Friday, October 1, 2010

First things first

Before beginning, plan carefully. 

One of the most common errors made by brides is not starting to plan early. I advise at the minimum six (6) months of planning for a wedding so that your choice of vendors and other things will not be rushed or managed but exactly what you want. Early planning also enables you to save costs because you are not in a rush to commit to any vendor you can shop around for quality at a pocket friendly price. 

The first thing to do is to set the date. This usually involved the parents of both the bride and groom. The date is necessary to book the hall and set timelines to do all that needs to be done. The next and the most forgotten thing is to set a "detailed" budget. Note the emphasis on the word detailed. A budget is not just saying off the top of your head "I want to spend =N= x on my wedding, nothing more nothing less". A little bit of research has to go into setting your budget so that you have a realistic estimate of current prices. No item is too small to be included in it i.e. hair accessories, bouquet, lingerie e.t.c. 

Then the couple need to sit down with their families to determine how much support they will be getting from them and how much both the bride and groom are willing to contribute. Follow the blog and you will see the traditional contribution patterns to give you an idea of who pays for what.

The next thing is to decide on a realistic wedding style and size. Note that the bigger and more elaborate, the higher the cost. Compare this with available funds and find the most cost-effective alternatives available. In this part of the world, its not so easy to limit the number of your guests except you have both parents' consent on the matter. The more the guests, the costlier so all parties should agree upfront and whoever is inviting more guests should contribute more.

Based on the amounts that have been agreed to be contributed by both parents and the couple, the next thing is to divide the total amount among the various wedding parts. For example, how much do you budget for the dress, the reception hall, flowers, invitations and the honeymoon? Like i said earlier, do not just come up with figures off the top of your head. Do some research and estimate the costs. Also, your apportioning of available cash should be based on priority. Every aspect of the wedding is important but some are more important than others. For example, you might decide to buy expensive rings and rent your wedding gown. It all depends on what you place the most value on and what will make that day special for you. Play with the numbers until everything balances with how much you have to spend. Compromise is the key word here as you'll both have different ideas of what is important to you. Your ability as a couple to survive this exercise will go a long way in helping you make financial decisions in the future.

Once you have both decided on something, stick with it. Take your budget with you when you go shopping. Don't keep altering it. I suggest keeping an excel spreadsheet where u can track the budgeted amount and the actual so that you'll know if and when you're overdoing it so that you can get back on track.

Worthy of note is the fact that a budget can never be actual. It will always amount to more or less. Allow flexibility but avoid splurging. Remember the marriage comes after the wedding and that's the most important thing.

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