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Budgets – we all hate them. Work budgets – stink. Personal budgets – miserable.

Wedding budgets – worst of the worst.

We have already determined the average cost of a wedding here and some of you might have cried a little at the thought! Dry those tears and follow these steps to prepare your individual wedding budget.

STEP ONE: WHO PAYS? Some weddings are fully funded by the parents of the bride. Others receive money from both parents of the bride and parents of the groom. And a few are either partially or fully funded by the bride and groom themselves. Sit down individually with each set of parents, (brides – talk to your parents, grooms – talk to yours) and ask them how much (if any) they are willing to contribute to the wedding. Then decide whether you and your fiancé are going to use some of your own money. After this is done, you will have a comprehensive list of how much your wedding budget will be.

STEP TWO: WHO’S INVITED?  Get the guest list ready!  The number one way to save or spend extra money on your wedding is based on the number of guests you have. The more guests, the more money. Determining your guest count will tell you how much you can spend per person.

STEP THREE: WHAT MATTERS MOST?  Make a list of the top 5 things that are most important to your wedding. Is it a one-of-a-kind custom wedding dress? The best band in town? Over the top decorations? Food that makes your mouth water? Photos that are editorial worthy? Once you have chosen these items, this is where the majority of your money goes.

Remember, whether your budget is $5,000 or $50,000, the concept is the same: ask who will contribute money, write out your guest list and determine what matters most.