Smart Start with Susan Southerland: Planning a Budget (and sticking to it!)


Budgets. Everyone hates making one, but when it comes to planning a wedding, not having one can lead to disaster. Planning a wedding can be so emotional, which is why it is so important to have a non-emotional plan to follow. Overspending on the wedding day means returning from your honeymoon to a stack of unpaid bills and a lot of stress about debt.

Planning and sticking to a budget can easily solve this. Perfect Wedding Guide has several resources you can use when developing your budget. Check out our handy budget-planning tool (it’s free!). You can also purchase my wedding planning book by clicking here. Now, let me share some additional tips to keep in mind while planning your wedding budget.

1. Decide on your priorities. Not all brides spend money the same way. Some brides want an expensive designer gown, while others want elegant and abundant food. Some want a ten-piece band, and others want the best photographer in town. There is no right answer as to how you spend your money; you just need to make sure that you and your groom decide on what’s right for you. Decide which products and services you want and make a list as to which are most important to you so you can figure out how much to spend on each service.

2. Decide on your guest count. The one thing that will make the biggest impact on your budget is the number of guests who will attend. Adding ten people to your guest list can add $1,000.00 or more depending on the cost of your menu, bar, floral arrangements and other décor. Make your guest list early so you can budget accordingly.

3. Keep track of what you spend. You can’t create the budget and then set it aside. Every time you sign a contract or make a purchase, you need to adjust your budget. Did you overspend on something? That extra money has to come out of another budget item. Did you find a bargain? Either save that extra money or use it to purchase something else.

4. Be upfront with vendors. A good wedding professional wants to help you get the products and services that you want within your spending parameters. If they don’t know what you can spend, they can’t help you.

5. Don’t shop for things you can’t afford. It can be so disappointing to tour a venue for your wedding, fall in love with it, and then find out you can’t afford it. The same can be said for every single aspect of wedding products and services. Decide in advance what you can spend and concentrate on shopping only for things that fit in your price range. It will save you time and frustration.

Planning a budget sounds like a boring task, but in the end, it will save you from the stress that comes from piles of bills and interest fees. Take the time to create a reasonable budget and then enjoy finding the perfect products and services for you.

If you have any tips for creating and sticking to a budget, be sure to share with me below!


SusanSoutherlandAbout Susan Southerland:
Getting engaged is such an exciting time. However, the exhilaration of saying “I will” can quickly be replaced by the overwhelming concerns surrounding planning a wedding.

I designed my Smart Start series to take the worry out of planning your wedding. Smart Start will be delivered to your inbox every week filled with tips on the business and the art sides of planning a wedding. It will break up your tasks into easy-to-accomplish segments so you can enjoy the planning process.

If you have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to email me at You may also find back issues of the Smart Start series by clicking HERE.


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