Earlier this month The Big Fake Wedding asked us to writing a blog post highlighting some of our favorite planning tips. We knew right away what we wanted to talk about because before we dive into the centerpieces and dress options, we first have to figure out our budget. Check out http://thebigfakewedding.com/values-reality-creating-wedding-budget-fits/ for the full scoop and other awesome wedding inspiration!

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For most of us, planning a wedding is uncharted territory and it can be a bit hard to wrap our heads around how much weddings cost when we are starting our planning process. Unfortunately, all of the beautiful images on Pinterest don’t put a price tag on the pretty things we have been drooling over. All of the effort and the time that goes into planning the picture perfect day can be completely diminished with one swift kick to your budget. So where do you start so that you can answer the question of how much your wedding is going to cost and how do you create a budget that reflects your values and your reality?

Bells Box has a five-step process for our brides to help guide them through creating their budget.

1. Speak Freely & Be Realistic
Many couples don’t know how to broach the conversation of a wedding budget. For most, even the reality of their financial relationship is a little hazy at this point. In order to plan a realistic wedding budget, first you will want to have a firm grasp on how you will be handing monetary issues going into your life together. After that you will be able to start navigating through setting out your wedding budget. It is also during this phase where being realistic is a must! Go into your planning with a clear understanding of what you, as a couple, want from the day.

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2. Educate Yourself
The wedding industry is unlike any thing that the majority of us have ever been exposed to. If you go into this venture without taking the time to do your due diligence, you will be guessing and assigning arbitrary dollar amounts to items. When the time comes to add everything up, you may find that you have over spent or over committed yourself. We like to go by the rule of thumb is that most things wedding related are going to cost 3x or more than it would if it was for any other type of party. Don’t let that scare you though. With a little inspiration, proper guidance and a strong budget mapped out – your dream day is well within reach!
3. Take Inventory
By giving yourself the benefit of taking inventory of what resources are available to you prior to “dream spending” for your day, you will have a better grasp of what you are working with. When you sit down with your fiancé, make sure that you talk about what contributing sources that you are going to have for your wedding. We encourage you to think not only about who will be chipping in financially but also about people in your life that can help in other ways. Whether it is with time and a helping hand on DIY’s or a friend that specializes in something wedding related, taking note of this is essential in creating your budget strategy.

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4. Prioritize & Determine Reality vs. Dreams
You can eliminate a lot of stress and angst if you are proactive in building out your budget and know going into your day what your reality is. By making sure that you prioritize what you value most upfront, you won’t be as likely to get lost in a Pinterest whirlwind.

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5.  Use Your Tools
There is a reason that wedding planning is a legitimate profession. Planning a wedding is hard and as mentioned earlier, untraveled territory for most. A lot of us don’t have the luxury of hiring a planner to help us walk through the unknown so we encourage you to find resources to help along the way. There are lots of free resources at places like the knot.com or apracticalwedding.com that can help. For those out there that need a little more help, check out our resources at bellsbox.com that help bridge that gap between free tools and wedding planners. Our process creates a seamless agenda for our brides that give them all the resources and assistance they need to create their dream day. All while keeping their budget in mind!BB3-2