Each month Marie Haverly, The Wedding Expert and Founder of
Isabella Weddings, will be solving your top wedding woes.
This month she tackles the wedding budget!
So you’ve started looking at venues and dresses but you’re being asked that dreaded question every time you start to talk to suppliers – what’s your wedding budget? And it’s starting to freak you out a bit!
Of course, you do need to know what you can afford but where do you start with this? I have some tips for getting your finances under control when it comes to wedding planning, and hopefully I’ll help you overcome those common problems when discussing budgets with family and friends.
Who is paying?
The first thing you need to be clear on is who is paying? It was once traditional for the bride’s parents to cover most of the wedding costs, with the groom’s family contributing to areas such as the honeymoon and suit hire. Over the years things have moved on – today more and more couples tend to save and pay for their own wedding and this will no doubt have an impact on what you can afford. After all, if you’re spending someone else’s money it’s less stressful than spending your own hard-earned savings!
We’ve worked with couples many times where parents have contributed towards costs and this can result in them taking over the plans, however it doesn’t have to be this way. I believe that if your family are giving you some money then they deserve to have some kind of involvement in your wedding plans. How much and where they focus their help is your decision and something to be monitored so it doesn’t affect any delicate relationships. It’s easier sometimes to allocate a section of the budget to those wanting to contribute, rather than a set amount of money. Perhaps they could pay for the venue, dress or catering for example. This might help eliminate any awkward conversations about how much money is on the table, you just send them the invoice instead.
What matters most?
I would suggest you write a ‘Top 5’ list – what’s important to you both and where do you really want to invest your money. For example, if it’s not important to have amazing photos then don’t stress too much on getting a top-notch photographer. There are ways to save money and making a priority list is one way to ensure your financial focus is well tuned.
The guest list
The majority of your budget will be swallowed up by your venue; including food and drink for your guests, therefore if your budget is looking tight first think about reducing the guest list. The average cost per person can be around £200, so by re-visiting your guest list you could save yourselves a decent section of your budget without feeling the reduction in quality of the items for your wedding.
Remember also that when you are choosing your menu or wine, go for what you can afford as well as what you want for your guests. Your guests won’t know that you’ve gone for the cheapest option so don’t fret about this, but do make sure there’s plenty of food for everyone – the number one complaint by wedding guests is that the food ran out.
Lastly, enjoy your planning! Set a budget and stick to it – put a small amount away for contingency, then if you don’t spend this you can treat yourselves on honeymoon as a reward for not overspending!