February 10, 2007

Concentrate With The Budget

Unless you are one of the fortunate people who have no worries about money, concerns about the budget are sure to occupy much of your energy and time.
The first thing you and your fiancé must decide on, therefore, is the wedding style that you will adopt. Will it be a formal, “en grande” wedding, or will it be informal and simple? Do you want an intimate gathering, or a very festive celebration? Your preferences will determine the amount of money that you need to prepare.

Once the wedding style has been decided, take time to answer the following questions:

Which among the elements below are most important to you?
(Rank from 1 as top priority to 5 as bottom priority )

c Church/Ceremony
c Reception venue and program
c Cake and reception food
c Bride and Groom’s attire
c Entourage attire
c Hair, Makeup and Accessories
c Music
c Flowers and décor
c Photo and video
c Gifts for sponsors and giveaways
c Invitations, wedding announcements and thank-you notes
c Wedding planner / coordinator
c Travel and lodging expenses for you, the entourage and the guests
c Honeymoon
c Others, please specify: ___________________________

2. What elements/items can you possibly get for free?

List everything that comes to mind. For example, an aunt’s garden you can use as reception venue, or an uncle’s car, or a friend you can ask to be your wedding singer. It’s also becoming a trend for the principal sponsors and the members of the entourage to shoulder the costs of their attire.

3. Who are the people you can expect to contribute to your wedding fund?

You may include yourself and your fiancé so you get an idea of how much you will have. The following table can be filled out progressively, as you determine how much exactly the contributors are pledging.

Before taking the next steps, consider the following tips for making the most of your budget:

• Focus on you preferred theme – This is the mood or atmosphere you want to create. This way, you can take out necessary elements that will not contribute to your theme, thereby reducing your costs.

Choose the right wedding date, time, and venue – Rates may be higher in January, December and June, which are the peak months for weddings in the Philippines. Also, a dinner or lunch reception costs twice as much as breakfast reception, so you may wish to have an early morning wedding. Look at possible venues that you can get at a discount, or even for free.

Take advantage of connections – See what good buys, bargains, and discounts you can get by availing of the services of relatives, friends, and those suppliers whom you network of people can refer to you.

Check out several suppliers before committing to one – Do not be too excited; don’t make purchases of finalize deals without making price and quality comparisons.

Consider D.Y.I. (Do It Yourself) projects – Possible items include the wedding giveaways, gifts for the sponsors, invitations, thank-you notes and decors for the reception venue.

Be adventurous in exploring sources for your materials – Buying from department stores or through middlemen can cause you extra money, but you can save a lot if you explore Divisoria and Dimasalang!

If you are working with a coordinator, tell him or her how much your budget is – This way, she or he can help you look at options that are practical and realistic.

Include in your budget all the possible elements of the wedding – These cover everything from your marriage license, down to the waiters’ tips, reception crew food, seating cards and guest book!

Add in at least 10% more to your total budget – Allot a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses. This will also allow you some flexibility when working on the big and small details of your wedding.

Write down all your choices and record actual transactions made – If you fail to do these, you may end up losing track of your expenses, and have difficulty sticking to the budget that you have set.

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