Everyone wants their dream wedding. Unfortunately in life you have things like budgets that can really put the brakes on any plans that you might have. The good news is that it doesn’t matter what kind of budgetary constraints you have, as long as you plan carefully and stick to your guns, you can still have the wedding you’ve always wanted.
The thing with wedding planning is that you can’t always estimate just how much each aspect of your wedding will cost in advance. It’s not until you are in the midst of organizing that the precise costs of each aspect becomes known. So before you do anything else, set your budget.
Set The Budget
Before you start planning for your wedding, you should know the definite amount of money you will be working with. Take note of what you have saved up. Talk to the other parties involved like your parents or your better half’s parents and see how much they are contributing. This is the time to ask them to give you specific amounts.
Sometimes families like to finance a specific aspect of the wedding, for example catering for the reception or the venue. In such case, make sure you know which aspect they want to finance and what their budget for those things is.
Katie from Orla James agreed “It’s easy to get carried away with spending when planning your wedding, you budget a certain amount in one area – see something you love twice your budget and slip up. Then other areas end up suffering, you have to be vigilant!”
Make a Priority List
Once you have a budget, you should now start thinking up of all the things you want at your wedding and putting them down in a list. See which of these aspects is the most important to you. It might be catering, or the wedding dress, maybe the venue. Prioritize your list and start affixing a percentage of your budget to each item.
This is perhaps the most important task of budgeting, so take your time. Keep the budget slightly flexible, just enough so that you can spend more on certain things without overshooting your budget, but keep it tight enough so that you never lose control. You can do this by pinpointing your top priorities and giving yourself the option of spending more on them, but adjusting this overspend against things at the bottom of your priority list.
Remember, your budget is meant to help you control your spending. But it should not take away from your wedding either. It is a fine line, one which you have to walk to be successful.
Picking the Right Location and Theme
Some locations and themes are inherently more expensive than others. If you want a grand wedding at a popular ballroom with a five course menu in the middle of London, you can’t really expect to save much money. Compare that to a simple ceremony in the countryside, things are bound to be much cheaper. You could use the saved money from the location and theme on your wedding dress or even on the entertainment. It is all about priorities, and you should know where yours lie.
Guest List Size
Guest lists are directly responsible for a number of your cost heads. Food, drinks, seating, decoration and even venue, all depend on the size of your guest list. In that regard, it is your strongest changeable metric that will directly affect the cost of your wedding. If you are dead set on your menu but it is overshooting its budget, consider a smaller guest list. The knock-on effect will result in you saving money in many aspects. These aspects individually may seem insignificant at the time but together they are quite significant.
Date and Time
When planning your wedding consider the date and time that you want your wedding to be at. You might not think it but there is a wedding season, and during this time everything is much more expensive. Furthermore, an evening function is bound to be more expensive than an afternoon affair, because you save on lighting, food and drinks. Pick a time and date that helps you meet your budget goals.
Staying on Budget
The important thing to realize is that every single dollar is important. You might think that spending an extra dollar per person on catering won’t hurt you, but it will as things start to pile up.
It is best to re-evaluate your budget every once in a while and see if it needs to be adjusted. You might find out that stationary is more expensive than you thought. You could eliminate the cost altogether by switching to email invitations only. Or you could make room in the budget for the increased cost by taking money out of entertainment. It is these kinds of choices that you will be making all the time. Don’t feel pressured, take your time and make the call.
Sarah from Orla James dreams of all things wedding ever since the question was popped 6 months ago, now looking at organising her big day, she writes content for wedding blogs. Fortunate enough to live in sunny Worthing, if you want to find her – She’ll be at the beach.