According to recent surveys around half of couples in the US admitted to spending more than they planned when they tied the knot. That figure is likely to rise this year with inflation bumping up the price of pretty much everything. So, what can you do to stick within your budget - but still have a dream wedding?
Manage your expectations
The most common reasons couples give for going over budget? Their original estimates were unrealistic. Start by making an accurate assessment of what things cost and how much money you can afford to spend.
Don’t get carried away
Be wary of your heart overruling your head – it’s easy to let your emotions sway your judgment with something as romantic as a wedding. Strike a balance between what you’d like and what your bank balance is telling you!
Get a good planning system
Organising a wedding is a big project management job – so you need a system that makes it easy to keep track of the detail. From the get go you need some way of recording the sums of money you are spending (or committing to spend) and of updating the balance that’s left. Trying to do that in your head is a recipe for disaster – especially if your partner is doing the same!
However, you also need a good system for tracking all the other stuff, like invitations sent, RSVPs received, accommodation bookings, timelines and appointments, vendor information and table plans. If you are not on top of all of it then there’s more likelihood you’ll take your eye off the finances or make some expensive mistakes. The best way to handle the whole thing? Get one of our planner and organiser books!
Beware the less obvious expenses
Some costs are hidden – so watch out for them. For instance, many couples get caught out by overtime fees. If you get carried away and things go on longer than anticipated you can run up overtime costs for everyone from the photographer to the DJ. If you suspect that your wedding celebration may overrun the times specified in your vendor contracts then add the overtime fees into your calculations. That way, if you do manage to stick to the schedule, you’ll have a cash bonus at the end.
Tips are another area where you can get caught out. Whether it’s a “thank you” for last minute wedding dress alterations or a gratuity to the hotel concierge for delivering your welcome bags, these little amounts can swiftly mount up. We suggest you make some kind of financial allowance for these unplanned extras.
Vendor trials can be costly too. Sometimes they are free but if you ask for repeated cake tastings, florist demonstrations, hair and makeup trials then you’ll probably be billed. Try and factor this possibility into your calculations.
Stamps for invitations and RSVP cards will come to a surprisingly large amount. Then there’s marriage licence fees, packaging for welcome bags and favors. Taken individually none of these is going to break the bank but the cumulative effect can be scary!
Expect the unexpected
Some costs just come out of the blue. Maybe you realise at the last moment that you need another boutonnieres or corsage for a member of the family? Perhaps there’s a heatwave and you need to hire some extra air conditioning units? What if there’s an accident and something needs mending or cleaning? The way to handle this is to have a 5% or even 10% contingency built into your budget to cover for all those eventualities we’ve listed above.
Be money smart
Put all the money set aside for your wedding into a single dedicated account. If your parents are contributing then get them to put the funds in here. That way it’s much easier to monitor how you are doing financially – if your wedding funds are in the same account as your everyday living and household management income/bills account then it’s much harder! When making payments use a card that gives you reward points or other benefits.
Keep tight control of guest numbers
This is easier said than done – parents will insist on inviting their friends you barely know, distant relatives will expect an invite and there’s the whole “plus- one” issue. However, if you don’t set a figure, and keep to it, you will almost certain exceed your budget!
The main keys to sticking within your wedding budget are thorough planning, accurate accounting and good record keeping. You’ll find it much easier to accomplish all three if you have one of our beautiful wedding planner and organisation books. Plus they includes lots of helpful pointers, wedding planning tips and budget savvy advice. We’ve helped over 350,000 brides tie the knot and all that experience has gone into our latest editions – experience that will help you stay within budget but without cramping your style.