How to ease the sticker shock and still plan the wed­ding you want

Milwaukee Weddings - - Content - BY RICH ROVITO

Sock away funds in ad­vance.

WED­DING COSTS, like col­lege costs, are best saved for well in ad­vance – like in utero, if pos­si­ble. Not many can plunk down over $23,000 – the av­er­age cost of a Mil­wau­kee County wed­ding – all at once, or even over the course of a few months. But, sayeth lo­cal ex­perts, set­ting aside funds in ad­vance can greatly ease the stom­ach-churn­ing bur­den of pay­ing for the big I Do.

Sav­ing early al­lows for smaller monthly con­tri­bu­tions, and hav­ing de­posits taken di­rectly from pay­checks en­sures that funds will ac­tu­ally be set aside, says Amanda Schlagenhauf, owner of The Bride Con­sul­tant in Mil­wau­kee. You know, in case some­thing more ap­peal­ing than ta­ble linens hap­pens to pique your wal­let’s in­ter­est.

And Schlagenhauf means early. “It def­i­nitely doesn’t hurt to start sav­ing even be­fore the ac­tual en­gage­ment,” she says. Set up the Big Day Fund in a sin­gle, joint check­ing ac­count, says Terry Pow­ers, an event plan­ner with Golden Chic Events + Con­sult­ing. “This will help pre­vent rack­ing up gi­gan­tic credit card debt and al­low [the be­trothed] to get some prac­tice shar­ing a bank ac­count,” Pow­ers says. Hav­ing that avail­able cash will make it eas­ier to cover up­front pay­ments re­quired by ven­dors, and she sug­gests cou­ples seek dis­counts from ven­dors, who of­ten of­fer re­duced rates for re­fer­rals or cash pay­ments.

Ex­pected guest count and the cou­ple’s vi­sion for the wed­ding are the main fac­tors in de­ter­min­ing a wed­ding bud­get, says Schlagenhauf. A bud­get for a DIY wed­ding with 100 guests will look aw­fully dif­fer­ent com­pared with one for a 500-per­son, black­tie af­fair. No mat­ter the size, says Jan­ice Rosen­thal, owner of Party Pro­duc­tions in Mil­wau­kee, de­ter­min­ing how much Mom and Dad can kick in, if any­thing, is a con­ver­sa­tion to have in the first stages of plan­ning. ◆

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