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How To Determine Your Wedding Budget

You are probably extremely excited to start to plan your wedding, the day that you have been dreaming about your entire life. Before you know what you can afford, you need to determine a wedding budget. Your first question may be "How do I do that?"

Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for most of the wedding. In the modern-day and age, people are marrying when they are more financially stable and will opt to pay for their own wedding. Although this is true, the couple may still need some assistance. There are a few different sources that you may receive money for your big day. These sources include:

* Savings Accounts * Couples Parents * Friends or Close Relatives * Credit Cards * Bank Loans

1. Savings Accounts

Your savings accounts should be your first source of payment. Some people will be able to pay for their wedding solely based on this. (Stay tuned for my blog featuring weddings that cost less than $10,000).

You may want to set up a "wedding checking account" as soon as you get engaged and continually put money from each paycheck into it. This way, you know exactly how much money you can and are willing to pay. This will also assist in keeping track of your budget.

I also want to add that your savings account does not mean your tax-deferred retirement savings plans (your 401(k)). Your one day should not put a dent in your retirement happiness. The money that you take from your 401(k) will be taxed and this can actually cost you more money.

2. Couples Parents

For many couple, asking for assistance from their parents is a necessity. Asking them for money is a common occurrence but I believe that there should be some guidelines.

First of all, if you know that you do not have enough money in your savings to pay for your entire wedding early on, ask for assistance as soon as you can. Knowing how much your budget is will be critical in every aspect of your event. This also gives your parents a warning so that they can sort out their own finances.

You will also want to speak to each family separately. The bride should speak to her parents and the groom should speak to his. If the bride and groom go together to each set of parents, it may feel more like a confrontation. The parents may feel obligated to give more money than they would like. Of course, this will change depending on how close everyone is with each other.

When asking your parents for money for your wedding, you will want them be specific on what or how much they want to give you. Ask them for either a specific dollar amount or ask them to pay for a specific service such as the photography. Explain to them that the specific dollar amount is crucial to the wedding budget and planning the entire wedding. If your parents opt to pay for a specific service or services, come prepared with an outline of the estimated costs that your wedding planner can provide.

If your parents do offer you some assistance in paying for your wedding, you will want to include them in the budgeting process. It is only polite to share with them how you used the money that they offered to you.

Last but not least, you want to show them how much they have helped. A genuine thank you card with a hand-written note is always greatly appreciated.

Before accepting any money from your parents, you want to make sure that they know any conditions. For example, some parents may say "I would love to pay for your flowers." But flowers actually mean roses and you want calla lilies. You do not want to end up with a wedding that is not your own.

3. Credit Cards and Loans

Depending on how "good" you are at paying back loans and credit card bills, this could be a great way to pay for your wedding. You may get a credit card that rewards air miles and use these air miles on your honeymoon. A loan can also be taken out. You should only do this if you have a secure job and a set income. Many financial advisors will tell you not to take out more than you can pay back in one year. You do not want to start a new chapter in your life with a lot of debt.