Let’s face it, having the budget conversation with your fiancé is going to be a lot less fun than, say, dress shopping, but it’s just as important (really!)  Weddings are expensive.  Everything costs more than you imagine and it adds up fast.  Deciding what you can realistically afford should be one of the very first things you do after the ring is on your finger.  Here are a few tips for setting your budget and sticking to it.

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  1.  Sit down with your fiancé and everyone else who may be contributing financially to the wedding and have an honest discussion about the bottom line.  Figure out what each party can afford to contribute and calculate your maximum budget.  This is also a time to go back over your list of priorities and share them with your family.  No matter what you can afford, plan to spend on the things that matter the most to you.
  2. When it comes to sticking to a budget, it’s all about the guest list.  This may sound obvious, but the more people you invite, the more your wedding is going to cost.  The largest chunk of your wedding dollars will go toward the venue, food and drink (about 40%) and your catering costs will be calculated per person.  If you want a foodie paradise feast in a jaw-dropping location, you may want to consider a small, intimate wedding in order to make your budget fit your dreams.  If you have always dreamed of a huge celebration, you might consider a brunch wedding or a cocktail reception to keep your large guest list on a limited budget.  More guests don’t just equal more food, they also equate to more rentals (tables, linens, etc), more tables to decorate, more invitations and postage, more wait staff and a bigger space to hold them. 
  3. A few tips for a limited budget; consider getting married on a weekday or a Sunday morning.  You can often save on the venue rental if you choose a less popular day.  When it comes to location, look into museums and restaurants for the reception.  In addition to already being attractive and partially decorated, they often have lower fees than your typical hotel ballroom.  Restaurants work well for smaller groups, as do private homes.  Do you have a friend or relative with a gorgeous home and a lovely yard?  Some of my favorite weddings have been at private homes, they have a great, relaxed vibe and special meaning to you.  Don’t have the space?  Look into renting a private home (be sure to research the rules ahead of time to make sure they allow events.) 
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Next week I’ll go over some of my favorite tips for gathering inspiration and how to conquer Pinterest!