9 Tips to help you stick to your wedding budget
Given the state of the economy at the moment, couples are rightly anxious about how they are going to pay for their weddings. They key is to have a budget and stick to it. Whilst having a wedding budget might sound boring and restrictive, it’s actually one of the first things to plan and think about when starting to plan your wedding. Many couples will spend more than 2 years rent on their wedding day and whilst the majority of them will have a budget at the beginning of their wedding planning journey a massive 45% of those will blow the budget. This is why it’s really important that you have some sort of budget otherwise your costs can quickly spiral out of control.
However, a budget alone will not stop you from overspending or from just not realising how much you are spending. In order to understand and avoid out of control costs you need to be keeping tack of all of your expenses and logging them against your budget so that you can see exactly where your money is going. That will then in turn tell you if you need to adjust your budget up or down in different areas to compensate for anything that is costing more, or less, than anticipated.
Lots of people ask what a realistic budget is for a wedding and, in all honesty, there is no one answer, your budget could be as little as £1000 or as much as £50,000, it really depends on the size of your wedding, how extravagant you want it to be, the number of guests you want to have, and of course the money at your disposal.
Breaking down your wedding budget.
So how can you reign in any overspending on what should be the happiest day ever? You already know the basics (keep the guest list in check, don’t get married on a Saturday) but how do you ensure that you still have an epic wedding day and don’t start married life in loads and loads of debt?
One way to look at your budget is to start by thinking about what is most important to you, what are the things you MUST have, if you are somebody who has always dreamed of getting married in a church and arriving by horse drawn carriage and this is important to you then ensure you factor this in. Similarly if your groom to be has always wanted a bespoke suit made for the wedding day then you need to figure out the likely costs for these. Next, look at the things you would LIKE to have and again figure out the potential costs – do the two-combined fall within your means? If not then you will need to revisit and remove a few things or look for cheaper alternatives, if on the other hand you think you have money to spare then you could look as what would be nice EXTRA’s to include that will enhance your day further.
This can form the basis of your budget planning, which includes a breakdown of the MUST have’s and LIKE to have’s which you can then log actual costs against so you can easily keep track of where your money is going and keep a look out for any adjustments you need to make along the way.
Many couples ask how they know how much to accommodate for each item when compiling their wedding budget. This is where good old-fashioned research comes in. Once you have a rough idea of the time of year you’d like to be married talk to wedding suppliers who look as though they match your theme and price point. Many of their websites will give you an idea of what their prices start at which will give you a good indication of what to include on your budget. A good idea for keeping within your budget is to plan for a contingency too and setting aside around 10-15% more than you planned to spend. This will ensure any missed costs can be taken care of without too much stress and if you don’t end up spending it, you can always put it towards wedding day gifts or a honeymoon experience!
9 Tips for staying on budget as you plan your wedding
1. Have a longer engagement – If you are in no rush to get married, having a longer engagement gives you more time to save and more time to research those best priced suppliers. You’ll also be able to take opportunity of any sales on bridal wear and outfits, which usually come around twice a year.
2. Keep records – Every penny you spend, and what it is spent on, needs to be recorded. This is the only way that you can have a clear picture of where your money is going and if anything is costing more than anticipated. If something comes in at a higher than anticipated cost then you may need to reduce other areas of the budget to compensate.
3. Move just outside of wedding season - Reception venues, churches, civil offices and catering venues are usually more expensive in their busy season, which typically is in the summer months. Tying the knot just outside of these peak dates can save you a fortune!
4. Negotiate / Haggle / Barter – There are times when you will need to just accept a quote at face value but there are other times when you may be able to negotiate with the supplier, even seemingly small amounts saved on a bill will add up and give you more to spend elsewhere.
5. Have a contingency – Leave some of your wedding budget unallocated, this way if something unexpected does crop up and requires a little extra money then you already have it. Just remember this is your emergency contingency fund and shouldn’t be spent unless really needed.
6. Be frugal – Is there anything that you could buy second hand? Some things you will want brand new and will want to own, but is that the case for everything? These days second hand can be just as good as brand new but come at a fraction of the price. Could you enlist a talented friend or family member to make something for the wedding whilst you cover their costs? Or perhaps they’d gift their contribution instead of a wedding gift.
7. Don’t follow trends – You don’t have to follow the most recent trends in order to have a spectacular and magical day and chances are that if you do want to follow the most current and popular trends then it’s going to cost you more. Instead, be original and just stick to what you really love and want.
8. Don’t overdo it with the food – It’s so easy to overspend on food for your guests. It’s tempting to roll out grazing platters (especially when they are so on trend) when nibbles would be more fitting. Remember if you go heavy on the appetizers then there probably won’t be the need for a starter on the day. A buffet style reception is easier on the wallet than a formal sit down dinner, but if a sit down dinner is something that you want for your wedding then try to choose seasonal produce which will keep costs down. For dessert you may want to consider serving your wedding cake.
9. Hire your wedding items
Of course I'm going to have to say hire! Not only is it better for the environment but it's way cheaper than buying it. Typically hire items cost a third to a fifth of buying it. Then you have to think about storing it and selling it after. It's much less stressful to hire, then you can just pick the items you like and get them delivered to your venue. Easy!
Planning a wedding can be a big task; at times it can feel overwhelming and incredibly stressful. Make sure that going over budget doesn’t add to the stress, as a minimum make sure that you are organised and have a clear way of tracking and monitoring everything that you spend, or commit to spend, so that you have a clear picture of where your money is going and if you need to make any adjustments. If organisation isn’t your strong point, then enlist the help of someone else who can help you with this. And remember, don't get carried away. You don't have to have everything you see on Pinterest. Focus on the details that are important to you and stick to it!