Planning Ahead
By:Andrea Winters


Planning Ahead: Don't Spend A Thing Until You Do These Four Things

When you get engaged, the first thing that you may want to do is start planning the wedding. Browsing Pinterest and picking up items is what most couples do first. Both lead to a growing list of ideas to incorporate into your wedding. But the cost of checking every item off that list can add up! Take a solemn vow not to spend until you have completed four key steps. As excited as you are, running out there and buying, buying, buying won’t work. You might end up with impulsive purchases that don't mesh with your look or your budget. So agree to save purchases until you have done the following:

1. Create a Wedding Budget 2. Determine Colors and a Theme 3. Secure your Venue and Date 4. Create a Tentative Guest List

Create a Wedding Budget:

Many couples have never had a money talk together. A wedding can be a great time to create a tempo for how these discussions will go in your future lives together. Start by writing down what you feel you can reasonably spend given your income, anticipated family contribution if any, and/or access to spendable money or loans. Exchange papers with your partner. Do they match? If they don't, don't get upset. Laugh! This is why you have this talk. You don't want to start your lives together without being in agreement on your first major purchase. You are a team.

Determine Colors and a Theme:

Zero purchases before deciding your colors, theme and date. The time of year can determine your theme expenditures. You also don't want to buy 150 purple napkins if you later decide your colors are champagne cause a new image appeared on Pinterest. It helps if you have a clear vision before running out into the world buying gorgeous wedding decor. Your theme might include an outdoor setting in the heat of summer... shade... tents.... expensive... Be sure to think your theme and decor through before starting on the shopping.


Secure your Venue and Date:

Your venue will dictate much of your wedding purchases. Does the venue provide chairs, standard linens, inside or outside catering, tents, lighting, etc…? Without knowing the venue, your purchases may be in vain, or you may spend money for decor that you will later need to pay the venue. Your venue and catering will be your biggest expenditure. Prioritizing your budget and paying these required, larger expenses first will help keep you on track.

The size of your guest list will dictate your budget more than any other factor. Determine if this is ‘an anyone and everyone’ kind of event, or are you keeping things more intimate and immediate. If you are going for the event of the season where everyone must attend plan on spending more on your wedding and possibly sacrificing in some areas. Sometimes you need to calculate the guest count that you can reasonably afford and work your guest list to fit that. Choose your A list guests and stick to your number. Send out your invites with strict RSVP dates. If you get an RSVP with regrets, then grab another invitation and send it to someone on your B list. There are a lot of items that need to be purchased based on guest count. Every guest requires a chair, table setting if you are eating, invitation, meal, beverage, dessert, figuring out your tentative count before you shop will save you some headache later. Once you do these 4 key steps, enjoy wedding shopping - have at it! ?