Stories from Your Wedding Friend - The Wedding Planner's Blog
Many couples struggle with their wedding budget at some point, trying to afford everything they want for their wedding day, even those with pretty big budgets. But for lots of people the key to getting the most for what you can afford is understanding at the early stages, how to split what you WANT from what you NEED. I don't mean that you need to give up on your dreams, just re-prioritise them until you get the fundamentals set, then you can start looking at re-introducing those items that mean the most to you. With this blog we're going to work through the 3 steps to how you prioritise your wedding wants.
Everyone has different areas that can be split between these two things and there are some things that are Wants but feel like Needs. Ultimately the main wedding NEED is the two of you, then you need someone to marry you and the location. Outside of those things everything is up for grabs. Do you really need a confetti pony at this point, or would that money be better spent on something truly necessary for your big day, at least until further funds can be identified?
The first thing to do is to sign up for my FREE wedding planner checklist link below (other checklists are also available). This is a great resource to help you start whittling down ideas and to identify what you both really need from the day. Work through it together, start with what you absolutely don't need and cross those off.
Once you cross off the obvious things that neither of you wants or needs a clearer list will appear. Now is when it can start to get tricky depending on your budget. I recommend at this point getting some idea of how much this whole list would cost as it stands right now. Based on average costs of each part of an average wedding day you'd need a budget of about £35000 to do everything (based on the Bridebook UK Wedding Industry report)! Magazines like Perfect Wedding and Wedding Ideas often have cost breakdowns from real couples. You should know at this point what budget you'd be comfortable with spending.
You've decided what you cannot live without, now you need to decide where the rest sits in the list of priorities. I would suggest that food and drink should be right at the top, alongside outfits (unless you're going for a naturist wedding!) as a fundamental. Everyone's priorities at this point are completely personal; maybe having awesome wedding photographs is more important to you than having a photobooth or a magician for entertainment. Or maybe getting the right DJ is more important than a gorgeous dramatic cake. What ever your individual priority is you need to score it and then compare with each other. Compromise might be required here to agree your joint priorities. And then it's time to review that budget again.
Don't forget there are ways to re-use and re-function some aspects of your purchases ie bouquets can be used to decorate your cake table, your cake can be your dessert, your ceremony room decorations could be moved to your reception room, etc. Bearing this in mind can help you to free up funds for other things.
It's also a good idea at this point to decide who you're going to have in your bridal party and/or groomsmen. It can be hugely tempting early on to ask all your best friends to be involved in your wedding and then you have to try to figure out how to afford all the outfits and extras that go along with them. I recommend thinking about your budget before making that decision; if you need your groomsmen or bridesmaids to help out by supplying some part of their outfit then it helps you to know this before you approach them. It's good form to provide the suits if you want your chaps all wearing the same thing, and dresses for your girls, however shoes, hair, jewellery might all be open to their own input.
As you work through your priorities and identify ways to make savings on some things, you'll be able to figure out some of the bonus Wants on your list. Adding things back in as you go is fun, but you may also need to make changes based on unexpected things that come up, so don't go crazy. I always suggest having a contingency fund for emergency spending, such as price increases from the venue or caterer in line with unavoidable cost increases (usually to do with minimum wage rises and ingredient costs). But the key thing is to keep in touch with your budget and make sure you pay off the bills for your fundamental Needs first - if you can't live without it on your big day, make sure you pay for that first, you don't want to lose your venue because you splashed out on that confetti pony!
There are likely to be a variety of ways to get what you Want but you'll need to decide what you can get with the money you have. A fantastic wedding can be achieved whatever the budget but once you have your priorities in place you can make better decisions about what to keep and what to lose. Good luck and if you need any help whittling down your wedding checklist get in touch today. Follow the link below to sign up to my free checklist. X