{Financially} Planning Your Big Day

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The Month of Thanks is here! And we are thankful for this wonderful post by this month’s Guest Blogger:

Stephanie Ferris!

Stephanie is coming all the way from Dallas with tips for your Big Day Budget! This budget savvy gal has some great advice – even if you aren’t planning a wedding we can all use financial tips! Especially with the holiday season approaching!

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It’s official—you’re engaged!

The day every girl dreams of is finally on your agenda, but first, the planning. Where do you even begin?! So many details, so little time.

Luckily, you’ve got a wealth of resources to utilize to make sure your wedding day is absolutely flawless. However, that doesn’t mean a budget should be the last thing on your to-do list. It’s so easy to get caught up in the details and lose track of the dollars when planning for any major event, especially something as important as your wedding day.

I recently discovered I’m a fairly logical shopper to the point where it can be annoying (to others and myself). Once I find something I really like, I must reason, pro-con the item, and scrutinize it completely before purchasing. If said item passes several rounds of evaluations, it’s mine. I believe my transformation into a logical shopper is a direct result of now working a full-time job and learning financial responsibility one paycheck at a time. I’ve taken my newfound respect for budgeting as motivation when developing a few tips for all you soon-to-be brides to consider! Take a look…

A few things any budget-conscious bride should consider:

  1. Remember- It’s only one day.

That’s right…it really is only one day. There, I said it. I said the statement I would dread to hear if I was the bride-to-be. Who wants to be reminded that the most perfect day is only one day? I know, sorry. I argue this point because 1) it’s the point less argued, and 2) you’ll thank me later.

Keeping in mind the fact that your wedding day is only one day of your entire life can help keep things (read: expenses) in perspective. Maybe instead of maxing the budget you and your family have agreed on, you could stay under budget and save the rest? Maybe you could use the rest of that money to go on an awesome 1st anniversary trip? To buy a new house? Maybe a new car? The possibilities are endless. Money not spent now can be money to save and spend later!

  1. Think about it…is this detail really worth splurging?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve gained a new perspective on things (things = finances). My new approach for my favorite hobby (shopping) is what I like to call—Save or Splurge? “Should I go the cheaper route and save on this so I can splurge later on something I really want?” These are thoughts streaming through my mind while on the prowl at NorthPark.

I’ve learned when saying “It’s worth it” is okay to validate a splurge and when being a little more economical is the way to go.

There are so many decisions to make regarding all the details of a wedding, yet only so much money available to spend. Taking the time to consider the areas to narrow down expenses will allow for more room to splurge on your must-haves for the big day. For example, narrowing down the guest list can be a tremendous cost-saver; you can use the money saved to splurge for the band you were dying to have instead of a DJ. Believe it or not, a destination wedding is a great way to actually stay within the budget by allowing you to create a memorable experience while sparing the expenses of a huge wedding with an overloaded guest list. And, lastly, another way to lessen expenses would be to have the ceremony and reception all at one location. By doing this, you leave room in the budget to splurge on other details…maybe those floral arrangements you just can’t live without can go from being a dream to a reality! Prioritizing your spending will allow you to maximize your budget for the things that matter most to you for your big day.

  1. Go ahead, pick your “Top 3”.

Top 3 MUST-HAVES for your wedding…what are they? Write them down. Tell your parents, your fiancé, your bridesmaids, the lady next to you at Target…everyone! Make it known. You’re more likely to stick to the Top 3 method if everyone knows those are nonnegotiable. If you make your top 3 but don’t share them (and if you’re anything like me), you’ll probably end up with the Top 10 must-haves…and then, we’ve gotten nowhere.

For the details that aren’t identified in your Top 3, there’s your chance to fully leverage the ability to save on those expenses. By sparing expenses for details not in your Top 3, you’re allowing yourself to splurge for your Top 3 if necessary.

Truly evaluate what the three most important things for your special day would be—include your fiancé in this one, too! Nothing, no matter how extravagant or how simple, will change the specialness of this day. As long as you don’t lose sight of the real significance of this day, the details are just the icing on top.

  1. Do not compare.

I saved the best tip for last. Don’t compare. Ever. Anything, really…but especially this!

Allow your time to be extraordinary. What your friends have done, what you’ve seen on Pinterest, or what you see on TLC should not be used as a standard to measure your own wedding festivities. Don’t feel like you have to max out the budget in order to have the best wedding among your friends and acquaintances. It isn’t a competition. If you plan your wedding trying to beat the competition, you’ll likely end up spending a lot more money for a lot of details that have very little meaning to you in the grand scheme of things. Make your time unique, and most importantly, make it about just the two of you. Budget your finances for the things you want at your wedding to ensure it’s perfect for you.

Coco Chanel said it best, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

Congratulations to you and your future hubby! Now, go forth and spend responsibly.

-Stephanie Ferris


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