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Wedding Spending Plan

To create a spending plan for your wedding couples need to tally up their savings, maintain a detailed spreadsheet so you don't go over your spending plan during the the planning process, prepare for unexpected costs, as well as make meaningful cuts if you do exceed your total spending plan. It's really hard work, we know, but putting in the time and energy now ensures you'll live happily ever after (wedding-debt free). Here's exactly how to set a wedding spending plan you can stick to.

Step 1: Count Your Cash How much you have to spend on the wedding is directly proportional to three sources of money: you and your fiancé's individual savings; the amount you can set aside from your current income; plus any contributions from parents or loved ones. Here's how to approach each:

Your savings: This isn't as simple as checking your bank account. Ideally, you and your partner each have three months of living expenses set aside in case of a job loss or health setback (separate from retirement funds). Subtract that in-case-of-emergency amount from your total balance in the bank, and that's how much you could put toward wedding costs.

Your monthly income: After you've made payments for existing debts, like student loans, set aside up to 10 percent of your earnings each month. "Establish direct deposits into a separate account for wedding expenses so it isn't just leftovers that get saved.

Any contributions from your parents: "Never assume your parents or other loved ones are willing and able to help cover the cost of a wedding,"

Step 2: Track Your Spending Create a spreadsheet with three expense columns: Estimated, Modified, and Actual. Amounts under Estimated will be driven by research of costs in your area (check sites like Weddingwire and Thumbtack to find local averages for venues and vendors), proposals from the vendors you choose will go in Modified, and the final amount you pay them will go in Actual.

Adjust your estimates after calling in vendors' costs. Start with the venue because it's the biggest piece of the wedding pie and a major factor in determining guest count. When vendors give you estimates, verify if tax is included. If not, do the math yourself with state and local tax rates to adjust the proposal.

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