4 Expert-Approved Rules for Deciding on Your Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget Planning Advice

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There is a great debate when it comes to figuring out how much money you should withdraw from your savings account and spend on your wedding celebration. Your friends might tell you to spend as much as you want — and your family may tell you to be conservative (and then spend the cash on something more practical, like a down payment on a house). But if you are wondering what financial professionals would tell you to do, we're sharing advice on how much you should spend according to four financial planners.

1. Spend an amount that doesn't stress you out.
"There are many wedding expenses that you could look at cutting back on, such as the number of guests, food or alcohol. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime event, but that doesn't mean you should spend money that you don't have. Remember this is supposed to be a fun time. So don't let the money aspect take over and create added stress!" Rachel Cruze, a personal finance expert and #1 New York Times best-selling author.

2. Think about what comes after the wedding.
"Before they wed, couples should start their marriage off on the right foot by budgeting for their wedding and honeymoon. As a couple, it's likely that you have already talked about where you'd like to live, if and when to start a family, dream vacations you hope to take and when you might like to retire. By thinking it through and establishing a plan, you may be able successfully pursue your goals after your wedding." —Anna Colton, Merrill Edge Executive

3. Figure out how to break even.
"Determine the maximum amount of debt you can have by your wedding date to break even after the wedding. To do this, use a conservative estimate of what value gift you can expect to receive from a guest (varies depending on venue, location, relationship but let's assume $75/person). Knowing that some guests give much more, and some give none, it generally tends to average out. Take your total guest list and decrease it by 10 percent (e.g., 200 invited total, use 180), and multiply that number by the conservative gift estimate to get a sense of how much you can expect to receive from the wedding ($75*180=$13,500). Hypothetically, if you end up with a debt balance of $13,500 on the day of your wedding, you would be able to pay off the balance with gifts and be wedding-debt free!" —Stephanie James CFP, a senior financial advisor at Wescott Financial

See More: 4 Ways You and Your Fiancé Can Tackle Your Debt Before Marriage

4. Only spend what you have.
"Only spend money you actually have on your wedding, regardless of who is paying (bride/groom or parent's of the bride). If you need to finance the wedding via credit card or by withdrawing the money from your retirement account, you are spending too much." David Rae, a Los Angeles Financial Planner with Trilogy Financial.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

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