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When your fairy tale journey started on the day your fiancée asked you to marry them, you were super thrilled, right?
But then, you started planning your perfect wedding day… And the first thing you can think of is… money.
Suddenly, everything has a price tag to it – and add a few zero’s because it is a wedding. You simply had no idea it will become so expensive! (Sure, you knew about weddings and their cost… but giving up certain costs in your life to save up for a wedding?)
It doesn’t have to be this way. You should not be losing any money or cutting costs because you don’t have a budget. So set one up right now, before doing anything else!
Are you losing wedding money due to not budgeting?
The benefits of having a wedding budget
So, why should I have a budget? You may ask…
Not only will it help you save money, it will help you to cut unnecessary costs from your wedding, too.
Once you get a bird’s eye view of where all of the money goes, and what all the numbers look like once they are all printed out onto paper, you can make better decisions!
Your wedding budget is NOT your enemy!
Don’t think that your budget is a limitation to your fairy tale wedding. Your budget is your best wedding planning friend and will save you many regrets on, and after, your wedding day!
Countless couples are still paying off on their wedding day months after the wedding and honeymoon… Don’t fall into that ditch of wedding debt – use a budget!!
Need a printable wedding budget template? Have a look at our latest version here…
How to stick to your wedding budget
We know how difficult it can be not to buy all the shiny things at the wedding store.
And we know how we can tell ourselves “but it is my special day! I deserve this!” But think about it: Will the shiny stuff shine as bright on the day of your wedding? Will everyone else even notice it?
We have thought of a few ways which can help you to stick to your wedding budget and save some money in the process…
Deciding to buy (or not to buy)
With each item you wish to purchase, think of a few questions to answer “yes” to, when you see it or hold it…
- Will it make me happy to have this at my wedding?
- Is this the cheapest version of this item?
- Will my wedding guests also notice and appreciate this item?
- Will I be happy to have spent money on this item?
- Is this item necessary for the overall success of my wedding?
- Will people remember that I had this at my wedding?
Think of more yes-questions which will be deciding factors. And then use these questions as a guideline whenever you want to buy something for the wedding such as décor…
Also think of ways to work around the item, to save money. For instance, if the item is totally DIY-able, why not ask a friend to help you make it, or host a DIY-party with your girls?
Take note: Sometimes, DIY-able items can work out to be more expensive than just buying the finished product. Always work out the cost of the components before simply purchasing all the items and DIY-ing the finished product…
Choose a person to help you save
Another way to stick to your budget is by having someone to guide you, such as a friend or family member.
This person can then be in charge of the budget, go with you on shopping trips and help you to scout for items.
You can also ask your wedding planner to help you with this, if they are reliable…
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Determining who pays for what
The more traditional approach would be to consider who is paying for what. Normally, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding – including the venue, décor, flowers, etc… Since the money for the wedding is their responsibility, they get to say how much is budgeted and for what.
Deciding on shopping and scouting days
Another way to save money and sticking to your budget is by choosing specific days for shopping and scouting.
Scouting days is simply to “window shop” and not buy anything at all. This is great for when you haven’t completely decided what you want to buy for the wedding yet.
Take a friend with and scout for item, especially those on special or which you can get a bargain for. Take photos with your phone or make notes of prices and places.
On shopping days, you can then go back and buy the items which you have scouted.
Setting up a wedding budget
Using Microsoft Excel to create a decent budget
Using a spreadsheet to work out your wedding budget is your best bet. The most popular way is by using Microsoft Excel, or OpenOffice.
More recently, Google has also launched GoogleDocs, which includes a whole range of “Office” programs such a text editor and spreadsheet creator.
All you will need to do then is to start creating your budget spreadsheet. You will also need to do a bit of research on what you need to include in your budget, and edit it in such a way that it fits into your wedding planning. (In other words, if you’re not renting a marquee tent for your special day, then simply don’t put it in your budget)
Make it easy for yourself by creating categories for each wedding aspect.
Everything that you’re renting from a supplier goes under “rentals”. All of the makeup and hair trials can go under “beauty”. Dress fittings, shoes, the men’s suits, etc. can go under “dress and attire”. And so on…
Have a column for estimates and a column for “actual costs”. Even if you did a bit of research on the general cost of flowers, for example, prices might still vary when you get the actual quotes.
This will also help you to spot suppliers who are only after your money and will ask a fortune!
Budgets available online
If you don’t have the time or energy to create a budget from scratch, then you can always search online for an already created one. Again, do some research of your own here because everyone’s prices vary and everyone’s design and services are different.
We have a basic rental budget in our Etsy shop which you can check out here.
How to allocate percentages to each aspect of your budget
The percentages will vary on your specific wedding needs. But, as a guideline, the percentages are normally as follows:
15% = Ceremony (Location, Pastor, Marriage License, Wedding Planner, etc.)
35% = Reception (venue, food, beverages, rentals, cake, favors, guest book, etc.)
20% = Photography & Videography
5% = Music, Lighting & Entertainment
10% = Flowers & Décor
10% = Dress & Attire
3% = Contingencies
2% = Other (bridal party gifts, etc)
When should you hire a professional to handle your budget?
Many wedding planners and other wedding professionals have this service provided at an additional cost – and it might be worth your money spent!
They normally sit with you, or the person responsible for the wedding costs, and work out a budget for your wedding that caters for your every need. This will save you a lot of time, effort, and… hair-pulling. An added bonus is that the wedding planner or professional knows what type of budget they are working with.
Consider hiring a professional to handle your budget, because it can save you some time and money in the end.
Need a printable wedding budget template? Have a look at our latest version here…
The truth remains that a wedding is an expensive affair and can cost you even more if you don’t budget properly. No one likes to talk about money, but it will all be worth it if you count your costs properly.
To save a bit of money, here are some ideas:
The birth of the DIY party
Since the dawn of Pinterest, almost anything imaginable can now be DIY-ed. And it has already been done, so there are billions of ideas for wedding décor on there! You simply need to know where to look.
An ongoing trend has been started a few years ago already: The traditional bridal shower has been replaced by the DIY party – simply to save some money on the wedding.
You, your bridesmaids and a few extra friends come together, and instead of having bridal shower games as the main event, everyone gathers around a table and make wedding décor. And, like we mentioned, you can make almost anything: centerpieces, giant paper flowers, wedding favors, stationery, backdrops, photo props – you name it!
Include some platters and champagne to make the day extra celebratory!
Keeping it in the family
This works well in especially large families…
If you have an aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, etc. in the family who is good at something, consider asking them to contribute to the wedding.
For example, if your cousin knows photography or does it professionally, why not ask them to be your wedding photographer? Most family members or friends will give a discount or maybe even do it for free! And, if you are already on a tight budget, they might consider doing it even more…
Also ask your family members if they know someone who provides a wedding service, such as wedding cakes, music etc. They might also be able to get some discounts for you…
The worst you can get is a “no”.
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Compare it all
Comparing prices is key to saving a lot of money on your wedding. Don’t just shop items where you think is cheapest. Compare each and every item. The cheapest store might not be cheapest in everything they sell, so shop around.
And that goes for your wedding suppliers, too! Compare them. We even have a printable for comparing more than 40 wedding suppliers in our Etsy shop here. It includes all of the suppliers, from photographers, bakers, venues, to wedding planners, DJ’s and more, plus a blank printable to add your own.
It might take up more time to compare all these expenses, but it will definitely save you some money.