How to set a wedding budget

barn weddingSetting a budget for your wedding is no easy task, it is however a very important step in preparing for your wedding. Unless you’re so rich that money is no object, then a wedding budget will help you plan and prepare for your wedding, ensuring that you don’t spend too much and also making sure you set aside enough cash for the aspects of your wedding that are the most important to you. Setting a budget definitely won’t be the most exciting thing you do during your wedding planning but it will provide you with a clear plan and will set you up to have the best wedding day ever, which is pretty exciting! Here are my top tips for setting your wedding budget:

Research costs before you set your budget

Researching costs before you set a wedding budget may seem obvious but you’d be surprised by how many couples skip this step! You may only want to spend £5000 on your wedding, which is perfectly doable, however if you had only set aside £100 for your flowers, and later realised you can’t achieve the look you want within this budget, this could leave you feeling disappointed. Before you pull a number out of thin air when deciding on your overall wedding spend, it’s important to look into venues, suppliers, outfits etc. Different suppliers and different venues will all be charging different prices based off what they offer, look into a few different options and this way you can come up with an planned and informed budget.

Set a list of priorities

Some people couldn’t care less about a wedding cake, but to others it’s a top priority. Some couples want enough flowers to fill a meadow at their reception but for some couples they don’t want any flowers at all. Every couple and every wedding is different, this is what makes them so lovely! After you have set an overall, informed budget for your wedding you can now start planning a list of priorities with your partner where you’d like to spend more, and also aspects where you’re happy to compromise and spend a bit less. For myself for example, my priority would be a photographer and a band and I would be happy to allocate a large portion of the wedding budget to those things, however I’d be happy to spend less on a wedding dress and a venue. This is something you need to think about together and it’s likely you’ll both have to compromise a little bit to keep each other happy, but they do say marriage is all about compromise, so you may as well start now!

Create a savings plan

Again creating a savings plan isn’t a very exciting part of wedding planning but it is important and I promise it will make the overall process much more stress-free if you’re not worrying about money! You may already have enough set aside and not need to save, your parents might be paying for it for you or contributing in some way. For most of us though we’ll need to save up over a year or so to make sure we have enough to pay all the suppliers balances on time. The best way to do this is to add up your monthly expenditure and take this away from your earnings. There may be some things that you’re willing to cut down on for the time being to help you save a bit more, this could be a subscription box or just going out for less meals. As soon as you’ve decided how much you are able to save each month make sure you set this amount up as a direct debit to a savings account as soon as you get paid. The amount of times I’ve tried to save money by moving over what was left in my current account each month, only for there to have been nothing left. You have to prioritise your savings goals and set that money aside as though it’s another bill.

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of invoices

There are so many suppliers involved in weddings it can be hard to keep track of what money is due when. The last thing you need in the run up to your wedding is an unexpected invoice. All of your suppliers should provide you with a contract when you book them, (please don’t book anyone without a contract in place!), make sure you read the contract as this usually explains when your next payment will be due. You can then input all these into a fancy spreadsheet that will help you keep track of who needs to be paid and when. You can then feel smug about how organised you are and get back to the much more exciting aspects of wedding planning like menu tasting or an engagement shoot!

Ways to stretch your budget:
DIY/Village Hall venue

It’s no secret that I love a village hall wedding. Village halls can be some real hidden gems and they also have the added bonus of being really cheap wedding venues. If you’re not too fussed about WHERE you get married and are up for a bit of extra work to make the venue look beautiful then a village hall is a really brilliant thing to consider. All the DIY and village hall weddings I’ve shot have all been really unique and memorable. Traditional wedding venues are beautiful however they can take up a good chunk of a wedding budget.

Smaller guest list

My parents always joke that their wedding cost them nothing because they held it on a Monday and only invited 10 people. Every time they tell me I roll my eyes, however as much as I hate to admit it, they had a point. Your guest list doesn’t have to be a low as 10, but usually the less people you invite the cheaper your wedding will be, you can hire a smaller venue, you won’t spend as much on food and you can even save on sending out fewer invites.

Get married out of season

A lot of venues charge less for weddings that take place in the quieter seasons. If you don’t mind having your wedding in Autumn or Winter then this could be a great way to save a couple of thousand! Not every venue offers pricing based on season, some have a set price all year round and most suppliers have a set price all year round but it’s definitely something that’s worth considering.

Get married on a weekday

Again, some venues charge less for weekday weddings as they’re less common. You do need to bare in mind with this though that some of your guests may not be able to get the time off work for this, especially if they’re teachers and it’s term time!

Do It Yourself

It’s worth noting that a DIY wedding isn’t always cheaper. This is why it’s important to do your research about costs first and also to bear in mind how long all the DIY tasks you want to do will take you. This way you can work out what is worth doing yourself and what you’re better off paying someone else to do for you. You may think about doing your own venue dressing, this could be cheaper but you need to add up how much time it will take you, how much everything will cost to buy and then make the decision on whether it will just be easier and in some cases cheaper, to hire someone to do this for you.

Good luck with all your wedding planning!

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