I have never been a fan of maths, so I never imagined planning my wedding would force me to evolve into a spread-sheet Queen.
There are so many intricate decisions involved in planning so it helps massively to plan ahead and be budget savvy.
I quickly learned during my own engagement, that until we knuckled down on our budget and had an understanding of what things ‘actually’ cost, we couldn’t plan a single solitary thing!
Your budget will dictate everything; from where, when and what year you get married, from how many people, to the entertainment, fashion and finishing touches. There’s no escaping it my beauty until you have worked out your budget (properly and not just in your head or on Pinterest!) you cannot plan accurately.
It’s so easy to get seduced into the engagement euphoria and want to book every single wedding service known to mankind, (especially seductive when many services don’t request full payment for many months later). None of us want to start married life off in a pool of debt, so as much as I have a disdain for number crunching, it really is sensible to be on top of your budget BEFORE you start spending.
Ask your Parents
Don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy feat and as a grown adult, asking yours or your partners’ parents for money will always feel awkward.
Whilst historically there are traditions outlining who pays for what. But in the modern UK, it’s becoming more common for wedding costs to be shared between couples and both families, or even entirely hosted by the couple.
If want to get on top of your budget and to have an understanding of the type of wedding you can afford to have, you need to ask the question.
If anything, what can they / what would they like to gift towards your wedding? If the answer is 0 (which is perfectly ok), you can manage your expectations about the amount of money you can save and spend on your day.
Before you can start budgeting, you need to have an understanding of what things ‘actually’ cost in the industry!
Be savvy and do some research around the Internet and obtain at least 3 like-for-like quotes on a service/product. This enables you to make informed decisions when considering budgets and it also makes you aware of what things in the wedding industry should and should NOT cost!
Make your money go further
Look at your disposable income. (Here’s the boring part – but it’s worth it, so bear with me)…. On average we have 25% of our income that we spend on ‘stuff’ we don’t need every month.
Go through your statement for one month, be honest about what is unnecessary expenditure and figure out where you can save money from your current income. Saving just 10% of this, each month can go a long way in your wedding planning pot of money.
You may have noticed since you’ve been engaged, your social diary is suddenly booming! Instead of going out each time, be savvier and invite friends round for dinner instead.
Include a contingency fund
Be sensible and include a contingency fund as part of your overall budget. 10% is usually recommended if you can set aside greater.
A contingency fund helps to absorb unexpected costs, or if you discovered the dream dress you budgeted £900 actually costs £3000.
If you have money left over after your wedding – what a bonus! Add it to your honeymoon fund, or perhaps put it towards doing something special on your 1st year anniversary.
Learn to love Excel
Become an expert on Excel and keep a record of ‘actual’ and ‘projected’ costs and deadline for when payments need to be made. Here’s a great template by UK wedding planner; Always Andri via Bridal Musings.
I remember (on the rare occasion) when I came in under budget, I felt like doing a backflip!
Juggling so many suppliers you need to be organized and it can get overwhelming on top of life | day job |motherhood (insert applicable)! So if you get started on the right foot and spend a little time, in the beginning, doing mundane tasks like budgeting, it will help you and feel less challenging in the long run.