As a wedding planner, I meet with couples in all different stages of their planning process — couples who just got engaged and haven’t done anything at all to couples who have figured out some of the major details but need a little help to keep things on track. Regardless where you are in the process, there’s one thing you should do before you spend a penny (or before you spend another penny, for those of you who haven’t done it yet) — figure out your budget.
Now, I know talking about budgets is not fun. If you are one of the lucky few who has an unlimited budget for your wedding, you can feel free to completely ignore this post. That’s right, Kim Kardashian… move along. No need to read this. (I suppose Kim K. is not the best example, since her multi-million dollar wedding is now ending in a big, fat divorce, but you get the idea). For everyone else that doesn’t have the E! network financing their nuptials, it’s super important to not just determine your overall budget, but to break that figure out into smaller segments before you start signing contracts and putting down deposits.
One of the easiest ways to blow your wedding budget is to overspend in one category early on (for example, booking a venue that takes up too much of your overall budget) and not leave enough in your photography budget to afford a photographer you like or enough in your cake budget to get a groom’s cake shaped like the Stanley Cup that your man has always wanted. Keeping to a wedding budget (or any budget, really) is one big juggling act — if you want to spend more in one area, you have to spend less in another. That’s all fine and good if you have some kind of guideline for your spending by category to start with.
So, before you commit to anything (except for your future spouse, of course), plan out your wedding budget. And if it’s too daunting or time consuming, hire a wedding consultant to do it for you. Having your wedding budget in order in the beginning can save you a ton of hassle (and money) down the road.