Featured Image After excitedly telling your friends and family about the engagement, the obligatory Facebook post, and pinning wedding dresses, what’s the next step? If you follow The Knot or any other wedding checklist, one of the first things they'll say you need to do is make a budget. That is one of the least exciting things on your wedding to do list, but trust me, DO IT! The national average for weddings in the US is over $35,0001 but I just knew I would not be spending anywhere near that so despite being a huge planner, I didn’t stress about making a budget. I kept putting it off because I convinced myself we are just having a small wedding at a venue with a flat fee that includes the cost of the ceremony and reception. That’s it right? WRONG. 1 The national average cost of a wedding day in 2016 shot up to $35,329, according to a survey by The Knot. Finally, a month ago I decided to figure out how much my fiancé and I had spent over the course of the year on wedding expenses. There are so many expenses I didn’t take into consideration. Dress alterations, transportation to venues and a rehearsal dinner dress were just a few of the things I never considered as part of my wedding expenses. We had spent way more than we realized because we paid for everything on credit cards and did not keep track along the way! Even though talking about money can be awkward and may lead to disagreements over how much to spend on flowers and decorations, it is vital to talk about the budget and make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page. Take the time to go through your other financial obligations and goals (do you hope to buy a house in a few years or pay off your student loans?) and determine how much you are willing to spend on your wedding. Trust me, the upfront time and effort will be worth it in the long run! Allison F. Allison has been an internal auditor with Virginia Credit Union for two years. She has spent the last year planning her wedding in Jamaica with the help of her fiancé, who will be happy to never have to pick out wedding flowers and decorations again. In her free time, Allison enjoys going to the Escape Room with friends, binge watching the newest Netflix show, and being a crazy cat lady. Other stories by Allison F.