So the venue and date is booked, we’ve strung out the engagement celebrations for as long as we possibly could – what is at the top of the to-do list now?
I see so many posts on Pinterest/wedding websites about wedding to-do lists and wedding checklists, which can be helpful to inspire your planning process – but remember there is no rule book to planning your own wedding, it is an individual experience and so online to-do lists might not work for you! Some of the lists also do miss out the very first thing I think all couples should think about: b u d g e t.
Now, if you are Kim K and having the most lavish wedding to happen this century, budget might not be a priority for you – but whether you have a big budget or a little budget, I do think it’s really important to look at this early into your plans so that you can prioritise your spending. From working with previous couples, I can’t count how many times I have heard them say that their budgets have gone out of the window, they have lost control of their spending or close to the wedding they have completely forgot to budget for wedding rings – this all contributes to last minute stress and anxiety before the day, which obviously we want to avoid completely!
My top tip for budgeting is to make yourself the holy grail of spreadsheets, this should include how much you want to spend over all on the wedding and then you can start to break it down into wedding categories; you can be as detailed as you want to be with this or simplify it into smaller categories – we found this was an ideal opportunity to think about each aspect of the wedding and decide what we wanted to include, also thinking about what we didn’t think was necessary. I decided to make a list of everything we wanted to have for our wedding day and have popped some examples below of our how we categorised our budget…
- Beauty Treatments
- Make up
- For ceremony
- For drinks reception
- For wedding breakfast
- For evening reception
- Additional Cakes?
- Hire Items
- Cake Topper
I found that the more detailed this was the more helpful it was – I know that I get stressed about money so I didn’t want to forget a single thing if we could help it! Also, some of the items I might not have to allocate any budget towards, as for example we might change our minds and not have any live music for during the meal – but we felt it was important to understand how much it would cost so at least we would know.
This spreadsheet also helped us to prioritise our plans as it wasn’t just an exercise for us to see how much we could afford to spend. For us, photography and videography was a number one priority – it is the one thing that (apart from the marriage!) is everlasting and is for you to keep and share forever, so we knew that we would definitely need to allocate more of the budget to this category. We also didn’t feel that we wanted a big statement cake and we wanted to spend more on music for the day, so this process helped us work that out!
I would always recommend to keep some money set aside as a contingency plan – just in case you miss an item out or if something crops up along the way, I would suggest around 10% of your overall budget and if you don’t need this then it can be a bonus last minute spend or go towards your honeymoon.
Once we had a (very long) list of everything we wanted for the day – I then started to work my way through understanding how much that would all cost. Some of the information I did already just know, so it is worth speaking to your own wedding coordinator to get some of the information – I found other prices by looking online but some categories were quite specific so I did need to speak to certain suppliers to gain quotes.
Your wedding budget is a ‘wed-min’ task to check in with every couple of weeks or months (depending on your timeline) as it can change quite frequently – due to number of guests changing or you simply have a change of heart towards a certain plan you had made or, you have fallen in love with something that must be incorporated into the plans and you will cut out your 3rd cousins from the guest list in order to have the budget for it! I’ve also found that I have then turned this into a to do list, as it has helped me work through the most important tasks and plan for what we can do closer to the time.
If you are a previous bride or groom, do you have any advice about budgeting? If you are soon to be married, what would your top tip be for budgeting? Pop a comment below as I would love to hear from you! But for now… back to my spreadsheet I go!