MANILA, Philippines - Everybody loves a wedding. Families often come together to celebrate the day by pulling out all the stops for a grand day of festivities, realizing that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
There are no limits when it comes to grandiosity for a wedding, except, of course, the couple’s or their family’s ability to pay for the expenses.
Needless to say, a wedding is a major expense that couples have to prepare for. If your budget is limited but you would still like to have a memorable wedding, here are seven ways to make it happen:
1. Set a budget and stick to it!
Before you begin calling vendors for your wedding needs, create a budget of how much you would want to spend on the wedding itself. This is a good way of ensuring that your expenses do not go out of hand. Setting a budget also allows you to better manage your cash outlays for the wedding.
Make sure that your budget is realistic. It should be based on how much you have saved, or intend to put up, for the wedding. Also consider where this amount would come from — will it come from your own savings as a couple, from forthcoming income and bonuses, or will your individual families also contribute? By identifying your fund sources and when the funds will come in, you are in a better position to set a realistic budget and timetable for paying expenses.
2. Create a wedding fund.
Once you have decided to get married, put together a wedding fund – a seed fund where you can put in the money that will be used for your wedding. Some couples make this a sinking fund, with each one putting in a contribution on a regular basis.
Consider opening a joint savings account for this for easier monitoring. Better still, if you have more than enough time left, you can even put some of your joint savings in the money market so that your money can earn a little more. After the wedding, you can maintain this fund for other savings purposes.
3. Learn to prioritize.
Way before your wedding date, have a list of the “should haves” and “nice to haves” for your big day. “Should haves” are the absolute musts that you cannot forego on your wedding day. “Nice to haves” are the niceties that you would love but that you can dispense with if resources are limited. For instance, your choice of church for the wedding may be one that you would not want to change, putting this in the “should have” category.
On the other hand, the string quartet would be a lovely addition to your reception, but you wouldn’t mind dropping it if finances are tight. Having a priority list would allow you to cover the most important points and would give you an idea of how to allocate your budget.
4. Plan early.
When you plan early, you will have the luxury of time to choose the vendors that you want most, and also find the options that will suit your budget. In addition, you can better manage your cash outflows. Planning early also allows you to personalize some of the wedding items. For instance, you may be able to make handwritten invitations instead of having commercially printed ones—a nice touch that is also less expensive.
5. Ask friends and sponsors to pitch in.
When friends ask how they can help out, let them know specifically how they can help out. For instance, you may ask some close friends to band together to get you your wedding cake or your giveaway items. You may also wish you tap your friends for their talents –a photographer or videographer friend will be glad to extend his or her services to you at a steeply discounted rate or even for free. Your friends will appreciate not just your honesty, but also the fulfillment of being able to give you the gift that matters most to you.
6. Manage expectations.
One of the most difficult aspects of planning a wedding is having to manage the expectations of well-meaning family members and friends whose idea of what a wedding should be like may be very different and much more expensive than yours. Parents may expect you to invite their friends and relatives who you may not even be close to. Office mates and colleagues may expect to be invited to the wedding. Let people know in advance that the guest list at your wedding would be limited. There is no shame in keeping your wedding a small and private affair.
7. Put matters in perspective.
Finally, while it is tempting to splurge on your wedding, remember that the wedding is just a beginning of your life together as a couple. As you go through life, there will be more and bigger dreams that you will have to prepare for financially as you build your life together – having children, buying your own car, building your own home, putting the kids through school…the list is endless. Therefore, you may wish to temper your wedding expenses and instead, use the savings to begin building your nest egg together.
Grow Your Money is an editorial partnership between ABS-CBNnews.com and Citi Philippines to promote financial education and provide helpful information to Filipinos on how to better manage their personal finances.
Visit www.citibank.com.ph for more information.