Getting Started

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Congratulations! You have a ring on your finger and a bright, sparkling future ahead of you. Let the wedding planning begin! To ensure the process is as stress free as possible, follow these tried and true tips:

Stay Organized

Planning a wedding is not a simple “sit-down-and-work-till-it’s-done” kind of project; oftentimes you have multiple projects at once. So stay organized! It often helps to create a binder where you can keep a budget sheet, a calendar checklist, pictures, fabric swatches, etc. See the Worksheets Section for helpful organizational tools.

Create A Budget

Plan your budget before you get carried away with other wedding details. Determine how much you want to spend and how much assistance, if any, you will receive from family members.

Decide Who Pays for What

Sit down with everyone that is planning to contribute to determine who will pay for what. Sometimes families will give a specified dollar amount and allow the couple to spend it however they choose. Others will offer to help out with a particular aspect of the wedding. Many couples undertake the wedding expenses themselves. No matter what financial assistance is offered, the wedding is ultimately the couple’s financial responsibility.


Avoid two common budgeting traps:

1) Do not expect more cash wedding gifts than you may actually receive.

2) Do not under-budget wedding and honeymoon expenses.

Be Realistic About Expenditures

Make a list of all the different vendors you will need and allocate a portion of your budget to each, prioritizing when necessary. If the costs keep piling up, don’t panic! There are ways to trim costs without sacrificing vendor quality.

Get It In Writing

Once you have settled on the bottom line, secure prices with a contract to help keep you within your budget. Paperwork plays a crucial role in keeping misunderstandings to a minimum.

Stick to Your Budget

Financial experts advise against going into debt for your wedding. It is much better to start a marriage without needless liabilities.

Who Pays for What

Traditionally the Bride and Her Family Pay for:

  • Invitations and announcements (including postage)
  • Bride’s wedding dress and accessories
  • Bridesmaids’ and flower girl bouquets
  • Groom’s boutonniere
  • Bridesmaids’ party or luncheon
  • Flowers and rental costs for church and reception site
  • Engagement and wedding photography and videography
  • Musicians at both wedding and reception
  • Food, beverages, and related professional services (catering) for reception
  • Wedding cake
  • Gifts for bridesmaids (and accommodations, if necessary)
  • Groom’s wedding gift
  • Groom’s wedding ring
  • Transportation for wedding party on the wedding day

Traditionally the Groom and His Family Pay for:

  • Marriage license
  • Clergyman’s fee
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Bride’s bouquet and going-away flowers
  • Corsages for mothers and boutonnieres for men in the wedding party
  • Gifts for the groomsmen and ushers (and accommodations, if necessary)
  • Bride’s wedding gift
  • Bride’s engagement and wedding rings
  • Honeymoon
  • Groom’s wedding attire