How To Set Your Budget

It can be a difficult step to come up with your wedding budget. You may just start by picking a figure out of a hat or you may sit down and come up with a detailed plan of what you would be able to save in the time you’ve given yourselves for your engagement but it’s difficult to know at the beginning how realistic these numbers are. I mean, how many of us start planning a wedding with knowledge of how much photographers, florists, venues etc cost? We most certainly didn’t when we started and there were a few surprises along the way!

But, setting a budget can help keep things in check as you start looking for and getting quotes from suppliers. So, how do you start to put together your budget?

  1. Work out how much you are going to be able to save during your engagement

Do you have savings you are going to use? 

How much of your salary can you afford to set aside each month? Be realistic here!

Will anyone be contributing? This can be an awkward conversation to have but if you think anyone will be wanting to help out and contribute then try to confirm this in the early stages so you know what you’re working with!

When you have an idea of what budget you’re looking at, have a discussion with each other over whether you are happy to spend this amount of money on your day. It’s important that both of you are on the same page when it comes to the budget!

It’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of suppliers provide bank details for cash transfers for deposits and balance payments so it may be worth getting a head start on saving to get funds together to be able to pay deposits before looking into suppliers. Suppliers will only confirm your booking once they receive your deposit so you don’t want to miss out!

2. Allocate 50% of your total to your venue

This should include:

  • Ceremony
  • Reception venue
  • Catering (canapes, wedding breakfast, evening food)
  • Drinks (welcome drinks. Drinks for table, champagne toast)

*** Hidden Costs***

In the UK it is a legal requirement to give notice of your marriage. Notices are valid for one year and you need to allow for a clear 28 days between your giving notice appointment and your wedding day as a minimum. As of 2019, this is currently £35 per person and can be done at the local registry office. You need to supply details of your wedding date and venue.  

As soon as your date is confirmed and venue is booked, buy your wedding insurance! You are going to be spending a lot of money and relying on a lot of different suppliers so it’s important to protect your spending! Most venues will insist on seeing your policy so it’s worth checking with them what they need the policy to cover.

3. Allocate 10% of your budget as a contingency

It’s important to bear in mind that things may crop up and it’s worth taking unexpected extra costs into account now to reduce any money related stress and worries further down the line

4. Priorities, priorities….

Create a list of your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” for your day, consider all aspects of your requirements:

Do you need to provide transport for guests from the ceremony to the reception venue?

Is live music a must for your evening entertainment?

Would a magician be a nice addition, budget allowing?

Are you including the honeymoon in the overall cost or treating that separately?

Allocate values to everything you’ve written down (on both lists). As you start getting quotes and confirming suppliers you can sacrifice things on the “nice-to-have’ list if you need to move the budget around based on the quotes you’ve received. Source suppliers for your list of essentials first.

It’s easy to get carried away when in the eye of the wedding planning storm so, this way, it’s easier to stay realistic about what you can afford.

5. Shop around

When sourcing suppliers, don’t be afraid to shop around. It’ll confirm whether you’re getting the right price for the services offered and will help reinforce if you’ve been realistic with your budget. 

Be realistic in what you are asking for. For e.g. if you’ve allocated a minimal amount to the florist but want them to dress the entire venue for the ceremony and reception then you may have to think about allocating more to this area if its essential for you. On the other hand, you could look into decorating the venue yourself to save on costs. 

6. Set up a spreadsheet

It is important to have a copy of your budget, be it written in a notebook, a wedding planner book, or on an app. A spreadsheet, however, can be the ideal set up as it can be shared between the two of you and can easily be updated when required. Keep a note of actual costs, payments made and balances due and deadlines.

7. Regularly review your budget

Be honest with yourselves. If saving isn’t going as well as you’d hoped or if you’ve spent more than planned on a certain supplier then go through and see what savings can be made. For e.g. if the wedding dress has gone slightly over budget then you can cut back on the wedding shoes or your accessories. 

Bear in mind that the bulk of your payments will be due 4-6 weeks before the big day so keeping on top of your budget will ensure that you don’t have a last minute panic right before the wedding and you’ll have the required money on hand. 

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