10 Tips for Sticking to Your Wedding Budget

Budget, the dreaded word! But every wedding needs one. How else are you going to know if you can afford Bruno Mars to sing your first dance song (you probably can’t) or Dave Benson Phillips (remember him) as your DJ (you probably can). So before those eternal questions are answered you need to set your budget.

Setting a budget is difficult because all weddings are different, but you do need to have some idea of how much you should spend on each supplier so you don’t end up with debt you’re paying off until your 25th wedding anniversary! There are example wedding budget breakdowns out there but sometimes they don’t really line up with real life and can underestimate the cost of quality supplier so do take them with a pinch of salt.

Image: Weddings by Zoe

We’ve got some handy hints below to help you set your budget and manage it along the way.

1.      How much do you have and how much are you willing to spend? That total amount is what you’re trying to stay under. However, always allow an additional 5% on top as your contingency should you go over budget e.g. with a £25,000 budget keep a separate £250 that you can dip into if you need it.

2.       How many people do you actually want there? This number is one of the biggest factors as it will influence your venue and catering costs. £25,000 can stretch a lot further with 60 guests than 150 so don’t go overboard on the invites if you want to use your budget wisely.

3.       Once you know your total budget and number of guests you can start researching venues to get an idea of the likely cost of the venue. Do your research first so you know if it is a fair price for the location, size and style you want.

4.       The venue and catering are normally the biggest chunk of your budget and could take up to half of your total budget which sounds a lot but is totally normal. Try to avoid going over two thirds of your budget though as you’ll be left with very little to pay for everything else.

5.       By the time you’ve booked your venue and catering you often find yourself in a  ‘what’s left?’ scenario, so now’s the time to earmark any specific priorities you have e.g. if music is the most important thing then ringfence a decent portion of your budget so you know you’ve got enough and pick slightly cheaper suppliers for other parts of the day.

6.       As always, do your research on each industry to check that what you’re being charged is the norm. It will still vary depending on supplier quality, ability and location but always try to get three quotes from similar suppliers. This ensures you know the price is fair and may also give you some leverage to negotiate. Try to research and get estimates for some key elements (photographer, videographer, florist, wedding dress and bridesmaids) before you book anyone so you know either you can afford everything or pinpoint the areas that are lower priority where you need to make savings.

7.       Don’t forget styling. It doesn’t appear out of thin air and can really make your wedding stand out so it’s worth holding some of your budget back for this.

8.       Try not to worry about money. If you can’t afford something think about how much you really want it and whether you can compromise elsewhere. If you can’t, is it really worth breaking the budget for? Would it really affect your day if you didn’t have it?

9.       Keep a log of everything you’ve paid for and what you still need to pay and try to have a separate wedding bank account so it doesn’t get mixed up with the money you spend on a daily basis. Keeping your budget logged and separate makes it much easier to track.

10.   Pay everyone before you jet off on your honeymoon, not only have all the suppliers worked hard to give you a great day but you also don’t want to come back to an inbox full of wedmin!

How to Set Your Wedding Budget (from someone who doesn't have a big one)

I am engaged, yep that’s right I’ve finally become a proper grown up. And by organising said wedding I’m also putting into practice what I do for a living, which terrifies me because of the inevitable judgement my wedding will receive.  It’s like those horrendous Apprentice tasks where the project manager works in catering and the project they are tasked with is creating and selling street food but they decide they should charge £10 for a salad and only make about £100 profit. Even Londoners are skeptical of paying that much for some leaves!

But enough about my TV habits, I’m also a bit nervous because we don’t have a massive budget, having bought a flat less than 18 months ago and still furnishing it (there are only two bedrooms but interior decorating feels never ending) we, like a lot of Gen Y or millennials or whatever you want to call us are not flushed with cash.

 

The thing is, when you’re effectively buying dinner for 80 people you want to do to make the day look amazing, sound amazing and be amazing and it’s hard to make the budget stretch. Which brings me nicely to my first piece of advice, which is based on my own experience be flexible. I have moved our budget around a lot as we’ve discussed our priorities and what we can do cheaper without anyone caring or noticing.

Second piece of advice is to think about your priorities. Ours are getting married in a London venue, how the venue looks and food and drink. This means we’ll have to compromise on other areas. Gone are the favours and we’ve said bye bye to the DJ, going for a Spotify playlist instead. 

Thirdly would be to work out what you need to budget for. Chances are you’ve never planned a wedding before and if you don’t have someone helping you then you might not even be sure what to include in the budget. We're staunch advocates of rulebook free weddings so  don’t feel you have to follow any traditions just because it might be expected but the below guideline on what you'll be spending your cash on might help as a starting point.

  • Venue
  • Brides and bridesmaid clothing, shoes, accessories
  • Groom and groomsmen clothing, shoes, accessories
  • Catering (food and drink)
  • Entertainment (anything from DJ’s for dancing to music to walk up the aisle)
  • Rings
  • Stationery
  • Officiant
  • Photography and videography
  • Cake
  • Décor
  • Flowers

Quite a bit to consider right, hence point two – Prioritise!

So bearing the above in mind where do you actually start when you’re working out your budget (assuming you have agreed on a budget)?  Start with the guest list. You don’t need to know exactly who you’re inviting but its worth having a number in mind for all A list invites and what that would go up to if you invited B list as well. That will help you find a venue and understand what that cost is likely to be. You can then put a cap on what you’re willing to spend on a venue which will help you set the rest of your budget based on the priorities which you’ve already agreed. Ta da! Budgeting made easy (kind of).

I am fully expecting our budget will need to increase which is why I have purposely not included 5% contingency in the overall budget so that when we go over (best laid plans and all that) we’ve got that 5% to cover it and I will be smug that I’ve not had to enforce a month of eating beans on toast to cover the additional costs.

Shameless plug - if you do need a hand with setting your budget or getting started then get in touch with us at hello@jointherevelry.com and we can give you a hand.

Good luck!

S x

Wedding Planning Advice | Budgeting for Photo and Video

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY WEDDING PHOTOS AND VIDEO?

Setting out your wedding budget is one of the toughest parts of wedding planning by a long shot.

How are you supposed to know to divide up your well-earned cash the right way? How do you know how much to estimate for each part? This confusion often leads to many couples grossly underestimating how much certain wedding suppliers cost - which is where we come in.

One of the biggest areas of confusion is the cost of wedding photography and videography. Many brides assume this won't cost very much, end up going for budget options and being disappointed with the end result. Wedding photography and videography is a big outlay, but it is an incredibly worthwhile investment. It's important to set aside as much of your budget as you can to make sure you have the best memories of your day. In our opinion, when it comes to splurge vs save, wedding photos and video is in the splurge column.

Photo credit: Xander and Thea

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Brett Harkness

Brett Harkness

Let's start with photos. You could absolutely find a wedding photographer to fit within your budget, whatever it is, but the consideration is that the level of experience and very likely the quality will go down.

It baffles us to see that many wedding magazines and blogs are giving brides advice to spend approximately £750 on wedding photography. In our experience, this is nowhere near enough for good photography. [Disclaimer: We know there are always exceptions - uber-talented newbies, mid-week discounts, etc - but for the majority of cases it is not high enough]

In our experience, spend less than £1000 on wedding photography and you will get the basic coverage, capturing the moments as they happen, no frills, nothing fancy. Single shooter, minimal coverage.

£1500-2000 will get you some fabulous wedding blog-worthy wedding photography. This is the sweet spot, and where we would always recommend couples pitch their budget in this area. All day coverage with more than one shooter for some creative angles. A wonderful, experienced photographer to put you at ease. And more than likely, a free album and possibly an engagement shoot.

Spend £3000+ and you should be getting some pretty incredible photography - high-end, fine art photography with a high quality album, often a longer day for more coverage, and with a few extra 'togs to shoot details and prep. Guaranteed perfection.

So when you're putting your spreadsheets together and dividing it all up, £1500+ is a great starting point where you won't struggle to find incredible shooters, but it's always ALWAYS worth ploughing as much cash as you can afford into wedding photos (without going into debt).

WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY

For under £1000 you'd be getting a pretty basic highlights reel, coverage from bridal prep to the first dance, with a 2-3 minute montage at the end. At this price range you are paying your photographer or videographer below the national minimum wage so it is unlikely the quality will be very good.

Spend £1500 or more and you'll get a treasured, high-quality video - likely a beautifully edited highlights film to music, and an edited video of your ceremony and the speeches. You'll get a second shooter, possibly a third, and some extremely creative, cinematic shots with high-production quality. You are paying for filmmaking experience, quality of equipment and the time it takes to edit such a quality product to perfection.

Adam Rowley from Delirious Films - one of our favourite filmmakers to work with - gives some helpful tips, "Like buying wine in a restaurant – you’d never buy the cheapest and probably almost never buy the most expensive. But no moment should be missed and your film should be magnificent.  But beware budget videography. Something to look out for is if the videographer doesn't call their work a 'film', it could be an indication that they aren't that great."

Whatever your budget for film and photography, take care to establish the experience, and the quality of their work before you book. Don't be afraid to ask for references from past clients and more photos for reassurance. Regardless of the price tag, you want to be confident in your suppliers on your wedding day to give you the best.