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Saying ‘I do’ to a budget-friendly wedding

Figuring out your wedding budget can be confusing if you’ve never planned a large event. This will likely be the biggest party you’ll ever host – and probably the most expensive.

It’s difficult to nail down a dollar amount if you’re unsure of what you can actually afford. However, working hard and putting in some time and energy early on will lead to a very happy “happily ever after.”

Here are a few money tips to keep your finances and your stress level in check.

  1. Create a budget. Start by figuring out exactly how much you can spend. This amount might depend on whether you have family helping with expenses or footing the bill on your own.
  2. Determine what kind of wedding you want. You can’t stick to a budget if you don’t set one. Begin by making a list of all the items that you want for your wedding and researching pricing. Don’t be afraid to include big and small items on that list – at the end of this, you’ll be able to plug in the items that fit your budget.
  3. Start saving. Now that you’ve assessed your financial situation, created your wedding budget and identified the must-haves are on your wedding list, start putting the money aside.
  4. Be aware of the big-ticket items that can eat up your wedding nest egg quickly. These items are often fresh flowers, venue, photography and caterer, to name a few. There are lots of ways to cut these costs, often by taking non-traditional routes. Nail down your most essential items and start researching ways to cut those expenses. Google and Pinterest are great places to start.
  5. Borrow and utilize thrifting. Upcycling is a hot trend, and your wedding is as good a time as any to take advantage of it. Maybe you have friends who got married recently and have items you can make your own. Thrifting is also a great way to find décor you can re-purpose for your big day.
  6. Prepare for the unexpected. Even with a considerable budget and a diligent approach, there will still be unexpected costs. Having a buffer for this can reduce a lot of stress.

Most importantly, your wedding is about the two of you and your marriage, and that will last much longer than the one-day celebration. Having a budget means figuring out what matters to you and focusing on ways to make those priorities come to life – without sacrificing your entire bank account.

Emily Mays is vice president/chief administrative officer at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 15 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go-local supporter. She lives in East Franklin and has one daughter, Lola.

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