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Tip of the Day #34: Watch Your Budget, Babe!

Tip of the Day #34: Watch Your Budget, Babe! As I find myself shelling out more and more money for friends' weddings, I've become hyper aware of tracking my personal expenses to make sure I remain within previously allotted budgets for spending.  I know, I know...spreadsheets can be so un-sexy and tedious, but so can being broke and letting your wedding spending get out of control!

It is incredibly important to have a candid conversation with your soon-to-be spouse and family about your wedding budget and projected spending.  If you're passionate about amazing food and catering, you may need to skimp on decor and design to stick to your budget.

I don't believe in templated budgets in the traditional sense.  Every bride is different and cookie-cutter weddings are boring.  If you want a $10,000 ice sculpture made in the shape of your beloved family pet then go for it, just make sure you adjust the remainder of your budget accordingly.

Without further ado, I'd like to share a few really important things to consider while creating a wedding budget.

*Keep track of your projected budget and then follow up with logging the actual dollars spent

*Make a priority list separated by "must's" and "maybe's" and set your budget accordingly

*Make sure you pay attention to your guest list and adjust your budget if the numbers increase or decrease

*Open up a separate wedding bank account and/or credit card dedicated strictly to wedding expenses so no spending goes unnoticed

*The sooner you lock down vendors, the greater discounts you may receive.  Rush orders and last minute planning can add unforeseen costs to your bottom line

*Plan for taxes, tips, banquet fees, shipping and other hidden costs.  The price listed on a service or product is often not the final price paid

*Master the art of negotiation!  I'm not saying that you should haggle to get all of your wedding expenses down but wedding packages and bundles can help to cut down on costs 

*Build a safety net and put money in your budget for unforeseen costs.  Didn't consider that your May wedding might experience unseasonably cool temperatures?  Breathe a sigh of relief in knowing you can afford to bring in heat lamps to keep guests comfortable

*Don't count on wedding gifts to boost your wedding budget.  Budget conservatively and add to the budget at the end of the planning phase if you do end up with a little wiggle room

*As always, do your homework!  Shop around on the Internet and search wedding mega-sites like and The Knot to compare vendors and ask for recommendations from seasoned brides

Although I have created my own {ahem} color coded Excel spreadsheet to outline wedding expenses, there are a few wonderful templates that I have come across online.  Enjoy two of my favorite comprehensive budgets from Real Simple Weddings and Google Docs.

Real Simple Weddings Budget Worksheet

Google Docs Wedding Template