When it comes to planning a wedding, finances are first and foremost on the minds of many couples. As the costs associated with weddings continue to rise, the need for a budget only grows more apparent.

But how can a couple establish and stick to a budget? Doing so depends on each individual couple, how much they can spend and what they’re willing to sacrifice for their big day.

Establishing a Budget

Wedding budgets can vary greatly depending on the couple and the type of wedding they desire. A wedding budget should be established as far in advance as possible.

When setting the budget, it’s best to determine exactly how much you can spend, and then set the budget lower than that. For example, if the most you can afford is $25,000, set your budget at $22,000. This will allow you some wiggle room when the inevitable happens and you’re forced to go over budget.

Monitor Your Spending

Once a budget has been determined, a good way for couples to adhere to that budget is to establish a separate wedding spending account. This account should be separate from personal accounts, and all wedding expenses should be drawn solely from this wedding account. This is a good way to monitor how much you’re spending, and your monthly statement will provide an itemized list of how much is being deposited and spent.

Be Ready to Spend More

Regardless of how well you’ve planned the wedding, you’re going to end up spending more than your initial budget allowed. This happens for a number of reasons, ranging from overtime fees at the reception to tipping the vendors to larger guest lists than you might have originally intended.

Prepare for the inevitable overspending by cutting back on other expenses leading up to the big day. Rather than going out to dinner on weekends, make a homecooked meal to save some money. Instead of costly trips to a night club, invite friends over for the night. You’ll be surprised how much these subtle lifestyle changes can save you.

Stick to Your Guns

While you should be prepared to spend more, that extra spending should be saved for things such as tipping the staff and possibly paying more for an additional guest or two. Where couples should be budget-cautious is when vendors try to up-sell services. For example, while a top-shelf bar might be a nice gesture, it can be considerably more expensive than just offering beer at your reception, and letting your guests pay for liquor.

If a vendor tries to up-sell, couples should not hold that against the vendor. After all, that is the vendor’s job. Instead, prioritize what you want before you go visit any vendors. You’re much more likely to be happy with your selections.

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