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So, you’ve just gotten engaged (congrats!). First things first: Work out your budget.

Shanna Trudell with Be Tru Events says that budgeting is one of the most important things you can do when you start the wedding-planning process. Two foolproof ways to get it right? “Know your realistic guest count before making any big decisions,” she says. And, know your priorities, whether it’s a photographer or florals. “Put your budget toward those so you don’t overspend on non-priority experiences.”

We asked her to give us a breakdown of wedding costs, as well as a few big-day hacks if your budget is tight.

Dress and accessories 8%
 Planner 11%
 Flowers 12%
12% Photography
15% Rentals
20% Venue
22% Catering
Tips to save:

Trim the Bar

When it comes to beverages, less is more. Trudell recommends providing beer, wine, and one (or two) signature cocktails, rather than a full bar. And keep in mind that Champagne can cost between $6 and $12 per guest. To save on cost, “Consider keeping one or two bottles of Champagne on hand for the couple and guests who specifically request it.”


Know Your Venue

When searching for a wedding locale, research its requirements and inclusions. “If a venue includes tables, chairs, linens, etc.,” says Trudell, “it will be more beneficial toward your overall budget.”


Cut Corners

Two ways to pinch some pennies? Trudell says to display the menu or program in a frame instead of printing one for each guest, and use loose greenery instead of pre-assembled garlands.

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