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Hosting a wedding will be the most expensive party you will have to plan. A recent survey by Wedding Bells Magazine stated that the average cost of a wedding in Canada is $31,685. This number however, is based on a guest count of less than 150, small bridal party and nothing extravagant in terms of decor or flowers. It is simply a ball park number to give you a rough idea of total cost however, many weddings will fall above this number. There are many ways to stay within budget (check out previous post on 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding), but I wanted to provide couples with a step by step guide on how to go about creating the budget in the first place.

STEP 1: Be realistic about your finances

Have a conversation with your partner and discuss how much money you have in savings and how much money you both can comfortably allocate to the wedding budget. Take into consideration your debt and bills that need to be paid monthly and decide on a number you both agree on as being you maximum wedding budget. Once you have established that part you can than have discussions with your parents and loved ones on how much money they are willing to contribute. Tally up all those numbers and you will have a concrete maximum wedding budget number.

STEP 2: Create a budget template

You can do this by creating a spreadsheet with all categories related to the wedding and do research on how much percentage of your total budget to allocate to each category that way you get a good idea of exactly how much money you can afford for each vendor and item. Decide which items you want to splurge on and are most important to you that way if you have to cut costs you can play around with the numbers later on to splurge on what you want most.

STEP 3: Open a separate "wedding" account

Once you pulled all your funds together you can place them into a bank account devoted to wedding expenses. This is a great way to track expenses and not mix your everyday money with your specially allocated funds.

STEP 4: Prepare for the unexpected

There may be unexpected fees that can come up during this process. For example: Not using the venue's reception chairs and renting out the chairs with another company can result in the venue charging you a fee per each chair you are not using with them as a chair removal fee or if you are doing your ceremony on the same grounds as the venue they can charge a fee for each ceremony chair they will have to put outside. In addition, if you are planning on having an outdoor ceremony there needs to be a back up plan in case of rain which can come with its own set of additional fees. I would strongly recommend having extra cash aside from your maximum wedding budget that can be set aside for these type of occurrences.

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