So you're engaged. This is an exciting time in any bride's life. There are so many things to consider, and they are all spinning in your head at once. Where do you begin?
The very first thing every bride should determine is what the budget will be for her big day. How much do you have to spend on your wedding? Will family members be contributing to the costs? Will you be using other means (like 401K disbursements or bank loans) to supplement the cost? What is the most you want to spend? All of these questions need to be answered before you book your first consultation or appointment.
Unfortunately, far too many brides miss this key step and find themselves heartbroken when the "wedding of their dreams" is fiscally out of their reach. Knowing where you stand financially will help you keep a realistic view of what your wedding day will be.
Now, this is not to say that your wedding day still can't be absolutely fabulous, BUT you have to recognize early on what is important to you. Once you know how much you can afford to spend, the very next question is how do you plan to spend it? You may love flowers, but not have a passion for stationary. You're biggest desire could be having a designer wedding gown, but you're not as concerned about the decorations at the wedding site. Knowing what elements of your big day are most important to you will help you better distribute your finances and resources.
Every bride should consider sitting down with her fiancé and going through a list of the following elements of their wedding day to determine which ones are most important to each of them:
A great idea is to look at the entire wedding budget and, at a high level, try to agree upon what percentage of the budget you would like to spend on each. You may be surprised to learn that you and your beloved place the same level of importance on the same things. Likewise, you may realize that you both have totally different ideas about what you expect your wedding to be. Either way, this is a wonderful way to get your groom engaged in the planning process from the start. But most importantly, it starts you down the right path of being a savvy bride!