Getting engaged and looking forward to a future with that special someone is a very exciting time. For couples embarking on the wedding planning process, here are some key steps to creating a realistic budget and planning an enjoyable celebration.
Decide on a rough dollar amount
While the initial budget will probably shift slightly in the time leading up to the wedding, having a ballpark dollar amount in mind can guide the decision-making process.
“A first step might be to create a master list or spreadsheet of how much you can realistically afford to spend,” said Jonathan De Fex, financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Dallas. “How much can you contribute? Are any family members chipping in? Many parents plan for years to help pay for a wedding.”
In addition to using savings or even investments, parents can utilize the cash value of their universal life insurance or whole life insurance policy.
It’s important to think through the absolute must-haves that will make the wedding unique to the couple. It could be a special venue, a favorite local band, delicious catering, a dream photographer, or a three-tier wedding cake. Choosing a few wedding details that are the most important will help the couple get their priorities in order and help paint a more realistic picture of the wedding day.
Decide on nice-to-haves
Once the couple agrees on must-haves, it’s time to take a closer look at the nice-to-have items. For example, while huge bouquets, custom stationary, and a late-night dessert bar are all lovely details, these items may not be as important to a couple as the videographer or the champagne tower. Take some time to think through which nice-to-haves are at the top of the list if there is money left over to spend.
Price things out
Couples can use the same master list or spreadsheet to keep track of approximate expenses throughout the planning process.
“Remember to update the dollar amounts as costs are finalized and contracts are signed,” De Fex said. “To get a better sense of wedding costs, speak to a variety of vendors to understand what they offer and their price points. Assigning a projected cost to each item on the master list and comparing the numbers side-by-side can provide a better sense of how the overall budget is adding up.”
Compromise is key
Agreeing on—and sticking to—a budget can be one of the most challenging parts of planning a wedding, particularly if family members are involved. As with most significant purchases or events, prioritizing the top must-haves and keeping an up-to-date budget will create a smoother path forward when it comes time to compromise, while also ensuring the wedding day is unforgettable.
The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance cash value to supplement retirement income will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI.
Source: Northwestern Mutual
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