The budget is no doubt the most important wedding planning detail, and the basics will keep you on the right path. Get a head-start on your budget planning, deciding how much money you want to dedicate to each element of your wedding. With a realistic plan and money-saving tricks, you can have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of! These five tips will help you get a good start on your budget strategy.

1. Know your budget before starting the venue and vendor search. It’s really important to know the numbers too because asking vendors to be “affordable” can mean anything! Never spend more than 50% of your total budget on the venue, food and beverage, otherwise, you will have nothing left for all of the vendors you need — Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design.

2. One thing we always tell our clients when planning their budget is to add a category for surprises or unexpected items that may arise. If everything falls into place cleanly, you have some extra spending money for your honeymoon. If something should come up, however, you have already set aside an allowance for it in your budget to help cover the cost — Sharon Boerner of Celebrations LLC.

3. The best way to start off planning is putting together a budget. If you aren’t working with a planner, I highly recommend hiring one to do your budget — this will help set and manage expectations for all parties that are financially contributing — Alicia Falango of Alicia K Designs.

4. Never be afraid to talk money with your planner, parents, and finance. It can be uncomfortable for some but allocating finances and knowing who is paying for what upfront eliminates loads of unnecessary stress. Happy planning — Alyssa Hoffman of Alexis Marie Events.

5. Always have a rain plan! Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so always make sure you have a backup plan at least a month in advance in case the weather is not cooperating as the date gets closer. Tenting can cost $5,000 or more, so budget that out as a safety net just in case — Karissa and Heidi of Coastside Couture.

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