Keep your budget on track for the big day

(WXYZ) - You want it all: The gown, the flowers, the fancy cake and elaborate invitations. But when you throw in a honeymoon, the average wedding now costs about $30,000. 

Our friends over at Angie's List recommend enlisting the help of a wedding planner. An expert can cater to couples on all budgets-- most starting around $1,000.

A wedding planner can help find vendors to meet your price point, negotiate discounts, and provide money-saving advice.

Whether you do or don't hire a wedding planner, the best advice is to always read the fine print before you sign any dotted line. Contracts can be costly if you don't pay close attention.

Also, making a checklist and having a focus will help you avoid any last-minute budget breakers.

Angie's List provides the following wedding checklist. You can also down a PDF here.

12-9 months before the wedding

  1. Make a guest list
  2. Hire a wedding consultant
  3. Determine a budget
  4. Find your ceremony and reception venues
  5. Hire your photographer/videographer
  6. Hire your band or DJ
  7. Research marriage license requirements (regulations on when to get this vary based on state and county)
  8. Book your officiant
  9. Select wedding party attendants
  10. Hire your caterer
  11. Order the wedding gown
  12. Establish wedding colors and/or theme
  13. Decide on décor (floral, lighting, draping, china, linens, etc.)
  14. Send “save-the-date” notices
  15. Secure hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

9-6 months before

  1. Look at men’s attire, whether custom-made or rented
  2. Pick out and order invitations
  3. Decide menu
  4. Look into hair, makeup and accessories
  5. Think about wedding cake
  6. Start dance lessons
  7. Plan your honeymoon
  8. Figure out transportation
  9. Plan your rehearsal dinner
  10. Take engagement photos

6-4 months before

  1. Finalize music selections for ceremony and reception
  2. Get wedding rings
  3. Finalize your menu and do a tasting
  4. Meet with your officiant to finalize ceremony
  5. Choose readings and music
  6. Address wedding invitations: hire calligrapher, or do by hand or on computer
  7. Register for gifts
  8. Create formal photography list

4-2 months before

  1. Mail invitations
  2. Do a trial-run on hair and makeup
  3. Design and print ceremony programs
  4. Start recording RSVPs
  5. Plan seating arrangements for reception

1 month before

  1. Change name and address, determine other changes required (driver’s license, Social Security Card, credit cards, etc.)
  2. Make a wedding day timeline
  3. Make sure you know arrival and delivery times for vendors
  4. Have final dress fitting
  5. Finalize all accessory purchases: guestbook, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, favors, etc.

1 week before

  1. Pick up dress or have it delivered
  2. Confirm honeymoon details
  3. Write your toast
  4. Make individual itineraries for wedding party
  5. Send timetable to vendors and confirm details with them
  6. Compile a list of important cell phone numbers to give to people involved in wedding
  7. Pack for honeymoon

1 day before

  1. Have giftbags for out-of-town guests delivered to hotel
  2. Get massage and mani/pedi
  3. Go to rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  4. Put tips and final payments in individual envelopes

The big day

  1. Eat breakfast
  2. Do hair and makeup
  3. Switch engagement ring to your other hand
  4. Rip the seam of the ring finger in your glove, if wearing gloves
  5. Relax and enjoy the day
  6. Breathe
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