You know the one I'm talking about.
No, not the birds and the bees.
Budget. Money. Adulting. *Shudder*
My wife and I, a few years into our marriage, had to do something that was insanely difficult for us. We had to ask for financial help.
We had overspent. Not by much, but by enough that we had to choose between making our rent or buying food.
We were blessed enough that we had a support system we could turn to.
After that, we decided to focus on budgeting our money better and whether we were spending within our means (if you couldn't tell, we weren't).
But, that was after the wedding ceremony! The Talk is something that every bride and groom should have, and I honestly think that it should happen as early in the engagement as possible, and maybe even BEFORE the engagement. Here are three questions to help guide you through "The Talk", despite the discomfort.
This is a big question. There are traditions galore in regards to who pays for the wedding, but with how diverse our family units are now, it's not as cut-and-dry as it used to be. Figuring out where the money is coming from is an important first step in the budget talk. If parents of one or both partners are going to be involved, where will they be involved? Is someone covering the rehearsal dinner, and someone else the ceremony? If no parents will be involved, will the couple be finding other sources, or paying out of pocket?
Once you have agreed on who is helping pay for the wedding (and making sure they know and are comfortable with it too ;-) ), you can move onto the next question, which is arguably the most uncomfortable of the discussion.
Whenever you're planning a huge celebration like a wedding, chances are you'll go over cost. Whether it's because you under-budgeted to begin with, or simply got caught up in napkin choices and kept upping the stylization options until you were at the crème de la crème, it's good to know that may happen.
But knowing how much money is in the budget is what allows you to effectively prioritize and make decisions about what decor/venues/additional services may be present for your wedding.
Which leads me to my third question.
Chances are, you'll end up not knowing you have to spend money on something. Found a venue, but didn't realize the bar came as an extra cost? A month before the wedding and you realized you didn't get your bridal party gifts yet? There are so many things to juggle, that creating a priority list allows you to more effectively break out where your money should be spent. It also allows you to revisit your budget if, after some initial research, you realize you only budgeted in $500 for a photographer, but the photographers in your area start at a higher rate.
We all have thoughts on what the highest priority should be, but I'll share my top three.
If you want a wedding to remember, that you can, literally, look back on and smile, those should be your top three priorities.
I talk about average costs in another article (you can read it here), but I'll just let you know that in 2019, the average cost of a wedding in Illinois was $39,700. That's a lot of money. And one of the best ways to avoid stress that you don't deserve as your planning your beautiful day is to sit down and have the potentially uncomfortable "Talk" at the very beginning of the process.