Budgeting for the wedding can be such a bore. All most people want to do is book the things they want and go off and have a great time.
The reality is, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not in the position to book just anything at any price.
It’s believed that in the last decade wedding budgets have halved with couples realizing it’s possible to achieve their dream without breaking the bank.
But budgeting for your big day really shouldn’t be a chore, by making some sensible choices from the offset and nailing down exactly what you’re willing to spend and what you aren’t dreaming big has never been easier.
1. Take Your Time
When it comes to the planning process of your wedding rushing the job in between your hectic schedule, work life and other outside factors can more often than not cause you to make silly decisions.
Give yourself a year to plan and spend time doing research and making sure you are making informed decisions.
Being patient and prepared will help you to get the best from your day and ensures you leave no stone unturned in your planning.
2. Actually Set a Budget
A lot of people make the mistake of putting together their dream wedding wish list and then try to achieve it on a budget. Instead, it’s better to set your affordable budget first, and then factor in what you can reasonably afford, knowing in advance that you’ll likely have to make some compromises.
Do some research, and don’t forget to include costs that may not be obvious, including ceremony fees, stamps for the invites (if you’re posting them), presents for the bridal party and more because it all adds up. Whatever your final budget is, allow 10% for contingency.
3. Let Your Venue Help
Most hotels have a range of expert staff members who can help you not only make informed decisions about what they offer but also recommend many local suppliers who are trusted, respected and offer great prices.
Typical wedding venues can account for up to one-third of your budget. This can be reduced significantly if you get married on an unpopular day – venues are most expensive for a Saturday, cheaper on a Friday or Sunday, and even cheaper again on a Monday to Thursday. Midweek wedding dates may mean some guests are unable to attend, but close friends and family will usually understand and make the necessary arrangements.
If you don’t like the idea of a mid-week wedding, consider an unpopular season instead – April to September is prime wedding season, so having your wedding outside of those months can save you up to 50% on the cost of your venue.
4. The Dress
In years gone by, Brides spent a small fortune on a dress that is usually never worn again and rarely sold on due to sentimental value. This just doesn’t make financial sense. Today, high street quality has improved significantly, and a little tailoring can make all the difference. Other sources of fantastic looking purse-friendly options include second-hand dresses and last season’s stock from a bridal boutique. All of these resources are also great for Bridesmaid’s outfits.
5. The Guests
Think carefully about who to invite to the wedding, as numbers soon add up. Just 15 family members each from the Bride and Groom’s family, and 10 friends each with plus ones for partners is 70 people. Keep your guest list to close friends and family only, and invite work colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors, family friends, etc., to the reception.
6. Think About The Food & Drink
The food and drink can often take up the largest part of your wedding budget so be sure to take time to think about what it is that you want. Avoid choosing a menu to “show off” stick to what you really want.
Many people also choose smaller wedding cakes and less free alcohol so they can invest it into the main meal, some people opt for a smaller reception but a bigger evening affair.
7. The Invites
Unless you really want them, you could do away with physical invites. These usually incur not only design and print costs but also postage and can be a lot of hassle. Instead, you could get an invite designed as a PDF to email to guests or use a variety of online tools to send digital invites, especially for guests who are attending the reception only.
8. Be a Savvy Shopper
If you have a creative streak, favors, table decorations, and room decorations, can all be purchased online for a fraction of the cost. There are plenty of online discount stores, craft stores, and sources for second-hand items in good condition. Bonus points if you can resell your wedding décor bundle on a site such as eBay for a quick cash injection post-wedding.
9. Decorating Your Day
Don’t forget to discuss what decor you want on your wedding day at your venue. Some people prefer to bring in outside companies which can add to the budget. However, you might find you’re happy with what the venue can provide.
Another option is to bring some decor yourself, it’s important you liaise with venue staff beforehand to ensure that they can accommodate all your requests.
10. Don’t Call It a Wedding
When sourcing flowers, a cake, and entertainment don’t refer to your big day as a “wedding”, call it a party or celebration instead until the price is agreed. Referring to your booking as one for a wedding can sometimes put the price up automatically.
However, feel free to shout about your wedding from the rooftops on your honeymoon plane ride, to the hotel you’re staying at, and at any other venues, you visit while away – you’d be surprised at the freebies and upgrades you’ll get!
11. Meet Your Vendors
One sure way to bag yourself a bargain is to purchase other services and products at exhibitions and bridal fairs. Not only do you get the chance to look for new ideas and meet the people you are doing business with but you often find there are great deals to be had if you lay your deposit down there and then.
12. Cash Gifts
Historically, guests gifted items to the couple to help them set up in their new home together. Today, many couples already live together before getting married and have most of what they need. As an alternative to a traditional wedding present, a lot of couples ask guests to contribute to their Honeymoon through sites such as Buy Our Honeymoon, where guests can pay for a specific experience for the couple to enjoy. Some couples are also perfectly OK with asking for cash.
13. Consider Your Extras
Think about the extras you want. Everything from entertainment, photography, and videography to photo-booths, kids entertainment and more…it’s important to make sure you’ve listed everything you want and make sure you factor it into your budget at the beginning of your wedding planning journey.