Before you get swept away in picture-perfect pins or glamorous wedding day reels, don’t forget a very important factor in wedding planning: your budget. Since finances can be a top point of contention between couples, I am sharing my favorite tips on planning a fiscally-conscious military wedding that is still social media-worthy and packed with your must-have experiences.
1) Determine what your magic number is
The best budgets require honest conversations about money. Begin by thinking about what you and your partner can comfortably afford to spend. Next, consider if you’d like the support of friends or family. According to the WeddingWire Newlywed Report, parents pay for 52% of wedding expenses, while the couple pays for 47%. If this is true for you, your wedding budget just doubled. Also, allowing friends to gift you with wedding-specific items can free up cash, but make sure they are not in your top three priority categories so you remain in control of those areas (more on that in tip two). Even if you opt out of support, you can confidently move forward knowing your budgetary limits.
2) Prioritize what is most important
No two wedding budgets are alike and anyone who tells you that way is setting you up for failure. An effective budget is based on your priorities so that you account for what’s important to you and don’t overspend in areas that you’ll regret later. Start by looking at categories of spending and individually pick your top three. Shift your budget to accommodate more for your priorities and less for other items. Your lower priorities can be things that you allow others to take on. A prioritized budget gives you the freedom to confidently spend towards what you value most.
3) Look for freebies to maximize your budget
ODYD – Bridal is now my new favorite way to save money and still look your best with top designs available to meet your unique bridal style. Other fun freebies may include stationery printables, digital invitations, wedding websites and venues like local parks, beaches and private properties of people you know.
4) Determine what you can do without
Having planned several weddings, this is an unpopular option at first glance, but in hindsight, many couples wish they had made more cuts. Take this tip as your permission to do your wedding your way. Cutting meals, third cousin guests you don’t talk to and traditional “must do’s” can be a great way to curate an experience that you love within your budget.
5) Tap into the best part of our military community
Military weddings can be a fun opportunity to connect with others in our community. Look for military spouses, active-duty service members and veterans who can provide products and services that you need for your nuptials. Not only can you provide an opportunity to more #militaryspouseowned businesses, you can also stay on budget with the community who understands the lifestyle you will be stepping into.
Bree Carroll is a military spouse and event planner. Find her at BreeCarroll.com.