After you’ve rung your family and friends and posted an amazing Instagram engagement announcement, the first step in wedding planning is deciding on your wedding budget.
While it would be fantastic to go with a “money is no object” approach to wedding planning, setting a budget will stop you from overspending, and will help you rule out wedding options that just aren’t viable for you – a castle wedding venue on a £5,000 wedding budget just won’t work, sadly.
Read on for our top tips on how to start your wedding budget.
Work out who is paying
It used to be that the bride’s father pretty much paid for everything. These days it’s far more likely to be a family affair with the bride, groom and both sets of parents chipping in to create one wedding fund.
Decide if you need to compromise your ideas
Taking a cheque from either set of parents is great. Just be sure they don’t think this means they have a much bigger say in your wedding plans than you want. It’s hard to say you want workmates rather than relatives on the guest list if it’s your parents’ cash you are spending.
Can you pay for the wedding yourself?
It’s becoming increasingly common for couples to pay for their own wedding, using their own money – and it’s the only way to ensure complete freedom of choice. If the cash isn’t readily available, seek advice about saving and cost-effective borrowing.
How much of my salary do I need to save for my wedding?
Saving 10-20 per cent of every pay packet during your engagement should be your aim. Try a few cost-cutting measures every month like taking a packed lunch to work, staying in with friends rather than eating out, and delaying major purchases or expensive outings until after the wedding.
Set up a wedding account
Whether or not you are receiving parental contributions, a separate wedding account is a good idea since it will make tracking what comes in, what goes out and what’s left to play with much simpler. Agree at the outset how much you will each contribute to the fund, taking into account your differing salaries and any other debts you may have.
Get financial advice for planning your wedding
If you need help with the wedding fund and are thinking about a loan, get advice on the best way of borrowing. A small loan may be worthwhile, providing you can pay it back without being in debt for years to come – not even your wedding is worth that! And forget putting wedding expenses on a credit card; it’s expensive and is usually a recipe for financial misery.
Consider a DIY wedding
Think carefully about whether you can do some things yourself rather than employing others to do them: look out for sample sales at your local wedding dress shop; get on to your PC and design your own invitations, thank-you cards or seating plan. Our ‘Swap and sale’ chatboard is another good place to pick up a bargain.
How will you spend your wedding budget?
Once you have a good idea of your budget, you’ll need to split the pot between the various parts of the wedding. Work out what you want to spend on each element and see if all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Your budget will have a big say on your venue choice, and it will also dictate choosing your wedding date. Venues are often less expensive in autumn and winter, so your choice of budget may even determine when your wedding will take place.