The word budget is all too often associated with austerity, or suffering, or sacrifice. While it is indeed true that, yes, sometimes “budgets” happen as the result of prolonged careless spending, when properly applied, a budget can be both freeing and useful. Your wedding is a perfect place to use a well-prepared budget.
For the tech savvy, there are plenty of apps and software products available for budgeting. We aren’t going to discuss the actual mathematics. That’s what calculators are for. Suffice to say that, for purposes of this discussion, you have done your homework, and you have an idea of what you can afford. There. That’s your budget. Here’s how you use it.
Stick to it. If you put the time into making one, you might as well use it. Committing, with your partner, that you will stick to the budget is the second most important vow you are going to take. So much of the stress and strife of wedding planning revolves around money. That stress is only compounded by constant decisions about what you can “afford” and whether you should incur more debt. A budget solves that. The chocolate fountain is either in the budget, or it is not in the budget. And if the chocolate fountain is a “must have” then something else “must go”.
A firm budget can also help with the age-old issue of where to stop the guest list. It is always fascinating to see how much pressure gets heaped upon a couple about who will and who won’t be invited. Now the who might change, but the how many won’t if your budget is followed. Many arguments can be prevented by simply blaming the budget. This tends to work better if you shrug when you say it.
Another way a budget can be useful is to use it to find out what matters most to you. If you have more people, that may mean that dinner options have to change, whereas less people might mean a more gourmet affair. Or perhaps the less picturesque reception site allows for more beautiful flower arrangements and better entertainment. Using the amount you have previously budgeted, you can allocate those funds toward what is most important, and away from the less important things.
Finally, although sometimes frustrating to create and follow, committing to and following a budget will help relieve some of the stress and anxiety normally associated with wedding planning. It can help prevent impulse buys, or over extending your and your partner’s credit. Weddings can be very expensive and very complicated. There’s no need to let the finance