Money and budgets can sometimes be a sensitive subject. But unless you have an unlimited about of funds to spend on a wedding, careful planning of your wedding budget is a necessary evil.
Before you start setting dates and hiring vendors, it's imperative that you sit down with your fiance' and/or your families to discuss your wedding budget. Whether you are footing the bill yourselves, or will have help from your families, you should determine what you are able to realistically spend without leaving a mountain of debt. Why start your married life with bills?
Once you have determined your bottom-line figure, decide what your wedding priorities are. Do you want to spend more on the reception and less on pictures? Is it really important to have a haute couture wedding gown, and less important to have expensive flowers? If you have a wedding planner, he or she can help you determine what things are musts and what things you can be a bit more frugal with.
Once you have developed your budget, stick to it! If you go over budget in one area, you may need to consider spending less in another area.
An excellent planning tool I've used with my brides is the following budget calculator:
I hope you find it useful as well!