Dollars for Dreams: Your Dream Day a Reality

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No matter how big or small the wedding, you will be investing a significant sum of money to make your dream day a reality. Regardless of who’s footing the bill, you’ll need to set limits and create a budget. Newly engaged couples should discuss their personal finances and talk with parents about how much they can and will contribute.

Begin breaking down the budget for each anticipated wedding expense by considering your priorities. What’s most important? Designer dress? Elaborate flowers? Couture cake? Swanky reception site? Best band in town? Exotic honeymoon? Choose three items that are your top priorities and set the rest of your budget from there.

Your reception, including the food and beverages, can average 50-65 percent of your total budget. Therefore, the reception location you select and how many guests you invite will have the most impact on your budget.

If you need help determining how much you can afford to spend on what, visit www.brides.com for an interactive, personalized wedding budget planner. You can also visit www.theknot.com for extensive planning tools.

WARNING: Pay all deposits by credit card.

Don’t pay any money until the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. Get a written contract for every service, and never pay deposits by cash or check. If you pay by credit card and something goes wrong, you can always dispute the charge. Retain all contracts and receipts.