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Setting and Sticking to a Wedding Budget

So, you've worked through what you want for your wedding and what budget you have available to spend right now, you've also worked out your contingency or how to get extra funds. You know what your priorities are right? At this point you've got a pretty good idea of what you will need to spend your wedding budget on, but how do you divide up what you've got without missing out, overspending or making erroneous purchases? With this blog post I will run through the basics, to help you understand how to stick to your budget.

First things first

Set up or use a seperate account for your wedding planning. On-line accounts that are linked to other accounts you have are so easy to set up now. You can set up regular transfers to it, get other people to make deposits into it, have a debit or credit card linked to it. If you want to use a credit card to make your payments more secure, you can do but make sure you set it up to pay the full amount, otherwise you could rack up a massive debt (always check the full terms of the account).

All the budget breakdowns you'll find, tend to agree that you'll need around 30-50% of your funds just for the venue and food…

however large or small your wedding budget, but everything else is pretty much up for grabs so where do you start? The list of priorities you've written is key at this point. Photography/videography may well be the next biggest cost but if cake/decor/flowers is a bigger priority to you, sort that out first. Knowing your priorities will help you focus your funds to what you really want. Start with the biggies, don't go spending money on things further down the list until your top priorities are covered. The last thing you want, is to find you can't afford the things you really need because you've spent it on fripperies.

Stay focussed and you won't waste money you don't have.

Keeping to your budget can feel tough, and at times unrealistic, that is why you have a contingency fund, BUT it's not just there to spend willy-nilly. Your contingency fund is there for real emergencies so unless you're certain you can replace it don't go spending it early in your wedding planning journey.
There are tons of pretty wedding related things out there to tempt you into spending money. And lots of suppliers will tell you that you absolutely need their service. There may be some truth to the idea that you've missed something that you just hadn't even thought of, that's why you started with a checklist of everything someone else has thought of, but give yourself time to think about what you're being offered and whether it really is necessary or the deal you think it could be.

A 10% saving on something you didn't really want or need is no saving at all. So, avoid being tempted by 'one time only' offers.

The average costs that you see in magazines and on Pinterest are just a guide. If you haven't got £250 to spend on wedding rings don't feel guilty about it (I saw one budget planning post go as high as £2000 for rings!) but also don't go shopping where you know you'll never afford it. It's like those designer dress shops in the posh areas, if you need to ask the price, you can't afford it. But also, something like a wedding ring is likely to be replaced, repaired or updated over time (I'm on my second after losing my first wedding ring). For the bigger items, make sure you get a contract with the costs confirmed in writing and if things change make sure your contract is updated, and read the small print to ensure there are no hidden costs.

Set alerts to remind you of when payments are due, but a little bit ahead of the actual due date (for just in case!).

And keep doing the maths. An Excel spreadsheet may seem boring but if it's set up right you can keep tabs on what's coming and going. The key is making sure you have the funds available when you need them, so if you need to set a reminder a week or more before a big bill is due, make sure you do.
Don't forget that some suppliers will be happy to spread your payments making it easier for you to keep tabs. For lots of others, they'll expect a large final payment in the last few weeks before your wedding. By knowing in advance when they're due you can remind yourself that you don't necessarily have as much cash left nearer the big day as you think you do.

Remember that contingency fund we mentioned earlier?

Towards the end of your wedding planning ie in the last few days before your big day, you may realise there are last minute costs that you hadn't even considered. I'm going to write a whole other blog post about what some of these things might be, but the point is you've built a buffer for this very purpose. You don't want to suddenly go overdrawn just as you leave for your honeymoon or risk getting into huge debt. A wedding should be about the two of you celebrating your union, so having the omen of possibly spending the rest of your lives paying off the debt, is not starting your marriage on the right footing.

Short version: make a plan, stick to it and update it as you go along. And if you need someone to help you keep tabs, I'm here for you. X

NB I'm also planning a blog about how to get what you want when someone else is paying. X