Budget planning for your wedding is so extremely important, and most brides don’t realise just how important it is. It’s no good playing it by ear, not unless you’ve got the money to spare for going way over budget. Another huge, and common, mistake is brides planning their budgets around their wedding, not their wedding around their budget.
We all have that DREAM venue, or that DREAM dress, but be realistic; can you afford it? If you desperately want it, then do include it in your budget, but make savings elsewhere. You’re spending extra on the dream dress, so maybe opt for a buffet instead of a sit down meal. You’re getting your dream venue despite the extra money? Don’t provide any drinks for toasts etc. Bear in mind that your Groom may have other ideas on what’s important, so be sure to sit down and talk about what you both want from your wedding day.
As a bride these are the tough choices you’ll need to make. To help you on your way, here is a complete budget planner, including a few blank lines at the end for anything that may be missing (God forbid!)
Click to download: CRAFTY BRIDES Budget Planner
For further tips on managing your budget, and your own expectations…
Planning your wedding around your budget
“Plan your wedding around your budget, not your budget around your wedding” – what does this really mean? Many brides simply don’t know where to start, and don’t understand how they can set a budget when they don’t know the cost of things. You’re right, you’ve never shopped for a wedding cake so you can’t possibly know how to budget for one. If you just pluck a number from the air you’re likely to be way off the mark.
My suggestion is to have a little browse, not hugely in depth, just to see what kind of prices you’re looking at, then you’ll be in a better position to decide what you’re looking to spend on things.
Think about how that budget is going to be distributed amongst the areas of your wedding. Below is a common representation of this:
Venue (including food, drinks, decor): 40 – 50%
Bride’s and groom’s attire: 5 – 10%
Entertainment: 5 – 10%
Miscellaneous (Favours, Transportation, Etc.): 10%
Cushioning for unexpected costs: 5%
Remember that if you decide to use a wedding planner, the usual fee is 10 – 15% of your budget.
This is very vague, and obviously doesn’t take into account things like stationery, etc.
Don’t ever, EVER get yourself into debt over a wedding. Starting your married life in debt is a terrible idea and will add to any existing stress you may be experiencing. This includes using credit cards etc. Don’t charge anything to your card unless you’re sure you can pay of the balance on your next pay-day.
Never agree to upgrades on drinks, linens, makeup etc without asking if they cost extra first. Do not make a decision on the day, explain that you didn’t budget for the extra cost and you need to go away and think about it. Any vendor that tries to pressure you into decisions is not worth using.
Don’t go over budget. Make your budget and stick to it! If you fall in love with a venue that is over your budget, take a fresh look at your budget before making a decision, maybe there is somewhere else that you can make a saving to accommodate the venue. CHECK THAT YOU CAN MAKE THE SAVINGS BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY BOOKINGS! Don’t just assume that because it’s “only” x-amount extra that you can save that amount.
Don’t forget to keep track of the little purchases; it’s these small amounts that run away from you. £10 or £20 here and there soon add up. This is especially important if you are taking on DIY projects. Be sure to budget for card stock, coloured ink, ribbons, etc. Accounting for these little amounts may seem silly, but you’ll be glad of it when you realise what all these little figures add up to.
Don’t under-budget for guests. It is much better to over-estimate how many guests than to under-estimate. Assume that all invited guests are coming until they say otherwise. Which leads me to my next, somewhat harsh, point.
Don’t invite guests that you think are flaky. This sounds terrible, I know, but we all know people that have a habit of saying yes, yes, yes, and then the day comes and suddenly they can’t make it. Someone cancelling on your wedding at the last minute may have already cost you £100, once you take into account catering costs, place cards/other stationery, favours etc. Once you’ve invited your nearest and dearest, think hard about who you’re inviting.
Do talk all budget decisions over with the Groom. If your parents’ are contributing, be respectful and discuss the budget with them too.
Do research weddings in your area to get an idea of costing, then sit down with your Groom and discuss the information and how much you can afford.
Do have an idea of when you’d like to get married, this will give you an idea of how long you have to save up to help you get a baseline for your budget.
Do shop around, and don’t be afraid of asking for discounts. Your dream venue costs too much, but go and see it anyway, then tell them you have another venue to see and you will get back to them. Call them later and tell them you prefer their venue, but the other is more in your budget. They may be willing to help you out. If you aren’t confident with the haggling angle, then be upfront and let the venue know your budget before you tour it. With that information in mind they will be able to accommodate you by letting you know what costs extra and discussing what you could consider leaving out.
Do remember that the minute the word “wedding” comes into play, the prices sky-rocket. Try requesting prices on a “celebration” cake, or shop for bridesmaid dresses online/in department stores, but not in the bridesmaids sections. Try searching for the style of dresses you have in mind, and avoid using the word “bridesmaid”.
Do utilise sales and websites such as eBay; you can buy brand new items at a fraction of the cost. Even charity shops can help you out with sorting things like center pieces.
Happy budget planning!