Today we’re venturing onto a subject that pretty much everyone hates talking about: the wedding budget. It’s that fat elephant in the room standing between you and that Vera Wang dress. You’re going to have to deal with it at some point though and the sooner it’s decided upon, the sooner you can start getting to the fun stuff, like making bridal boutique appointments! But where on earth do you start? How much does a wedding cost these days? What should you spend? Of course, there isn’t a fixed answer and really what it will come down to is the location, size and style of wedding that you end up having. Today’s top wedding budgeting tips should set you on the path of researching, deciding on a final figure, managing that magic number and getting the most for your money.
1. FIND YOUR “COMFORT” FIGURE
This is hopefully something you have already touched on during the chat you had with your fiancé about making important wedding decisions. You should both be on the same page when it comes to the final figure that will be spent, regardless of where the money is going to come from. Are you comfortable with a certain number? Every couple is different but it’s important to know what feels right for both of you. As an example, even if I had the money, I personally couldn’t blow more than my year’s salary on a wedding. I would rather invest in our marriage, our house, our life together. A friend of mine who is also engaged feels differently, and importantly, so does her fiancé. They have decided on a long engagement so that they have time to save especially for their wedding day. They are both content to spend in excess of 65k for their nuptials and I’m delighted for them. Bottom line, find your comfort figure before you spend a cent.
There is nothing worse than setting a budget only to realise that it won’t let you anywhere near the wedding you have been dreaming about. Before you look at setting a budget, it’s worth having a shop around. Email various suppliers and venues that appeal to you to get a feel for what that type of wedding is going to cost you. The important thing here is that you don’t actually go and book anything too soon- you are just browsing. Spend a little bit of time looking at other options also, like a destination wedding for example. How do costs compare, how do you feel about it? Gut feelings are always a great thing to go on!
3. FIND OUT IF FAMILY WISH TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE WEDDING
This can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning, mainly because no one wants to sit down with family members and awkwardly bring it up. With so many couples today already living together before becoming engaged and deciding to get married a little later in life because they have chosen to focus on establishing a successful career for themselves first, it has kind of blurred the lines of tradition. It’s not so common anymore for the bride’s family to pay for the entire wedding. In fact, many couples that can afford to pay for their wedding themselves prefer to do so because it gives them the total freedom to invite who they want, host the wedding where they want and have it when they want it. Whether you need it or not, it’s best to find out early on whether anyone else is going to be contributing towards your wedding or indeed paying for the entire thing. How you bring it up will depend on family dynamics but it’s important to be considerate of their ability to contribute before you ask for anything. It might be more appropriate to suggest that they pay for certain wedding items, like the stationery for example. You will know what’s best.
4. CONSIDER THE YEAR AHEAD
Before you finalise money matters, or indeed book anything it’s wise to really consider the year ahead. Are jobs secure if you are paying for it yourselves? What about your parents, are they in a good position financially? We don’t mean to take any of the excitement out of it but it helps to just look at everything long term. You will feel better spending knowing that you have really assessed your personal situation.
5. FINALISE THE FIGURE
As soon as you are happy and you know who will be contributing towards your wedding, it’s time to write it all down to get the final figure. It might be that your parents have agreed to pay for particular items such as your wedding dress and the wedding dinner, and the groom’s parents wish to pay for the drinks reception, so try put a monetary value on these items and run it by them to make sure it’s all ok.
6. THE CONTINGENCY BUDGET
Whatever the final figure is, take 10% off it. This is your new final figure! Things always end up costing more and unexpected wedding bills will always come through the door. By working with 90% of your budget at all times, you have a better chance of staying on track.
Regardless of how much you have to spend, making a list of your top five must haves in order of importance will help when it comes to allocating your budget. For some people, the photographer will be more important than the wedding band, so you might want to compromise on the hours your band plays in order to book the photographer you really want.
8. KEEP ORGANISED AND MANAGE YOUR WEDDING BUDGET
You know your budget and where it’s coming from, you have a fair idea of the things that are important to you and you are ready to start making some decisions. That’s amazing. So, what next? Knowing how to manage it. We have made it simple by putting together this budget management tool, designed to allow you to input your own percentages against your prioritsed services. Everything will self populate and you can keep track of where you are spending, whether or not you are overspending and where you need to cut back. Because we are a destination wedding blog, we have allocated a nice sum towards travel expenses but you can edit this document to suit your own needs. To download, click on the image below. This will take you to a Google documents page. Go to File and then Save at the very bottom. Easy!