I know, I know, you’re sooo excited about your recent engagement and your wedding – why do we have to talk about money!?
However, without establishing your budget up front, you could end up in a real mess in a few months time. It’s very easy to start booking things and before you know if you’ve blown all your money on three things and there’s nothing left for the rest of the day. Consequently, this really does need to be one of the first things that you do.
Do not worry though! You don’t have to do it by yourself. Louise from Your Fabulous Wedding, an experienced wedding planner, is here to share her wisdom.
1. The Estimated Budget
First, you need to come up with an estimated budget that you want to work within. To do this you need to think about the following:
What are you happy to spend on your wedding? Don’t feel pressured to go for a higher budget just because someone else did. You know the saying: “We spend money on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.” You have to be comfortable spending this money on one (albeit very special) day.
As a guide, the average spend in the UK is around £25,000. Nevertheless, you absolutely don’t have to spend that much. There are lots of ways to save money which I’ll talk about in future blogs. Some couples spend less than £5000 but to achieve this you’ll need to really shop around as well as making some things yourself.
Will you have any contributions from family members? If no-one has offered so far, it’s probably best to assume that you will be funding everything yourself.
Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding and the groom paid for the honeymoon. Things have changed a lot though and many couples now pay for everything themselves. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some sort of contribution from family but this obviously depends on your family circumstances.
Do you have any savings you are happy to use? Will you get a loan? Will you be using some of your monthly income each month to pay for things?
I can’t give you any financial advice so you’ll have to figure this one out yourself I’m afraid. Whatever you decide, you both need to be comfortable with it and never overstretch yourselves.
Hopefully, this will enable you to come up with a ballpark figure to start with.
2. Refining the Budget
Now that you’ve got an idea of your budget — you need to try to refine it.
List out the things you will need to pay for. Try to think through every part of the day so you don’t miss anything. My budget planner example below should give you a good guide for this.
Next, you need to agree which elements are most important to you so you can allocate more budget to those. There may be some items on there that you don’t want or need. Make sure you only include the relevant items.
On the contrary, there may be something else you want that I haven’t included on this planner, like a warming shawl to keep you cosy on the outside photo session.
Take time to work out what you really desire: An ice cream van maybe? Fish and chip van? A Prosecco cart?
What about the wedding venue? (download our venue checklist to cover all the important points)
It’s imperative at this point to have an open honest conversation with your partner. Make sure you’re in agreement about your priorities. Don’t assume that you both know what the other will want – there are often surprises here.
Be realistic & honest with yourself about what you can afford. You still have to eat and pay your bills!!
If it means you have to wait another year, surely this is better than having no money to live on. And you absolutely shouldn’t get yourselves into a position where you’re struggling to cover your regular bills and outgoings because of your wedding spend.
Get some initial quotes from a number of suppliers to help to build up your understanding of what things will cost.
3. Managing your spend
Use a spreadsheet (doesn’t need to be a very complex one) to record and track your costs. You can also use this to record the deposits you have paid and when the balance is due. Additionally, include the details of your suppliers, to have all the info in one place.
Make sure you have some contingency included in your budget. Things can change and you may need some extra money to be able to invite a few more guests for example. Or your priorities may shift as you get further into your planning.
If possible, I always advise my couples to pay the balances for everything ahead of the big day. It’s one less thing to worry about on the day.