How to set your wedding budget (from someone that 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.
- 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)
- Photography and videography
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you a hand.