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Creating a wedding budget can be daunting — and realizing you've gone over it can be downright debilitating. Unfortunately, for brides who don't set their budget in stone or trust a wedding planner's expertise, it's all too common to spend more than they intended. "Going over budget is common for brides and families who do not know what things cost in the industry and do not trust planners to advise accordingly," explains Jesse Tombs, senior event producer for Alison Events. "If a budget is set and the bride or groom keep adding things on, this is when the budget starts to become an issue."
The best thing you can do is set a budget, then work to stay under it. For example, if you fall for a wedding band whose rate comes in $1,000 less than your music budget line, don't throw that extra $1,000 toward your catering expenses. "Save it instead, because something will come up that's unexpected," Tombs says.
Also, once contracts are signed, there's little wiggle room. "You are locked-in legally to using these vendors in most scenarios, unless you can cut items down to reduce cost," says Tombs. So if you find you've gone over your budget, approach your vendors to re-negotiate the services they'll provide you. After all, do you really need those cheesecake-stuffed strawberries?
"Cutting back is sometimes the only way to stay within your budget," Tombs says. "If you see there is little room left in your budget, start cutting things that are not so important, like the late-night snacks, the welcome baskets, and so on."