Budget, budget, budget
As an accountant by day, budgets and spreadsheets come naturally to me. But when planning a wedding, I didn’t quite realise how critical it could be! Having never planned a wedding before, I had no idea where to start. How much would/should everything cost? Was that quote too much?
So I think what’s most important to ask yourself, is how much realistically can you afford? Do family or friends want to contribute at all? If you have time to save, how much can you save before payments become due? Because ideally, you don’t want to take out a loan or credit card you’ll be paying back for years afterwards! Then once decided, you can use a budget planning tool, such as the image featured from David’s Bridal, to get a rough guide of how much everything should cost.
You should also have a list of must haves and nice to haves within your budget. What is most important for your day? And that’s where the money should be allocated to, with smaller amounts against smaller items or nice to haves.
Realistically, your venue and catering is probably going to be the biggest chunk of your budget. However there’s loads of alternatives to cutting costs here, if you want to! Would you have an out of season wedding? What about a weekday wedding? Any bank holidays, where you could get married on a Sunday instead? What about a buffet style wedding breakfast? Or a twilight ceremony so you only have one round of food, instead of the typical three course sit down meal and evening buffet?
Next on the list, I believe, is photography and/or videography. It’s the only thing you’ll take away from your big day after all! I wouldn’t recommend trying to find a cheap deal here, as I’ve heard some bridal photography horror stories. Find someone who comes recommended, and you like their style. Plus, get to know them! I’ve made a friend in our wedding photographer and I’m looking forward to seeing the other weddings she’s photographed (check out her blog post here!). Also consider, how long do you need the photographer for? If not all day, enquire about hourly rates or half days instead!
Then comes attire and beauty! Personally, I didn’t want a £1,000+ dress and was more than happy to hire or buy second hand. In the end, I found a gorgeous sale dress which was an absolute steal from a local boutique and my whole attire actually cost less than my husband’s suit! But, you could also save some pennies and hire suits for the groom and groomsmen if it’s unlikely they’ll wear them again.
So my little bit of advice is, always shop around and ask for quotes and compare exactly what each quote includes against others to get the best value for money. Ask friends or family for recommendations or people they know who could help out – we found our photographer and DJ by doing this! And finally, try to pay for things in installments if suppliers offer it. Because you don’t want to get to 1-2 months before the wedding when everything is suddenly due for payment!
Enjoy your wedding planning and don’t forget, it’s all about you two!