pay a deejay, an emcee, or a live band to perform at your reception. Valet services or parking fees should be considered as well.
Lastly, try to set aside some money in the wedding budget to present your loved ones with gifts. For example, buy a small gift for each of your bridesmaids and groomsmen to thank them for taking part in your special day. Kid-friendly gifts for your flower girl and ring bearer are fitting as well. A token of love for your parents would be appropriate -- especially if they have paid for most of the wedding's expenses.
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