Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Ahhh! Budget planning! This is the bit that every newly engaged couple loves to plan out.... ammiright?
Well, maybe not. But it's definitely going to be the most important part of your wedding planning journey, and the most difficult bit to keep in check!!!
So here are my tips and info on setting your budget. And sticking to it!
1. So how much does a wedding actually cost???
There's no easy or set answer to this. According to Hitched, your average wedding in the UK in 2019, was ***are you sitting down?*** £31,974. Which was actually down £300 from 2018!!!
But don't panic! There are plenty of ways to make sure that you have the day you've been dreaming of - whatever your budget.
Read on for more ideas...
2. How much do people spend on each element of their wedding?
According to Wedding Wire, in 2019 we spent our wedding budget as follows...
48% on the wedding reception,
16% on the honeymoon,
10% on photography and videography,
7% on the bridal attire,
3% each on the music, and flowers & decor,
2% each on the ceremony, transportation, jewellery, and groom's attire,
1% each on the invitations, favours, and beauty...
BUT! I'd say not to use this as a cut-and-paste template for your own wedding, as everyone is different and will have very different priorities for their big day. For example, my husband and I spent less on the flowers and more on the band - less on the transport and more on the honeymoon... So have a good think about how you'd like to split your budget first and do a bit of research into how much stuff costs (or get a planner on board, who will do all the leg work for you!)
3. Work out the 3 most important elements of your wedding...
I will ALWAYS recommend sitting down with your fiancé(e) and figuring out what your biggest priorities are for your wedding day.
Do you want a stunning, stylish affair with tonnes of flowers and table decorations? Are you after a top notch caterer, or planning on blowing the budget on the best dress? Always work this bit out super early in the planning process; and then if there are any compromises to be made over budget limits, you know where you can cut costs first.
4. Keep a spreadsheet of your spends!
As I mentioned above - it is SO easy to get carried away when it comes to your wedding. You'll find yourself setting a budget of a grand for your dress, and then spot that designer gown for twice as much! Or your nan will want to invite along her friend Dotty from down the road. Or you'll forget that you need to bus 65 people from the church to the reception.
Always keep tabs on your spends. It's really boring, but even if you're buying a few votive candle holders it's worth keeping track, as a few extra quid here and there can turn into £100s and soon your budget has spiralled. Again, if you really want to stick to budget, you can hire a planner who can do all of this for you.
5. When do my suppliers need paying?
Keep this in mind when planning your wedding. Most suppliers will require a non-refundable deposit upfront in order to secure your wedding date. The rest of the payment will need to be made in the weeks running up to your wedding date, with each supplier having a different requirement. When you sign your contract with them, be sure to check this over so that you know when to pay them. (Just a note: I offer payment reminders as part of my planning packages if you need them)
6. Keep an eye on your guest numbers...
The biggest driver of your wedding budget is often how many people you invite! Don't forget that you will need to feed and water all of your wedding guests, and maybe provide transportation, cake, favours... even chair hire and chair covers can drive your costs up. A lot of venues will include a certain amount of daytime and nighttime guests in their wedding packages, and you'll be charged per head for everybody over that amount.
This bit is easy to go spiralling out of control. You'll never know how many people you're related to until you sit down and hash it out with your folks. But more on guests lists at a later date...
7. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
This tip comes with caution. If you're asking friends and family to help out (if your aunty makes cakes, your dad is a florist, your bridesmaid is a hairdresser); make sure you're absolutely sure that they are reliable and you adore their style and how they work.
I know first hand that having your friends and family kindly lend their talents to your wedding day celebrations can not only greatly help you along with costs - it will make your big day that much more special and personal to you. I highly recommend it!
8. What are you including in your budget?
Are you buying your bridesmaids' dresses, or are they going to be providing their own? If your bridesmaids are wearing their own dresses, you will need to be more relaxed about the style of them as they will naturally want more of a say over what they are buying. Will your wedding rings be included in the budget? What about sending wedding gifts to your bridal party? All of these things add up and need to be taken care of!
9. Is your honeymoon part of your budget, or coming from a separate pot?
You don't have to go on your honeymoon immediately after your big day if it will help you to save up some more money. Another option that has become popular is to request donations towards your honeymoon as wedding gifts, particularly as many engaged couples have been living together for a while and have all of the homeware that they need already.
It may depend on the formality of your celebrations as to whether you can request monetary gifts, but if you feel that you can, you could include a nice card in with your invites, set up a JustGiving page for a really modern wedding, or join a website that offers guests the opportunity to donate towards particular activities for you to enjoy if they want to.
10. Oh wait... Did I mention hire a wedding planner?!?
I might have touched on this once or twice, >_< but it's going to be the easiest and most cost effective way of sticking to your budget. Your planner will have links to the wedding supplier world and will know where you can get the best quality products and services for the most competitive price.
They usually charge a percentage of your budget, but could save you a lot more; and they'll be able to advise you on how you can work together to achieve your dream day without blowing the bank.
It's time! Grab your partner, a calculator, and a brew. Get your spreadsheet fired up and hash it out. What do you have to spend, who can you rope in to help out, and what do you want from your wedding day?
Remember you can always give me a shout if you get stuck. Good luck!!!