While planning a wedding can be creative, fun and stressful in equal measures, one of the biggest elements likely to cause arguments and disappointments if it’s not sorted out early on is the budget.
It’s important to decide who is paying for what, from the start, and write down the budget so that it’s really clear to everyone involved. If you are paying for the wedding between you, you need to agree on how much you both think is reasonable. If your parents or relatives are contributing to the wedding, carefully consider if the money gives them any kind of level of influence on how you actually spend that money and if so, your comfort level with that.
Once you have established the ground rules for the budget, break it into all of the key elements to make sure you both have the same vision for how much all of the details will cost. Identify the most vital elements first, as it is really easy to get carried away spending money on things that really don’t matter, like expensive linens, or invitation designs. What you need to make sure you budget for is a ceremony venue, wedding cloths for the couple, and the rings. These vital elements should be budgeted for as the first priority. After these, everything else is really optional according to your theme, size of budget left and number of guests you want to invite. Other items typically involved in the big day include a photographer, reception venue, food and drink and the honeymoon. These are really expected elements for any wedding and although they can vary in cost depending on your theme and numbers. Don’t forget that many venues will require a deposit to be paid, and you may have to do the same for the dress and rings.
Moving down the scale on importance, but not necessarily cost, if you are planning to buy flowers for the venue, reception venue and of course a bridal bouquet, these can quickly add up and become an expensive part of the day. Talk to your florist to find out what the less expensive options might be (such as using native flowers in season). If you are staying overnight at a hotel the night before or after the wedding or perhaps both, then this will also need to be paid for and it’s worth being very clear on who is paying for any relatives’ accommodation to avoid any surprises when you get the hotel bill after the event.
Transport is another expense – have you hired an expensive car just to take you 100 yards from the church to the reception? If so, it may be worth reconsidering. Bear in mind if there is any distance between the venues you may have to consider coach hire for your guests as well. Consider having the ceremony and reception at the same venue.
Have any budget left? Other pricey elements of a wedding you may consider include invitations, cake, table decorations, favours and dresses, hair/makeup and presents for your bridesmaids, honeymoon clothes, entertainment/music… the possibilities are endless.
Finally, stay focused on the important aspect of the day – your soon-to-be spouse. Be realistic: being in debt for a one-day party is really no way to start your life together.