Setting a budget is a crucial part of planning your wedding although probably also the least exciting. Of course it would be lovely to have a limitless fund for your big day but couples in that situation are a fairly rare species. Overspending is also stressful regardless of how much you have in the kitty, so here’s some tips to help you nail that budget.
1 // LIST IT OUT
Set up an excel spreadsheet with the things you want to spend on for your wedding. You don’t want there to be any hidden surprises so my advice is to include absolutely everything even the seemingly minor stuff. It’s better to budget for something you don’t end up needing (hello extra honeymoon spends!) than not to budget for something critical.
Some commonly overlooked budget items include postage for invitations, hair and make-up trials and meals for your on-the-day suppliers.
2 // DO YOUR RESEARCH
Chances are you won’t have planned a wedding before so you need to get a sense of what the various elements cost. Check out the websites of a few venues and suppliers in the area you want to marry and talk to recently-wed friends or relatives for about their experiences as well. You’ll see that most bridal magazines will feature a wedding budget guide but these don’t take into account regional price differences so treat them with extreme caution.
Once you’ve got some figures together plug them into your spreadsheet and ta da – you have an initial cost for your dream wedding day!
3 // HAVE THE MONEY TALK
With a ballpark figure in your possession it’s time to figure out how you’ll fund it. Do you have any savings put aside for your wedding already or are you expecting any parental contributions? If so then go ahead and deduct these from the total.
Divide the remainder across the number of months before your wedding and you’ll be able to see clearly the amount you’ll need to put aside to be able to afford your big day. If you don’t like what you see then consider trimming the budget or pushing your date back to make that monthly amount more palatable.
On the topic of contributions you can’t presume that your parents will chip in, so be sure to sit down early on and have an open but polite conversation with them about it. If they are contributing heavily then you need to understand if they hope for decision making involvement in return and whether you are comfortable accepting this. Instead of accepting a blank cheque book perhaps suggest the support with a specific element of the wedding, such as the photography and flowers or the catering and music? This not only helps them to understand what their money is being spent on but also gives a clear steer of where in the planning process they can play a more active role.
4 // PRIORITISE
If the outcome of step 3 is that you need to trim your wedding budget then it’s time to prioritise. The majority of your budget will probably go on your venue and catering but beyond that, you’ll need to figure out what’s most important to you and your partner. For some it may be the photography and the cake, for others the flowers and the reception music. Get quotes for your prioritised items first and if you go slightly over then you can look to make up the shortfall on things that you’ve decided are less important.
5// CHECK FOR HIDDEN COSTS
When reviewing your supplier quotes make sure you understand exactly what they do and don’t include. Competent suppliers will highlight if these apply but it pays to triple check just in case there’s been an oversight. We’re talking about things like delivery charges, travel costs and VAT but also the more obscure charges. The costs of extended coverage is a great example – you don’t want to have to have a dancefloor debate with your photographer on how much it would be for them to stay on a little longer.
With venue quotations pay special attention to whether corkage charges apply if you provide your own drinks, any fees that are owed for using non-recommended suppliers and what security deposits are due. Whilst you should get the latter back (providing you don’t cause any damage) you don’t want to be scrabbling for cash at the 11th hour.
If you’re baffled by your wedding budget then why not drop me a line and I’ll help you get those big day costs under control.
And stay tuned for the next post in the series where I’ll share my thoughts on where to save and where to splurge when it comes to your wedding spending
About the Author
She loves epic checklists, heartfelt wedding details and country walks (as long as they end at the pub.)
Her dislikes include all flying insects, bad timekeeping and most wedding chair covers.