Everyone wants their wedding day to be special and magical. It is one of the top days of your entire life and you want it to be a day to remember. When you get engaged and start the planning process everything is so exciting and the options are almost endless. It's very easy to get carried away.
It is very important that the very first thing on your "to-do" list is make a budget. Once you start looking at flower catalogs and menu items it is easy to forget about the cost and start ordering everything that looks pretty or delicious. Without a very clear budget you can unknowingly start your married life with a huge debt hanging over your head.
It used to be that the bride's parents paid for the wedding but that is no longer the case. Couples are getting married at an older age so they have their own savings to draw upon. Most parents will still want to contribute in some way but thankfully the expenses are shared now. Debt is bad and you want to avoid it. Going in to debt at the kick off of your life together is not a good idea.
Yes, plan the most wonderful wedding you can imagine but please do it within your means.
Here are two simple suggestions to help ease the financial burden;
1. Don't have a free open bar at the reception. Your guests won't mind if you charge $1 or $2 per drink to help offset the cost. Once they understand that you're trying to keep your expenses under control they will have no problem bringing a few extra dollars with them.
2. Ask for money instead of gifts. Many couples already have a toaster, blender and serving dishes and the other necessities for running home. What they can always use more of is cash! It's not tacky or in bad taste to let your guests know you prefer cash. Your loved ones want to see you start on the right foot and if that means giving you $20 instead of buying you an appliance you don't really need they will be happy to do it.
Whatever methods you come up with please keep a close eye on your spending and stick to your budget. The most memorable parts of a wedding are the love, the laughs and the shared memories. Whether or not you have a 5-foot ice sculpture in the dining hall or a carriage pulled by zebras is not a important.