Monday, October 29, 2012

Wedding Budget 101

I've always been a strong believer that personal finance should be a general education requirement in college. Whether saving for vacation, a car, or a wedding the first step is setting a limit and sticking to a budget.

Here are your biggest budget questions answered!

What percentage of my budget should be attire, ceremony, cake, etc.?
Although there is no right answer to how much you should allocate each category of expense, having an approximate percentage allocated can be very helpful.

The Wedding Garden has a flexible percentage breakdown for you to use as a starting point.
Attire: 5-12%
Cake: 2-3%
Ceremony: 6-10%
Entertainment: 3-10%
Flowers: 5-15%
Invitations: 2-5%
Reception: 35-55%
Photography/Video: 7-13%
Transportation: 2%
Rings: 7-15%
So if your budget is 20,000 you can simply multiply 20,000 by the percentage you want to allocate, let’s just say Invitations (3% aka .03) and get $600. If this number is too high or too low you can now easily move money around.

It is also recommended that you create a prioritized list on which part of your wedding is most important to you. Would you rather invite more people and rent a wedding dress or own your dress and invite less? Once you prioritize you can re-weight your percentages to reflect your wants.

Who pays for the wedding?
Forget the tradition of the bride’s parents paying for the entire wedding and the groom’s side getting off easy. Nowadays it is split between the two families a little more evenly and the bride and groom themselves oftentimes pay for a huge chunk also. The key, start saving early and stick to a budget. It is recommended that all paying parties sit down and discuss early on how much everyone is willing to contribute. also breaks it down by area/category.  Here’s the website with the list:

Biggest Ways to Save:
1. Come up with a realistic budget from the start and don’t stray from it.
2. Get married in the off-season months (January, February, March, and November) and on any day but Saturday.
3. Rent your dress instead of buying it.
4. Instead of party favors donate to a charity.
For more detailed ways to save check out

In regards to saving money in general, some couples have longer engagements (more time to save) and open a new joint bank account that both bride and groom can start depositing in each month that becomes untouchable money.

Another big way to save is working with a wedding planner. Although people oftentimes think wedding planners are more expensive, they are able to help you create a budget from day one. They have experience and are able to tell you where your money should and should not be going. Wedding Planners are able to maximize a budget and will get you the best bang for your buck. It is also an advantage to hire a wedding planner because they will know what companies have the best deals for flowers, linens, DJ’s, etc. Since they have worked with these companies before a lot of the time they will give your wedding planner a discount because they already have an established relationship with them versus you dealing with them on your own.

 XO, Chelsea 

Check out these great sites for more ideas on how to save.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

We’ve all been there: The search for the perfect something, the over paying for that item, and the buyer’s regret and worry that there was something else better out there. In regards to your wedding dress, this article will help you find the right dress and hopefully get rid of any buyer’s regret.

First off, according to most wedding advice sites, your wedding gown should be no more than about 8-10% of your entire wedding budget. This will obviously fluctuate depending on what aspects of your wedding are most important to you, but it is important to allocate a set amount for your dress and stick to it. 

Start early! If you are engaged or have marriage on the mind, chances are you’ve seen Say Yes to the Dress on TLC and know how most gowns are not ready to wear when purchased. Most dresses are custom made, with many alterations done after purchase. Whether you plan on adding your own flare or just making sure it fits perfectly, keep in mind your wedding timeline!

Next, where do you look? Two words: brainstorm and research. It is important to brainstorm what kind of look you are going for. Do you want to look classy or sexy? Maybe walk the line of both? White too boring for you? Maybe you want a splash of color. Nowadays many brides are opting out of the traditional white dress and are choosing colors that better represent their personalities.

There is a really helpful iPhone dress finder app that you can download at called “Wedding Dress Look Book.” You can input your bra size, height and weight, best features and problem areas. It will find just-for-you dresses to help get the ball rolling. This is also helpful for browsing designers you like. Dress shopping is all about narrowing the choices to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
After you have a dress type in mind and how you want to feel and look in your dress, research places that are in your price range. Don’t torture yourself by going to stores that obviously will have beautiful royal princess gowns if you know you cannot afford them. Pick only a handful of stores you want to start with and make at least an hour appointment at each.

Now, the dilemma of who comes with you. Try to limit yourself to just two or three others. We all have that one friend, who we love dearly but with whom we do not share the same taste in clothes. Yeah, don’t bring that friend. Always keep in mind that this is your wedding and what matters most is how you feel in your dress. It’s helpful to have friends to help you narrow down choices, but don’t be afraid to go on your own to pick the final one. 

XO, Chelsea