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budgetWhen planning your budget, keep in mind that over 50% will go toward your food and beverage, therefore it is very important that you keep tight reins on the number of guests.

After you have completed your Guest List, make a list of everything you want at your wedding and reception, down to the tiniest detail. Put these in their categories (Gowns, Flowers, Music, Photography, Favors, Accessories, Cake, Tuxedos, Video, Ceremony Soloist, Organ, Reception Music, Limousine, etc.). Next put an "estimated cost" figure next to each category. Now make a list of retailers in each category to contact, either by phone or appointment, to determine "actual cost". This is where you go from Fantasy to Reality.

The total figure is usually astounding, but you can cut costs in many of these areas. Just use common sense, and ASK questions of the retailers. "How can I cut my costs in your category?" "What are my options ?" If they are truly "wedding specialists" and you are honest with them, they will usually help you trim your costs. However, don't expect them to cut their costs too deeply if you are having the reception at the most expensive place in town ! Be realistic...You can't have a "champagne" wedding and use "beer" retailers. You have to come to some compromises, yet still maintain the "atmosphere" you envisioned. Don't despair, it CAN be done.

One of the best ways to handle your budget is to divide it up between the Bride & Groom and both sets of parents. This would be voluntary, of course. The majority of couples are already working and making their own money. Why not volunteer to pay for the Limo or Video ? Also, don't leave out the parents of the Groom. Their son is getting married also. Ask if they would like to hire the band or photographer, or even split the budget. When it comes to asking the parents of the Groom to participate in the budget, it is best if the Groom does the initial inquiry. Let him present the options. They will take it better from their son, than from the Bride or her parents. Just remember to explain...There are TWO people getting married. If they refuse to participate, don't hold hard feelings, just adapt and go from there. Many traditions take longer to bend than others.

Traditionally, the parents of the Bride pay for the majority of the wedding, but there are TWO people getting married, and at least two families represented, so why not share in the expenses ?

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