Setting A Wedding Budget You'll Actually Stick To
Setting your wedding budget is no easy task. From your wedding dress, all the food, award-winning photographer, entertainment, cars, cake…the list goes on. Your wedding will most likely be the biggest (and most expensive) party you’ve ever hosted and it all can sound a bit expensive, can’t it! Even if you don’t want all of those things or if you are planning an intimate micro wedding the costs can soon build up. To make a budget for your wedding you’ll need to add up any savings and maintain a detailed spreadsheet so you make sure you stick to your budget throughout your planning process. You should prepare for some unexpected costs as well as be prepared to make any cuts necessary to ensure you don’t exceed your total budget. Yes, it’s hard work but putting in the time and energy now will ensure you’ll be able to have a wedding budget you can actually stick to.
Whether you are working with an overall budget of £1000 or £100,000, there are some general guidelines that can help you to decide what you can afford to spend and what you’ll want to save or splurge on.
Crunch Your Numbers
How much you have to spend on your wedding is going to depend on how much you earn and what you can set aside each month, any individual savings you already have and any financial contributions you may receive to help pay for your wedding.
You and your partner will need to have an open discussion about all areas of your finances and look at what savings you each already have. How much of this money are you each willing to put towards your wedding day? Whilst you might be tempted to throw it all in that might not be the best approach. You still want to keep some of that money separate for unexpected bills like a car or boiler breakdown. It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund separate to your wedding account for any unforeseen emergencies.
We all have fixed costs that can’t be avoided – like the mortgage or rent – but then we go on to spend a surprising amount of money on ‘throw away’ or ‘luxury’ items. Do you really need that Starbucks ever morning, or is that money that you could be saving? It’s time for each of you to sit down, look at your take home pay each month, take out all of your fixed costs and then see what is left over – how much of that are you able to save each month? If you plan to get married in 18 months and you are able to save £600 a month between both of you then you could have an additional £10,800 to add to any current savings.
Will you be gifted any money to help with costs?
Do you have any family members who may have been putting money aside to go towards your wedding costs or is there anyone that would like to pay for something specific for your wedding day? This could potentially be a massive bonus for you and really help with a key cost. Yes it can be awkward to have these conversations but perhaps a grandparent has always dreamed of buying you your wedding dress. Knowing who these contributors are likely to be are essential in figuring out your overall budget.
Track Your Spending
Create a wedding spreadsheet and get comfortable with estimating, updating and tracking each and every expense for your wedding. At this stage create 3 columns, an estimated, modified and actual spend. The amounts that fill your estimated column will be from a mixture of general research and estimated guests based on the suppliers you’d like at your wedding. Once you receive proposals you’ll be able to fill in the modified area of your spreadsheet and begin to see whether you’re likely to come in around the budget you had in mind or whether you were way off. The final amount you pay will go in your actual spend column.
Keep your spreadsheet as updated as you can, and change any estimates as soon as you have a more accurate quote. Start with your biggest costs such as your venue and any outside catering and ensure you’ve received accurate quotes by asking if VAT or any extra gratuities are included in the quote.
Prepare for any surprises by having an extra amount budgeted to cover any items you may have forgotten or extras you decide you’d like later down the line.
Find Ways To Save
If creating your budget and assigning it to different areas of your wedding felt like hard work, then actually sticking to your budget can sometimes feel even harder or even an impossible task. If you are totally over budget these ideas will help you to save
Change your venue – usually one of the most expensive costs. Blank Canvases feel like a steal at the time but costs can add up when hiring everything in. There’s usually money to be saved on your venue whether it’s hiring a smaller space or going for a package deal – be venue savvy from the off and your budget will thank you.
Go off peak – having a midweek wedding or a date that’s out of the late Spring/Summer period will also come with more reasonable rates.
Have a longer engagement – this gives you more time to save and have those extras you’ve always dreamed of.
Shop around – always make sure you get more than one quote so you can see what a good price is.
Have the ceremony and reception in the same place and cut transportation prices.
Keep some of your initial budget set aside right from the start – this is your contingency money; you only use it when you absolutely have to, but it helps to stop you from going over budget.
Don’t make impulse purchases – have a clear plan for what you want so that you avoid those impulse purchases that can often cost more than just their price tag.
And remember, it’s not about how much money you spend but it’s about how much love and joy you feel. At the end of the day even if you get married for £100 in a simple dress or suit it will be an incredibly beautiful, meaningful and memorable day.
Plus you’ll be able to set aside more cash for your honeymoon. Win-Win!