Almost every woman dreams of her wedding day. Before that? Her marriage proposal. What she doesn’t usually take into consideration is how much her dream wedding will cost. And sometimes, during the planning process, factoring that in can be a real nightmare.

According to Cost of Wedding, the average wedding day runs around $27,000. That doesn’t include the cost of the honeymoon either. If you start putting ideas together without considering your budget, that could result in you paying for your wedding, reception and honeymoon months—if not years—after your first anniversary!

The way to avoid this is to plan to plan your wedding day. By this, we mean sit down with your fiancé and think about what you BOTH want based on the budget you realistically have. If you make a point to put your plans into your budget rather than the other way around, you can have a beautiful wedding without incurring any debt. And really, can a wedding of your dreams get any more wonderful than that?!

 

What’s Your Budget?

Wedding Binder! EVERY bride should have one of these. someone showed this to me and now I am sharing...Hope this helps all brides out there!:

Image via Gloria Joy

Let’s start with your budget. This is not how high your credit card limits are. This is how much money you have in cold hard cash, whether it’s from the two of you or your family members. Yes, you will probably have to use your credit cards at some point, especially to book venues and make deposits, but don’t be super-reliant on them. Credit cards are loans that come with interest. You will always have to pay them back and if you don’t, it could damage your credit. Not the best way to start off a life together. Want tips on how to save money on your wedding? Click here for over 100 of them.

What Time of Year Do You Want to Get Married?

Pretty wintry shot with your ladies!:

Image via Huffington Post

June and October continue to be the reigning months for getting married. It’s typically the most expensive too. As far as actual seasons, spring and fall are when the price of throwing a wedding peaks. If you want to go the cheaper route, opt for winter thru very early spring (March). The only exception (and understandably so) would be December because it’s the holiday season.

What Venue Do You Envision?

Things take time and, believe it or not, you're probably not the only bride your vendor is working with. "Bids take time to generate, planners are often waiting on the schedule of other vendors to get you information. And sometimes, other clients are in front of you on our to-do lists," says Michelle Leo Cousins of Michelle Leo Events.:

Image via Martha Stewart Weddings

If you’ve always wanted to have a traditional wedding and you attend a place of worship, oftentimes the staff will either give you the place free of charge or for a nominal fee. If you want to go with a hotel or some other place of business, the weekends are going to run you more than during the week. If you want to get married outdoors, destination weddings or a friend’s backyard is a great option. Just keep in mind that places that want deposits are oftentimes looking for half down and that can easily be several hundred dollars.

How Big of a Wedding Party Do You Want?

Fun wedding party moment: http://www.stylemepretty.com/2016/06/14/a-rustic-celebration-that-offers-a-new-take-on-neutrals/ | Photography: Sally Pinera - http://sallypinera.com/:

Image via Style Me Pretty

The bigger the wedding party, the more work on your end. Unless your gift to your bridesmaids and groomsmen is paying for their attire yourself, you don’t have to worry much about expenses. It’s common for them to pay for their tuxes/suits and dresses themselves. But do keep in mind that you’ll have to make sure they pay on time, that they have flights and hotel reservations and they will be able to handle the tasks you assign. Moral to the story: large wedding parties look great in pictures, but can sometimes be more stress than you think. An alternative? Have a smaller party but ask others close to you to wear the same color as your wedding party. That way, they’ll still look like a part of the party in pictures!

What Traditions Do You Want to Incorporate?

If you’ve ever attended a black wedding, you may have seen the couple “jump the broom.” | 24 Couples Who Honored Their Heritage And Jumped The Broom

Image via BuzzFeed

Themes are cool. Not only are they fun, but they can help you to stay focused on the overall look that you want to have on your special day. Just don’t forget to incorporate one another’s traditions that you hold dear. It’s little touches like these that mean a lot and create sentimental memories. (Click here for 50 different wedding traditions…and superstitions.)

What Colors Do You Like?

So cool! - Wedding Colour Schemes 2017 - The NotWedding Cape Cod Ticket Giveaway!LOVE THE SHOES!! | CHECK OUT SOME COOL INSPIRATIONS FOR TASTY Wedding Colour Schemes 2017 AT WEDDINGPINS.NET | #weddingcolourschemes2017 #weddingcolorschemes2017 #weddingcolours #weddingcolors #weddingmotif #2017 #colorpalettes #colorschemes #weddingthemes #weddings #boda #weddingphotos #weddingpictures #weddingphotography #brides #grooms:

Image via Veronica Islas

What are your favorite colors? What are his? That’s something else to think about. If you like to follow trends, go to your favorite search engine and put color trends, along with the year you plan on getting married in the search field. The ones you see up top? Those are going to be popular in 2017. (Just an FYI.)

What Is Your Greatest Priority: Wedding, Reception or Honeymoon?

Best All Inclusive Resorts for a Honeymoon: Mexico, Caribbean | Destination Weddings and Honeymoons:

Image via Destination Weddings & Honeymoons

Here’s a huge “plan to plan tip” that many forget. Unless you are independently wealthy or someone plans on paying for one of these three things, you need to think which you want to put the most money into: your wedding, your reception or your honeymoon. Some couples regret putting thousands of dollars into a wedding and then having to wait for their honeymoon or only getting to spend a couple of days away. You don’t have to apologize for your priorities. If you want a small intimate wedding and then take an international trip around the world or you’d rather not spend a lot on your wedding or honeymoon but instead throw a reception that blows everyone’s mind, that’s just fine! Just so you know, there are sites that help you to raise money for your honeymoon. Click here to read about some of them.

Are You Going with a Wedding Planner?

Oak Ring Box Wooden Ring Box Custom Ring by FeathersOfTheForest:

Image via Etsy

Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’re ready to officially begin the planning process. Yes, you could do it on your own, but we can’t stress enough how much better your life—and wedding—will be if you invest in a reputable wedding planner! They need to have a portfolio and references (and preferably a website). They also need to not be control freaks and flexible. But the right one can save you a ton of money and a boatload of stress. They can take the beginning stages of your wedding plans and turn them into wedding day magic! For tips on how to choose the best wedding planner for you, click here.