Stay on track with your wedding budget

Image link from Dream Occasions wedding plannerHappy New Year everyone! (I know I’ve already said it but you might not have been back to English Wedding yet!) I hope you’re having a great time launching into your wedding planning, whether you’re newly engaged or a 2011 bride.

With it being time for resolutions and all, I thought this would be a good bit of advice to start off the new year – because setting out your wedding budget is the best way to avoid wedding planning stress. I hope it’s useful for you!

Getting started with your wedding budget

by guest blogger and top UK wedding planner Bernadette Chapman of Dream Occasions

If there is one thing that upsets me greatly, it’s seeing couples struggle to pay for a wedding they cannot afford. Please work out what you can realistically afford to spend and speak to your parents about any contribution they can offer.

You should do this from the outset so you know what venue you can book and what suppliers to hire, you don’t want to book a venue only to discover it blows 70% of your budget, whoops just doesn’t cover it!

How do you work out a wedding budget?

Think about when you want to get married, is it this year or in 18 months time. To begin with work out your expenditure for each month and what do you have spare, don’t forget to allocate money for entertaining, clothes, holidays, birthdays.

This is the amount you have available to save each month, multiply this by the number of months before your wedding (don’t forget to do this for both of you) then add to any wedding savings you have.

Then are family members giving you any money towards the wedding? Add this all together, this is your total available wedding budget.

Discuss with your fiancé what elements of the day are important to you, i.e entertainment, venue or number of guests.

When wedding planners are planning weddings for clients we allocate a % to each category for the wedding, this will vary depending on what the priorities are for each client. i.e if entertainment is very important we will spend more on this and reduce the % in another category instead. Use the below table as a guideline when producing your budget.

[table id=2 /]

Track your wedding budget

As a planner, I of course LOVE a spreadsheet! Put all the categories for your wedding on a spreadsheet with estimated cost then actual cost so you can keep track of any over or under spend. If you would like a FREE spreadsheet to use with your planning email and I will send one to you.

Don’t forget if you just must have those shoes………………..the money has to come from somewhere so think about where you can shave some costs from.

Be creative with your wedding spending

Think about areas where you can save money.

Weddings normally bring out the best in friends and family so why not ask them to actively help you with the wedding.

Previous generations relied on the generosity of family to ensure they could have a wedding they desired. Perhaps someone has a hidden talent like cake making, hair & beauty or does someone have a luxury car that can be used as the wedding transportation.

Maybe your in laws are enthusiastic gardeners, they could make up pots of flowers or herbs for you to use as centre pieces.

In the past friends of clients have helped with:

• Use of luxury car as wedding transport

• Use of garden furniture (for garden of marquee functions)

• Making favours or wedding cakes

• Song during the service

• Played classical instruments for drink reception

• Provided the disco for the evening

So ask around, I’m sure there is someone that can help with your wedding, most people love to be asked.

Get wise with wedding budgeting

If you need to cut costs then think about what is really important and where money can be saved. Does it matter that all stationery coordinates?

Instead of flowers why not have candelabras ( instead? Why pay hundreds of pounds for hair/makeup when a friend can do it for free instead.

And don’t forget larger companies charge vat which from January 2011 is a whopping 20% on top of their regular quotation. Think about using smaller companies for some of the wedding suppliers thus saving dramatically.

For example if a photographer charges £2,000 the vat is an additional £400 (from January 2011) multiply by number of suppliers you are hiring for the wedding ………….and you begin to talk about a LOT of money.

That said don’t discount a company just because they charge vat! For example I never use a new/small caterer as for me I need to use someone I trust, the more established & successful caterers are naturally vat registered. Likewise the florist I use charges vat but I use her because she has the stock, staff and experience to create the type of displays I need for my clients.

Wedding suppliers with enthusiasm vs experience

Contact your local colleges and universities; those studying music could play at your drink reception or maybe there is a university band that would love to entertain you for free? The catering students might want to make canapés or your cake for you. And lets not forget those studying floristry, I’m sure they would provide their services for free as long as you buy the flowers (wholesale) for them.

BUT work out what is important to you, if photos are especially high up your list ensure you pay for a professional photographer – this isn’t the time to ruin future memories for the sake of a few hundred pounds. Sometimes paying for experience is the best decision.

Finally remember it’s your wedding, no-one else’s, is it worth getting into debt because you didn’t have the heart to say sorry you’re not invited…?

wedding and event organiser in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge_1292709876141

guest blogger Bernadette Chapman is Training Director at the UKAWP

Thank you to Bernadette Chapman for the guest post. I’ve known Bernadette (virtually!) for a few years now and she always comes up with great advice for brides.

As the founder of the UKAWP (Alliance of Wedding Planners) Bernadette is highly respected in the industry. Please visit her website for more information: and her wedding blog for practical wedding planning advice, design tips and product & supplier reviews.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.




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