Make A Budget
It doesn’t matter how much or how little you and your partner earn (or how hard-up or rich your friends and family are!), there is always a budget of some kind to stick to. “Budget” has to be the most un-romantic word associated with a wedding and, because we all tend to ignore the things that we don’t like in life, wedding budgets often get missed out or, at best, get completed half-heartedly!
Why Do A Budget?
Although putting a budget together doesn’t seem like an exciting job, it can actually be quite fun if you approach it in the right way! There are so many small things that get overlooked: petrol for the shopping days out... and of course the lunches once you’re there; dyeing those bridesmaid shoes to match the dresses; fancy pens for people to sign the Guest Book with... and the list goes on! Try to underestimate your budget so that you have a buffer zone which allows for this added expenditure: the last thing that you want is to cause money worries and extra stress just before your big day so plan ahead, be realistic and, most importantly, be flexible...
The first step is to source a wedding budget calculator and this seems to be one of the best out there: AOL's Wedding Budget Calculator
- Type in your overall budget: this is decided upon by looking at what you can realistically afford in the timeframe that you’ve allowed yourselves and also takes into account any outside donations that may have been offered too
- The calculator will now give you the average prices for each of the items on the planner! You can then click and drag the dials to see how spending more or less on each of the items will affect your overall funds, therefore personalising your budget to reflect your own priorities
- Once you’ve paid for something, you can select the 'Payments' tab to input how much you've spent on that particular item and then use the 'Save' button to keep a record or printout!
The most important thing to remember about budgets is that you can still have what you want (even with a very limited budget) so long as you are clear on your priorities: let’s face it, if the most important thing to you both is that £3,000 dress that you’ve set your heart on (but the overall budget is £7,000) this IS still possible but you’ll have to make big sacrifices elsewhere: maybe you won’t need cars because the ceremony and reception are in the same place, maybe having a Saturday wedding is not important and therefore you can qualify for weekday venue discounts, perhaps neither or you want to invite too many people... each couple has different priorities.
I used to cringe when suppliers asked me what my budget was because, in reality, most people will base their choices on their gut reaction rather than their budget. I have had brides spend around £1,000 on booking Adam Thomas for their wedding entertainment when they had originally set aside £300 for a disco – sometimes you see something that, although you hadn’t planned for, you know will just make your day... something that you feel was the missing link.
Once again, the best thing about a budget planner is that you can then foresee any problems caused by this ‘overspending’ and adjust your budget for other items accordingly... you’ll know in advance where you will need to make the sacrifices (rather than being disappointed when the money runs out half way through your planning!) Get what you want by simply knowing your priorities and planning ahead… the world is your oyster!