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Before wedding planning starts, set a budget

Clark Howard photo

By Clark Howard

Wedding planning season is here as couples race to plan the perfect nuptials in time for a summer wedding date.

But before you get too deep into planning, I want you to sit down and come up with a budget for your wedding. It can be $100 or it can be $30,000. It’s whatever makes sense in your life.

Write down all the elements of a wedding you want — flowers, DJ, wedding favors, etc. —  and then start prioritizing them. That way you get a feel for what’s indispensable and what you can maybe do without.

There are many things you can do along the way that will help you save big money. There’s even a blog called 2000dollarwedding.com dedicated to the idea of DIY weddings. These ideas from my staff and from the pages of Real Simple magazine can also help you plan a big day that’s not so big on the wallet:

    • When you call around to vendors, don’t tell anybody you’re getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a “party” because you’ll likely get a lower quote.
    • If you’re planning on having alcohol, find a caterer who will let you purchase and bring it yourself, which avoids the tremendous markup.
    • Make your own flowers out of paper instead of purchasing real ones. This move alone can save you more than $1,000.

The list is practically endless. Just don’t do what I did to save money on the vehicle we drove off in.

I rented a subcompact purple Mitsubishi that was $16 a day, and the wedding photographer was so angry at me for ruining his exit shot. He wanted me to leave in his car, which was a Cadillac convertible. I said, “Nobody’s going to believe that it was really me!”

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