B U D G E T ….. When most people hear this word, they most often cringe. I’m here to change that! I want my couples to feel confident in their investments. You heard that right- I N V E S T M E N T S! Budget is not the swear word we deem it to be, but a guide to executing your visions responsibly without the accompaniment of that terrible word, STRESS. So HOW do you determine a budget effectively and stick to it? I’ve got you covered on the necessary steps to take and as always, some insider tips!
First things first! Any guesses? Venue shopping? Dress shopping? Secure the photographers of your dreams? Although these ventures are exciting and needed, we’re jumping the gun a bit. Before you begin making phone calls, sit down for a Budget meeting. Yikes! How does that look? I’m telling you!
1. Sit down as a couple and make decisions on the amount of money you can comfortably afford to spend on your Wedding. Whether those funds come from savings, pay checks etc is up to you. If the number you come up with stresses you out, it’s too much.
2. Schedule a time to sit down with each set of parents and any other loved ones who may be contributing funds. In most cases, it’s respectful to have these conversations in a private setting where parties feel comfortable to speak openly. Finances can be a sensitive subject and being respectful of that will make these conversations easier.
3. Refrain from having big group conversations involving multiple households and bank accounts for 2 reasons-
a. Sensitivity to the subject as I mentioned earlier.
b. Too many opinions in one room. Details will need to be discussed, however not before your budget is finalized.
4. If in person meetings aren’t possible, schedule a time to chat on the phone, facetime, skype etc. Give the person you need to meet with a heads up on what the conversation will entail AND allow them some time to gather the information needed to make decisions on what they can afford and contribute.
5. How do contributing parties want to disperse the funds they committed to? Are they giving cash? Do they prefer to pay with their credit card? Knowing this information ahead of time will allow you to have your budget organized when solidifying your vendors.
Now that you have your budget finalized, the FUN begins, right? We aren’t quite there YET, but you’re getting closer! I promise. You have a total! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back because the hardest part of budgeting is officially checked off. Now you need to determine your Contingency. Contingencies allow you to have a small cushion and keep you from pushing your budget too far. I recommend using 10%-15% of your total budget as your Contingency Fund. For example, if your budget is $60K, you would reserve $6000-$9000 as your Contingency fund. Use a percentage you’re comfortable with.
One more task! Determine how you will keep wedding finances separate from your personal and family finances. If you’re primarily using cash, opening a separate banking account and depositing your wedding fund may be what makes the most sense to you. Determine a system that works for you as a couple.
NOW you’re ready! Where do you start? Next week I’ll be diving into HOW to spend effectively, how to delegate funds in a practical way, and how taking these important steps can help give you that dream wedding you’ve always wanted.
In the meantime, best of luck with your budget meetings! You’ve got this!