Why Set Wedding Planning Priorities?

A couple reviews financial statements at home.

Unless you're a billionaire or a member of a royal family, your wedding budget probably isn't unlimited -- and that means smart spending priorities are key to a successful matrimonial experience. Those who take the time to carefully draw up a comprehensive, itemized budget -- then rank each expense in terms of priority -- will have the best odds of heading off to the honeymoon with minimal financial stress.

Let's take a deeper look at how to create a prioritized wedding budget.

How To Identify Priorities

Let's face it: Creating a wedding budget isn't a romantic activity. It's an essential one, however -- and the key when creating a master budget for wedding expenses is to be realistic in your expectations.

That's not always easy to do -- if there's ever an event where it's natural for us to get carried away, a wedding is probably it. It's a huge milestone, a major life transition and the realization of a dream, for many people.

Given the momentous nature of the occasion, it's easy to fall into the trap of spending without discretion.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you draw up a smart, realistic and well-prioritized budget:

  • Make an accurate assessment of all wedding costs. Account for everything -- tips for vendors, dress alterations, postage stamps, etc. It's easy to overlook the smaller stuff, but it adds up quickly.
  • Identify which wedding elements are most important to you -- things such as venue, food, bar service, entertainment, etc. Write them down and rank them all in order of priority.
  • Make sure your partner's priorities are in harmony with your own. Be open to compromise.
  • Allocate a percentage of your budget to each priority. You'll need to have a working estimate of how much each aspect of your wedding will cost.
  • If your budget is stretched, work from the bottom of your list to save money by eliminating lower priority items.
  • Don't be afraid to make adjustments. Your budget should be a fluid rather than fixed document. In the year or so it can take to plan a wedding, costs can fluctuate significantly.
  • Think about what matters to you. In five or ten years, nobody will remember that the flower arrangement wasn't perfect or the bar selection was limited. Even the most meticulously planned weddings are going to have imperfections. Focus on the bigger picture and don't allow a few unexpected issues to dampen your spirit.

The Takeaway

A smart, prioritized wedding budget is a vitally important part of pre-matrimonial planning. Please consider the tips discussed above when you're getting ready to plan for your union.