GAAAAAAH. No one likes talking money. It’s not very British, is it? But let’s be real – the wedding industry is worth millions; and as soon as you say the word ‘wedding’ you can potentially be adding an extra few £££ to the cost.
So, unless you’re very wealthy, you’ve got to keep an eye on your costs. You don’t want to be starting married life in loads of debt, right?
Right – let’s work out your budget.
Questions to ask:
How much can you reasonably afford to save?
Out of your monthly income, minus bills, food, petrol, upcoming events and usual outgoings. Then minus usual savings. This should give you an idea of how much is left for your wedding pot.
You might want to lower the amount you’re putting into regular savings and add it to your wedding pot instead. But my advice would be to still make sure you’ve got a rainy day fund going. Shit happens – for example, other halve’s car needed some repairs – and it wasn’t suddenly going to go away because a wedding needs paying for!
Will family be contributing?
Money talk is tough but it’s better to broach the subject with parents now, rather than create a budget which relies on their money- then not getting it.
My parents and my other halve’s parents have made a contribution to our fund, which is so nice of them. But we never expected it. We planned our budget without that money to ensure we could afford what we’d planned.
You can use this worksheet to make a note of estimated costs and total overall spend –
So when is the big day?
Once you have your budget set, you need to work out the date-to-cash ratio.
How long will it take you to save the money you need to afford the wedding? Six months, a year, 18 months?
Once you know this, you can look at venues and set your date!
According to the experts, here’s how much of your budget you can expect to devote to each piece of the wedding pie:
Reception: 50 per cent
Ceremony: 5 per cent
Attire: 10 per cent
Flowers: 8-10 per cent
Entertainment/Music: 10 per cent
Photography/Videography: 10 per cent
Stationery: 2-3 per cent
Wedding Rings: 2 per cent
Transportation: 2-3 per cent
Yea…the bits and pieces can soon add up! Need to save some cash?
Cut the guest list
It might sound harsh at first, but each guest can add up to £200 to the bill. If there’s someone you haven’t spoken to in years, can you consider inviting them solely to the evening – if at all?
Consider Printing Costs
Getting your invitations designed and ordered yourself can save you a stack against going to a bespoke design company. And beware the costs of colours – keeping it one colour rather than two may come out cheaper.
Substitute With Less Expensive Flowers
If you want peonies but your wedding is in winter, that may well cost you a lot more, as your florist will have to go to a specialist supplier. If you choose flowers that are naturally in bloom during your wedding season, they’ll be much easier for your florist to get hold of and therefore cost you less.
Or – you could consider DIY blooms? If you’re lucky enough to live near a flower market and you have time (and a couple of helpers), you could put your bouquets together yourself.
If you’ve got a creative eye and plenty of time, you could consider fake flowers. Just make sure they look realistic – there are some great tips here – and try places like Dunelm for decent-looking inexpensive blooms.
Simplify your menu (we’ll go into this further in our venue post)
Any wedding planner worth their salt will tell you to only cater for around 15-20 per cent of your total evening guests during the evening. Why? Chances are if you buy any more than that, a lot will go to waste.
Your day guests will likely be full from a three-course wedding breakfast, and it’s likely that your evening guests will have sorted themselves some food before they arrive at your reception.
To save even more, you could ask a small group of your guests to bring some food as your wedding present.