Step away from the spreadsheet! Here’s how to shake up your spending and keep that wedding budget under control…
Top Tips for Keeping Your Wedding Budget Under Control
Planning a wedding can become costly – as well as stressful – very quickly, with the average wedding costing over £21,000.
With wedding season just around the corner, money-saving expert Charlotte Marshall from CouponNinja.com reveals the top tips on how to save as much money as possible for your wedding and keep your wedding budget under control.
Be Smart When Picking a Date
Before you can put a budget together for your wedding, you need to know how long you have to save. Booking your wedding date as far in advance as possible means you have more time to save money and get organised.
If possible, try to be flexible about your wedding date. Choosing months, days or times for your wedding that are considered off-peak and not in high demand could help save a fortune. For example, think about selecting a weekday for your wedding as this will be the cheapest or consider pushing the day back into autumn or winter rather than throughout peak months of spring and summer.
Put Together a Realistic Wedding Budget
Once you have a timeline in place, you will need to set a realistic and workable budget for spending overall. Remember the basics:
As these costs start to add up, you and your partner may want to look at prioritising what is most important to you and what you could possibly cut down on the big day.
Work Out What’s Most Important
Have you always dreamt of having a big chocolate fountain or arriving at the church in a horse and carriage? Or maybe you can’t stand the thought of a party without live music?
When it comes to handling your wedding budget, it’s better to be selective and invest more in the things that really matter to you, rather than involving too many elements and then having to compromise on everything. Get your must-haves sorted straight away and make cuts on the less important details.
“Sit down as a couple and list the key elements of your wedding, then rank them in order of importance to you both,” say Nancy and Katie, the duo behind planning company Lily & Sage.
“There isn’t a right or wrong answer – it’s about you as a couple and not about what others have done.”
Make a Monthly Savings Goal
Once you know how long you have to save for your wedding day, you can calculate how much you will need to save each month.
If you are confident that your family members are happy to contribute towards the wedding, this is a good time to try and find out how much. Although it may not be the easiest conversation, if you simply let them know that you are looking to put a monthly savings target together, they will likely provide you with a rough figure of what they are willing to contribute.
Keep Your Wedding Party Small
You should not feel pressured into inviting anyone to your wedding, especially as the reception (venue, drinks and food) will be one of the most significant portions of your budget.
A helpful tip may be to put your guests into three categories:
- Immediate family and best friends
- Good friends and extended family
- Co-workers or casual acquaintances
When it comes to your wedding party, consider cutting back on the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen to cut back on expenses like dresses, suits, hair and make up.
Think About Where You’re Spending Big
Not blowing your wedding budget is more about keeping individual numbers below their ceilings than it is about spending as little as possible. For some aspects, like the photographer, venue and dress, splashing the cash is unavoidable. Insurance also falls into this category. When you’re parting with your hard-earned cash, it pays to keep big transactions protected.
Also, it can be economical to invest more in certain things, because they will save money elsewhere. A well-chosen venue with wow-factor can mean you end up spending less on extras like candleholders, flowers and lighting, for instance. Those notorious ‘small spends’ can really add up.
“Try not to go overboard on decorations,” says Victoria Morris from Sophisticated Weddings.
“It’s easy to get carried away, but often the scenery at your venue is stunning enough. This budget is better spent on ensuring the comfort of your guests.”
Cut Back on Unnecessary Expenses
Cutting back on unnecessary expenses is good practice any month but absolutely essential when saving for a wedding. It may be wise to look at your current monthly payments and be honest about cutting back on things that are not a priority. Netflix, coffee, Sky Sports, new clothes – you name it!
Additionally, make sure to shop wisely for your wedding day. Rather than heading to a fancy wedding decor store, try to shop around first through sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Etsy and eBay – or even looking in local craft and party shops may be an effective way to save on things you may not be able to make yourself.
Allow Guests to Gift You Cash
No, we’re not talking about selling shares in your celebration, inviting investors or raiding the bank of mum and dad. We’re talking about the modern gift list services that allow your guests to gift you cash.
No matter what you may think or ask, your guests will definitely want to give you some sort of gift or gesture at your wedding. Extra cash as a wedding gift could really help contribute towards honeymoon costs or help pay off any debts you may have from the wedding day.
Asking for money is never easy, but many couples make use of providers like Prezola and Buy Our Honeymoon to fund their dream getaway as newlyweds. It takes the pressure off their own bank balances because they don’t need to budget quite so much.
The downside is that you won’t be able to predict the value of your guests’ donations, so wait to see what you’ve got before making bookings if you know you won’t be able to cover any shortfall yourselves.
And if you think family members might be interested in contributing to your funds, Jennifer Granlund of Jenny Wren Weddings & Events believes it’s best to get the conversation out of the way early.
“No decisions can be made until you know how much money you have to work with. Think seriously about what your own limit will be, what you want to spend and what you can realistically save.
“Speak to family about what they might contribute, even if it feels awkward. You can then make plans that are achievable for your budget. Finally, allow a 10 per cent contingency fund to accommodate any changes.”
Get Your Craft On
While everyone would like a professional wedding planner to deal with all the little things, those things could cost you the most in the long run. One of the most efficient ways to save money on your wedding is to try and make certain things yourself, such as save the date cards, decorations, centrepieces, and wedding invitations.
With so much inspiration online, DIY decorations could not only help you save on costs but also add a more personal touch for you and your guests on the day. DIY-ing your day is a popular way to save money, and keep your wedding budget under control, but approach it with caution.
Sometimes, making things yourself can end up costing more, simply because you don’t have the equipment or access to trade prices like professional suppliers do (stationery, we’re looking at you). And sometimes, it can end in disaster because you take on a task that’s too big or more time-consuming than you realised.
Pick-and-mix planner Laura Devine of Devine Bride knows this well: “My clients often think they can save money with DIY details – and you can if you have the time to spend on it. But most people don’t. You also need the right tools, and before you know it you’re spending a fortune on glue guns, wire cutters and washi tape!”
Plan carefully. Do you want to spend the final 24 hours before your wedding taking thorns off roses and hand-tying bouquets, or would you rather be chilling in the spa?
And if it’s something that you think is really workable, give yourself a practice run or, better yet, book onto a workshop. Armed with the right tools, time and techniques, your homemade, budget wedding plans are better equipped to be successful.
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