Another key element of your role during the planning process is that regarding budget "control".
Unless FOB is paying, you're likely to end up being the guy responsible for making sure the numbers add up. Sounds simple, I hear you say. Not to mention old fashioned and totally politically incorrect - I make no comment on whether this is a good thing or not, however. I am merely sharing my experience and, in that experience, the vast majority of budget conversations involve the Groom taking the lead.
But, guess what, there's one key feature of this particular budget that is going to make it virtually impossible for you to successfully carry out what might appear to be a simple arithmetic task. No it's not hidden costs and extras that your caterer, venue etc sneak up on you with (although sadly there are some naughties out there who engage in such practices and who thus besmirch the name of all reputable establishments) - nay, it is, quite simply, the fact that you are being made responsible for something over which you have no functional control.
That's correct. You are being made responsible for the budget. At the end of the whole thing you are going to be the one who gets it in the neck if money that was supposed to be earmarked for some imaginary future kid's college fund (woah hello America) gets spent on marshmallows/candles/rose petals or, god forbid, booze.
But every time over the next x months that you raise your hand and ask the dreaded "Where in the budget is this coming from?" question or make the entirely valid "I'm not sure we can afford that" point, even if backed up with irrefutable evidence such as "given that you overspent by £1200 on the dress and that we haven't yet accounted for the fireworks that you insisted on yesterday", you are going to be on the receiving end of one or more of the following:
- A cold stare that says "this is my day / you have no opinion / stop being difficult / no one asked you / how dare you ruin this for me / you're sleeping on the sofa tonight and for evermore"
- A total emotional breakdown of not only Bridey but all her gaggle too - MOB, sisters, bridesmaids etc. If this happens then you can only hope that you're not the only guy in the room - might be worth getting FOB on board too, ideally accompanied by a financial contribution, to give some sense of solidarity
- Physical violence.
So how are you supposed to manage this? God knows. Perhaps take the budget conversation hit early by hiding some money in a separate account, haggling your initial starting budget down as far as possible, and hoping to hell that the separate account bit is enough to cover the excesses. Or just acknowledge that you're going to be spending more than you hoped. Either way though, the occasional gentle steer towards budgetary considerations MIGHT, if you play it right, minimise the damage.