Recently I presented at the National Wedding Show in London, my topic was wedding budgets. When there I asked the audience how many of them have a wedding budget set and I was astonished to see only 2 couples had one confirmed.
No one enjoys talking about money, but you need to set the goal posts right from the start to avoid problems down the line. Knowing how much you’re working with will help you set your priorities for spending. Not only will this help you with your wedding planning but it opens up honest communication which is essential when married. Personally, I feel no one should start their married life by being in debt. It isn’t vital to have an elaborate wedding. Have a wedding that you can afford. So what is that amount to you?
The average UK wedding is £20k but you can spend considerably less or more. Open up the communication with your fiancee and family so everyone is clear what budget you are working to.
- What money you have saved so far?
- What are you planing to save leading up to the wedding?
- What monetary contributions are family giving (if any)?
Once you have done this you should have a sensible, comfortable total figure to work to. This is your wedding budget, it is important to refer back to this throughout the planning process to see if you are under or over spending in certain areas. Without producing a budget from the outset, it is very easy to get carried away and spend money unnecessarily.
What are your priorities?
Decide where your priorities lay with your wedding. Is it vital you have a stunning historical venue, or perhaps a high energy band is more where your priorities lie? If you need to cut costs then think about what is really important and where money can be saved. Sit together with your fiancee and discuss what your dream wedding would look like, if money wasn’t an issue.
Think about how you want to feel, and how you want guests to feel. Then each decide upon one word to describe your wedding, this is different for every couple, it could be fun it could be elegant. Once you know the feeling you want to convey and the one word to sum up your wedding, it is easier to set your priorities. It can also be equally important to think about what isn’t so important for you. You can refer back to the “must have” and “dislike” answers. This will help you make sensible choices according to your wedding style and budget. and not just because something looked fabulous on pinterest 😉
Start loving a spreadsheet
Produce your budget on a spreadsheet, break the wedding down into categories, ceremony, drink reception, wedding breakfast and evening. Break it down to everything you desire for your wedding, so have sub categories for flowers, stationery, entertainment etc. This is far more effective than having a total figure you’re working from. Allocate money towards every aspect of your wedding including registrars, string quartet, evening band, food and drink. This is far more efficient then having a total figure. You don’t want to blow your budget on a venue then realise you have no more money to feed your guests. If you would like a blank budget template to work with email me and I will happily send to you.
As a guide, 45% of your budget will go on the reception (hire, food and drink) leaving you just 55% for all other aspects of the wedding. Categorise your budget and Have both an estimated column and an actual column so you can keep track of any under or over spends. Don’t forget to factor in that extra 5% for contingencies or surprises over the next few months!
Sensible guest list
Remember every guest has a figure on their head, if you have 10 extra guests coming that then is not just the food and drink but it’s an extra table so you would need to factor in stationery and a table centre. So work out your guest list intelligently, not just from the heart. Consider having a “must invite” and “would like to invite” list, if someone can’t make the wedding you can start inviting additional guests. Don’t over invite with the hope some will say no!
Friends and family
Ask friends and family or even the local community to actively help you with the wedding. Perhaps someone has a hidden talent like cake making, hair & beauty or does someone have a luxury car that can be used as the wedding transportation?
Work out what suppliers are a priority, these are the ones you book first. That photobooth might be fantastic but not at the detriment of say, feeding your guests. So unless you’re swimming in funds, book the important ones first. If there is money left over in the “budget” you can splurge on the more “I want” as opposed to the “I need”.
I hope these tips help. If you would like to receive a budget template please email me on email@example.com
Photo by: Tim Bowden , Touch Photography, Mark Bothwell