When you start your wedding planning process, right after your engagement it’s all too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind, dreaming of creating the most stylish wedding – we’ve been there ourselves. But one of the first steps you need to take before anything else, is setting a budget for your wedding. It may not be the most exciting, but setting a budget is one of the most important parts of wedding planning. Here’s why you need a wedding budget, and how to effectively set one.
Why Do I Need a Wedding Budget?
Whether you are having help from family or doing it alone, setting a budget is so important and is one of the first things your need to establish when starting your wedding planning process – whether you’re using a wedding planner or not. Before you get carried away with designing your dream day, it’s important you have an honest conversation about numbers – it may not be the most glamorous or exciting part of wedding planning, but it is so important to start things off on the right foot.
Why is it so important? Well, firstly, whether you’re planning a US or destination wedding, if you’re using a wedding planner they will need an idea of your budget to be able to price their services accordingly. Even if you have an unlimited budget and are planning the most luxurious wedding, a solid estimate of an your budget is required to price things up. With full planning fees based on a percentage of your overall wedding a budget, it’s important that you have a number in mind for your wedding planner to work with, in order to be able to give you an accurate quote for their fees.
Secondly, once you’ve secured your wedding planner, they need to have a number to work to. With a budget set they can start finding the right vendors that meet your budget criteria – one of the most important roles of a wedding planner is to help deliver you maximum value, finding the best suppliers that align with your budget and ensure your budget is spent effectively. It’s all too easy to get carried away spending and with weddings, the potential spends are endless. By using a wedding planner, they can be an impartial ‘voice of reason’ and help provide a point of view on the most effective use of your budget.
Once you’ve established your budget, your wedding planner will do the work from there – creating a tracker and making sure you are sticking to it, highlighting any potential deviations so that you can manage your cash flow effectively.
How to Set an Effective Wedding Budget
Here are our five top tips on how to go about setting your wedding budget:
1) Sit down and have an honest discussion. If you’re funding it all yourself, sit down as a couple over a glass of wine (any excuse to make it a bit more fun!) and go through not just how much you can spend, but how much you want to spend on your big day. If your family wants to help, then sit down and run through what they are happy with contributing – money discussions are never easy but it’s best to be clear from the beginning about what people are happy to put towards your wedding budget.
2) Do your research. If you’re after a luxury wedding, with Pinterest-worth detailing and styling, do your research as to how much that will likely cost. Utilize your wedding planner to get a gauge on cost and see whether it’s affordable within your price range.
3) Prioritize. Be clear with your wedding planner about what your priorities are. For some, it’s all about the flowers and styling. Others want to focus on investing a large proportion on the entertainment, or on food and drink. By being clear on your main priorities, your wedding planner can help you focus your budget on the things most important to you, while also suggesting things that could perhaps be better invested elsewhere.
4) Be realistic. Your wedding budget is your wedding budget – and you have to work within your means. It’s all too easy to get caught up in Pinterest and Instagram. While they can be very helpful tools for getting inspiration, it’s also very easy to lose all sense of reality and perspective, so take a break and go back to basics. Remember why you are getting married, and what’s most important to you!
5) A recent survey found that 65% of couples go over budget. Whatever your wedding budget, build in some contingency (say 10-15%). There is every chance that as you progress on your planning, you will see other things you like and want to add on. By having some back-up cash, this will allow for any unforeseen additions or upgrades, and avoids any last minute financial stress. As a wedding planner, we work hard to keep our clients’ budgets on track – but we are yet to see a couple who hasn't decided to go over at some point throughout the process! We have found that managing a wedding budget was the second most difficult thing that couples had to deal with when planning their wedding (closely behind managing the guest list) – so let your wedding planner assist with this and do some of the heavy lifting in terms of keeping your budget tracker up to date.
Budget all sorted? Now you’re ready to let the wedding planning commence! Contact Us for a no-obligation consultation to discuss how we could help you create your ultimate wedding/luxury wedding.