Preparing your wedding budget

After deciding on a wedding style, and who will pay for what, you need to work on a budget that everyone agrees on.

You will need to collect some information from area service providers via the telephone on estimated costs. Then it is suggested to add 20% to the cost for over-run or unexpected charges.

Overspending and overpaying are two areas you need to keep under control in any wedding. Here are a few things to watch for.

Research: get recommendations, compare and price check all service providers, sites, and apparel stores. What you will learn is that all service providers and stores offer different pricing, levels of service and quality. You will also learn the going rate in your area, which can be helpful in bartering a better deal or finding out who offers the best value for your money.

Shopping for your apparel and accessories can be just the same. Compare prices. One dress shop can be priced higher, but the price may include alterations, storage bag and steaming. Where as the lesser-priced store may add this cost on. Shop online, it can save you time and money.

Use your phone and the yellow pages, the web, and recommendations from other brides and service providers. Ask the same questions to each of the vendors so you are comparing them all evenly, apples to apples.

Once you find your photographer, ask her or him for recommendations. If your photographer has been in your area a number of years, they have worked with a lot of service providers. A wedding photographer gets to work with every aspect of your wedding and see the end result of many service providers’ work. They may be able to recommend the best people in the area.

Visit Them

Make appointments with the shops/service providers you are more interested in before you visit. This will help insure you will get better service if they know you are coming, many small shops and service providers run with small staffs.

If you will be renting items from them, ask to see the equipment. Is the equipment clean, workable and untarnished? Seeing the items will give you some insight as to how well the company is run. If staff and equipment is disorganized, broken and incomplete then you may want to reconsider them as a potential provider.

If the provider seems like the one you want and the date is open, ask for some literature and sample of their contract, policies and prices to review. Do not get pressured into signing something that you can’t get out of, or that ties you to something you do not want or is may be overpriced.

In the comfort of your home, review the information and pricing. Decide on what you want, contact the providers with any questions, and sign the contracts when you are ready. Keep in mind, some providers only handle one wedding at a time, so do not take too long or you might be disappointed.

Possible money savings:

Before you sign any contract or make a purchase, ask the retailer or service provider about quantity discounts, specials or sale prices. The salesperson may have overlooked a sale price or quantity discount. Some service providers may add in a couple “extras” at no cost.

The closer your work with your provider and the more you purchase everything from one source, the more likely they will work extra hard for you.