Weddings can be expensive - and it's so easy to get caught up in the romance of the planning, and forget to stick to a budget, or even create one! You also might find that the ideas you have for your wedding don't match what you can afford.
In 2019, the average wedding cost £31,974 (according to Hitched's National Wedding Survey), but whether your budget is bigger or smaller, I'll share some tips and helpful advice to make sure you stay within your budget!
So read on to find out more!
1. Set a budget
The most important task definitely won’t be the most enjoyable part of planning but, even if you hate talking about money, it’s really important to make sure you have a clear budget to avoid getting into debt or wasting time looking at things you simply can’t afford.
Sit down with your partner and make a plan - how much can you realistically afford to spend? How much might you be able to save? How much do you want to spend?
Make sure you keep some savings aside, just in case the clutch goes in the car, or you need a new boiler!
Find out if anyone else is willing to contribute - this is always a tricky conversation to have, so why not ask if they want to help with the planning, and they might mention money, or just ask outright!
Even when you have an overall wedding budget set, you still need to make sure that you break down the main elements of your day, and you know what your maximum budget should be for each of the things like hiring the venue, food and drink, entertainment, and your outfits. Flowers by BluBelle Creative
Photo by M & J Photography
2. Create a rough guest list
The size of your guest list will determine roughly how much you will need to spend, and therefore how much you need to save.
If you're looking at up to 50 guests, why not look for smaller venues that have an intimate and personal space at a cheaper price e.g. a private room in a pub or restaurant.
Lots of venues easily cater to 50-100 guests, so find out how much venues in your area charge and what the cost per head for catering might be.
For over 150 guests, you will need a larger
Stationery by Tabitha Kate venue and will need to accept this will cost
you more – but there are plenty of smart
ways to save, like a midweek wedding, dry
hire, or only hiring a section of the venue.
3. Set a list of non-negotiables
I would highly recommend a good photographer be top of this list.
What about an open bar? Fancy invitations? Photo booth? A ceilidh band for the evening reception? If you can’t imagine marrying without these things, you need to prioritise the budget for them and look to save elsewhere. But be sensible about this - and stick to only two or three, or you will quickly run out of budget! Stationery by Celebrationery
Photo by Sophie Mort Photography
Book your priority vendors first (venue, photographer, catering, band/DJ) so you can continually adjust how much you have to spend in other areas as you move forward.
4. Add a contingency budget
Set aside 10-15% of your budget as a contingency for little costs that will pop up that you hadn't thought about.
You’ll want to have around £500 spare for the wedding day too: just in case the cars don’t turn up and you need a taxi, a replacement bridesmaid dress needs to be found, and for the food and celebratory drink you need to have while you're getting ready. And if you don’t use it? That’s £500 for you to spend on your honeymoon!
5. Make a spreadsheet
I LOVE a spreadsheet. I am the absolute queen of organisation, or I try to be, at least, so this would always be one of my tips!
If the thought of opening Excel makes you feel a bit sick, don’t put it off! It is such a quick and easy way to keep all of your information together in an easy format, as well as calculating your budget
as you go.
6. Double check - have you missed anything?
Things that you might easily forget could be:
Stationery for the day: order of service, menu and place cards
Marriage licence/registrar fees
Wedding party gifts
Hen or stag party costs
Extra reception décor, like lighting hire
New clothes for your honeymoon
Stamps for your invitations
More than one hair and makeup trial
Hotel rooms for the night before the wedding
Post-wedding extras: thank you cards, preserving your wedding dress
7. Tips to help your money go further
Use a 0% interest credit card. This is a great way to pay a deposit for a supplier, and your deposits will be protected if the company goes bust. However, make sure you can pay the balance in full by the end of the 0% period or you could go into debt.
Set up a separate bank account for wedding costs and take advantage of new account offers. Some banks will give you a cash incentive for setting up a new account or free travel insurance, which could cover your honeymoon.
Before you book any suppliers, sign any contracts or buy anything at all, make sure you get at least two quotes from each type of supplier (and check whether or not they’ve included VAT in the quote, or if there are any hidden extras that can drastically alter the price).
Flowers by Meadow and Mulberry
Photo by Sophie Mort Photography
Feel free to share your top tips for budgeting below - and I'll add them to my list!
Happy wedding planning!