One of the most stressful post-engagement tasks at hand is figuring out (and then sticking to) your wedding budget. It should probably be your first act as an engaged couple, too, because 1) weddings don't come cheap, and 2) it will help put all of your planning into perspective. Remember, before you can even spend a dime, you've got to figure out how many dimes you've got! This also will be the first time you really have to focus on finances together (good practice for future budget creation throughout your marriage!). After all, you want to enjoy your day, and you won't be able to if it puts you in the red. Freaking out? Don't! Follow these three easy steps to help calculate your magic number (and then, take a deep breath!).
1. Estimate what you can save.
Multiple the number of months left until the wedding by how much money you and your groom can realistically put aside every four weeks.
2. Talk to your families.
Get up the nerve and ask your parents and his if they're planning to chip in for the wedding. If they are, ask them for a specific dollar amount. Now's also the time to ask any other potential donors, like grandparents, if they're planning to help out too.
3. Do the math.
Add up your total contributions. Subtract from that number 10 percent, whihc you should set aside for cost runovers. Now you've got your target budget, says event planner Beka Rendell of Styled Creative, in Philadelphia.
—Lauren A. Greene
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