One of the first things you have to deal with as an engaged couple is money. How much will be spent on the wedding? What does the style of wedding you wish for translate into when it comes to wedding costs? Who will be supplying these funds? As a Christian couple, you also want to consider what does the Bible have to say about how you spend your wedding money?
Approaching these potentially touchy wedding money questions can be a bit stomach-churning for the bride-to-be. The chapter on the wedding budget in All Things Are Ready: A Bride’s Complete Christian Wedding Planner presents several tools for making money issues less stressful and more clear.
One of the primary pieces of advice I suggest is to start out your wedding planning with an open brainstorming session on wedding expenses. Try to have everyone present who may be contributing to the cost of the wedding or who will be responsible for spending the money that is available. The goal of this discussion is to get everyone’s thoughts, desires, opinions and concerns out on the table. A courageous, frank conversation about money at the beginning can save many relational hiccups along the way.
If you find these kinds of discussion intimidating, the following list of questions may help get people talking. Remember, the goal is to have a beautiful and joyful wedding day. The beauty may cost money, but the joy comes from how you handle your relationships in the process. The more open, honest, and clear you are in your conversations about the wedding budget, the less opportunity for feelings to get hurt or frustrations to arise. Self-sacrificial love for those involved with paying for your wedding (or not paying, as the case may be) will do much more to create your dream-wedding day than any amount of expensive decor or fine apparel. Love is the center of your happiest day, remember to keep it at the center of all the preparations leading up to that Big Day.
Wedding Budget Questions to Consider:
If there isn’t a clearly provided wedding fund, you will need to sit down and discuss how the wedding will be paid for and what you have to spend. Questions such as the following need to be discussed:
- Do your parents plan to pay for the wedding? If so, do they have an amount in mind?
- Will the groom’s parents be contributing anything?
- Will you be paying for the wedding yourself?
- What expectations do those contributing money have? For example, are his parents willing to pay half, but want the wedding at their church?
At your budgeting brainstorming meeting, consider the following questions to encourage everyone involved to share their expectations, desires, hopes and worries regarding finances for the wedding:
- How much do think is appropriate to spend on the wedding?
- Do you think it is appropriate to acquire debt to pay for the wedding?
- What is the most important thing to spend money on?
- What do you think will cost the most at this wedding?
- What one thing would you be most disappointed to find left out of this wedding?
- What can you afford to contribute to the wedding, if any?
- Is it better to wait to get married until more money is available, or to forego some things?
- What would you think is an inappropriate item to spend a large part of the budget on?
- What do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on “X”? (wedding photography, reception catering, wedding cake, alcohol, wedding attire, floral arrangements, wedding venues, music, rings, honeymoon, etc.)
- What do you expect the bride and groom to pay for individually?
- What part of your expenses would you like to have paid for? (Travel for relatives, clothing, etc.)
- Do you know of any ways to save money on a particular area?
Additional wedding budget issues are discussed in Chapter 3 of All Things Are Ready. The above information is provided in more detail along with a useful worksheet for keeping track of what is discussed at your budgeting meeting. Worksheets and tools for creating a responsible, affordable wedding budget are also included.