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Planning Tools: Budgeting

So small bit of news that I haven’t shared with the world yet… I will be interning/assisting at an award-winning Portland wedding planning company this upcoming season! If all goes well, it will lead to becoming a full-blown wedding planner with them. The reality that it’s finally happening is still incredibly surreal. My first wedding with them is this Friday… I cannot control my inner giddiness!

Our personal wedding planning is coming right along as well. I thought I would share some of my favorite tools that I have found in the process. Budgeting is one of the most important parts for us because we have little buffer of going over! I wanted to make sure that we divided our budget fairly among the different elements (photography, venue, attire) so we would avoid going WAY over in one category, leaving little funds left over for minor things, like, oh say FOOD.

I’m in the process of reading a great book by Meg Keene called A Practical Wedding. Make sure to check out her blog for great stories by real brides that will give you a serious reality check on the whole point of getting married… the marriage! She recommends sitting down with your partner to discuss what’s really important to you both about the wedding (like top 3), then write those down and put it somewhere that you can see it all the time. It’s important to listen to what your parents want too! Then don’t stress about the rest, or what everyone else says you have to have.

Next, we figured out how much we could save before the wedding (one of the biggest benefits of a long engagement!). We used Mint.com to set our budget, one of my favorite budgeting tools! We created a new goal, then inputted how much we could contribute every month to our “Wedding Fund”. This gave us a rough estimate of how much money would be saved by August 2013.

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We sat down with each of our parents to get a solid number of what they would feel comfortable contributing. So there’s no surprises on either end! Then we had our grand total that we could budget with.

My other favorite budgeting tool comes from Vertex42. The heavens opened when I found this site! This Excel spreadsheet has an average breakdown of how to divide your budget among each category. You can then adjust the percentages according to your personal needs (for example: my parents are generously letting us use their timeshare for our honeymoon, which drastically cut our honeymoon budget). I also love their Guest List spreadsheet. I did a lot of research before deciding on this one. It may not be the prettiest, but it’s the most practical and easy to use! Plus, you can also change the fonts and colors to match your tastes. There are so many other awesome templates on Vertex42 for all walks of life, I highly recommend them all!

Keeping Your ‘Maids in Mind

As I am crunching numbers for our budget, I can’t help but consider the burden of cost that our wedding will have on our close friends and family. Most of my friends and family are out of town, so I have to accept that some will be unable to make it simply due to the cost of a plane ticket from the East Coast (not cheap!). So we are doing everything we can to find ways to lessen the burden on our guests, like finding a venue with cheap hotel rooms, and that is close to the airport potentially eliminating the need for a rental car.

I found this great infographic by Mint that breaks down the average costs of being a bridesmaid (more on why Mint is a lifesaver coming soon). While some costs are completely unnecessary, there are many things on there that I hadn’t even considered yet! Pitching in by giving your bridesmaids their jewelry or mani/pedi as part of their wedding gift is a great gesture to show that you are mindful of their budget and really appreciate their support. This info will be helpful to me on how to keep costs down for my amazing friends!