Top 10 Wedding Budgeting Tips
Wedding planning is an exciting journey, however with so many options available and an abundance of Pinterest images sparking imagination, sticking to a predetermined budget can be a tricky matter. I have compiled these top 10 tips to help you to get the most from your money, and make substantial savings along the way.
1. PRIORITISE THE ESSENTIALS
Once the budget is established, take time to sit down and list each aspect of the wedding, and then discuss the elements which have the greatest importance to you both. The venue will inevitably take up the largest chunk of budget, however there are many other areas that can be either splurged or compromised on, depending on their significance to you on your big day.
When you have both prioritised the essentials, budget for these accordingly and allocate the remaining budget to the other, less significant, elements. Perhaps a three course meal and plentiful drink for your guests is a key component, whilst fully coordinated stationery is less integral. Or you may decide that fabulous evening entertainment is crucial, yet can compromise on a lavish wedding cake. Decide what’s most important from the outset, and remember that you do not need to stick to convention, or have everything that friends and bridal magazines would tell you that you need.
2. DON'T SCRIMP ON THE PHOTOGRAPHER
A good photographer will make the best use of lighting, and will have the experience to compose shots for the best possible pictures. Remember that you will never again get the chance to retake those key shots, and exquisite photographs serve as a lifelong reminder of your big day. Think of the photographer as an investment and you won’t regret it later.
3. TAKE OUT WEDDING INSURANCE
With wedding insurance costing from as little as £20 it is definitely worth consideration, and could save you thousands if things do go wrong. It is important to check specific cover with each insurer, however as a rule insurers will typically offer cover for:
Supplier failure - if a company goes bankrupt prior to the wedding, or cannot meet its contractual obligations
Cancellation - if the wedding is cancelled for reasons beyond your control, for example adverse weather conditions
Wedding gifts - the value of presents and cash are covered in the event of loss, damage or theft
Accidents and public liability - if you are the victim of an accident, or if you injure someone else or damage their property during the course of the wedding, you will be covered in the event of any legal proceedings
4. CHOOSE AN OFF-PEAK WEDDING DATE
As the venue is usually by far the largest expense (anywhere between one third and a half of the overall budget), you can potentially make huge savings if you are willing to negotiate on your wedding date. The warmer spring and summer months (April to September) are by far the most popular, as are Saturday weddings. Many venues offer substantially lower rates for weekday and out of season weddings, so if you are flexible with your wedding date you could realistically cut your venue budget by up to half.
5. LIMIT YOUR NUMBERS
Where possible, cut down your guest list to include only those who are close to you both and you will save a lot of money. Neighbours, colleagues and plus ones can usually be negated with little offence caused, and consider carefully whether it is necessary to invite distant relatives whom you rarely see. It is polite to check with the person(s) footing the bill however, as usually they will have a greater say in the final guest list.
It is also worth considering keeping the bridal party small, as the costs for bridesmaids’ attire and gifts can greatly mount up.
6. THE ART OF NEGOTIATION
Now is the time to really test out your negotiating skills. Whilst negotiating with suppliers can be a daunting task, it is an important step in managing your wedding budget. Many wedding suppliers are open to negotiation, so it is worth asking if any potential discount can be offered.
Before you start, prepare by gathering quotations from a range of similar suppliers. When you have selected your favourites, discuss your budget with your chosen suppliers and see if there is any room for manoeuvre. If you cannot secure a discount, don’t overlook the benefit of asking for more for your money; whether it’s an extra glass of wine per guest, a room upgrade or free decorations, all can give you added value and leave you with more money to spend on other things. Do remember to always get any discounts or added extras confirmed in writing, and check contracts carefully before signing on the dotted line.
If hiring a wedding planner, he or she will act on your behalf to secure you the best possible deals from your suppliers. Professional planners are trained negotiators, and can usually obtain large discounts for repeat business, which can then be passed on directly to you.
7. CHOOSE SEASONAL FLOWERS
The flowers you choose will largely depend on personal preference, however do bear in mind that the costs of importing out of season or exotic flowers will be considerably more expensive. Selecting seasonal and locally grown flowers will greatly reduce costs, and if the floral budget is particularly tight, consider putting floral table arrangements together yourself in pretty containers. Flower markets are a good choice for good quality seasonal flowers, and many florists use these to obtain their flowers at cost price.
9. GET CREATIVE
Whether it’s the invitations or table decorations for the reception, making your own rather than buying can be an economical way of securing those little details without going over budget, whilst also adding a personal touch along the way.
There are many low-cost printables available online which you can customise to make your own wedding invitations, or perhaps collect pebbles or shells and write your guests’ names on each to serve as unique place settings.
Draw on Pinterest and online tutorials for inspiration, however do be realistic with your time. Try to enlist friends or family members to help out where possible to avoid taking on too much work yourself.
9. BE RESOURCEFUL
Take inspiration from the tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. Utilise items you already own, and where possible borrow from others. Whether you wear a pair of your own shoes under your dress, or borrow a wedding accessory or veil, all can free up money to be saved or spent elsewhere.
Ask around to see if anyone you already know would be willing to donate a service for your wedding. If you have a talented friend who can sing or play an instrument, ask him or her to perform during the ceremony. If you know someone with a flair for cake decorating, ask if they would mind putting together a simple cake or a selection of cupcakes if you were to cover the cost of ingredients and materials.
10. PREPARE FOR CONTINGENCIES
It is important to leave a little room in the budget for any last-minute expenses, which typically occur in the last few weeks before the wedding. Whether it’s a forgotten deposit, tips and gratuities not covered in the contract, or a supplier’s overtime on the day, I would recommend putting a line in the budget for at least 5% of the budget to account for unforeseen costs. It might seem a lot of money, but can alleviate a lot of stress knowing that a contingency is in place. And as a bonus, what you don’t end up using can be a welcome boost towards honeymoon spending money!