How to build your wedding budget
You've got engaged! Yay and congratulations! And now it sinks in... you have a wedding to plan. What do most brides do immediately after posting about their engagement on social media? Look up wedding dresses! At least this is what I did, guilty as charged. This post will take you through how to determine how much you can spend and also how to spend it cleverly. Please keep reading, let me help you from the basics, through how to divide your total and you will find our downloadable wedding budget spreadsheet below.
So please do not run off to the bridal boutique just now. First, we have to actually determine how much we can spend. And once it's done, by all means, make those exciting appointments!
1. The Piggy Bank (know how much you have)
Step one should be talking with your fiancé honestly and openly how much you have in the piggy bank. How much you can save or put aside for your wedding. Some couples already have something saved, which of course is the ideal situation. One thing I would refrain from is taking out huge loans because that can set you back for years, so instead, try to stay in the field of reality and check where you can save on expenses. When you have a figure on paper, comes step two.
2. Speak to Your Relatives (know if anyone can contribute)
You don't always have to finance everything on your own. Some parents (grannies, grandads, uncles and aunties) even if they don't offer immediately after the news will be happy to contribute towards the wedding. In some families it is known and easy to talk about. However in some cases it can be awkward to bring up the subject. If this is the case a carefully worded sentences like these can help to start the conversation: "My fiancé and I started building our wedding budget this weekend. It is certainly not an expectation, but if you were planning to contribute we would like to give you the opportunity. We are also speaking to his/her side to have more information. You do not have to make a decision immediately, we will not be finalising our budget until xx.xx.xxxx." Some will say no and that's okay. It is much better to see clearly than to count on someone's help who can't come through for you. It is also a good idea to give them a date, when you are setting your budget, because you do not want to wait forever and will want to know what is your actual budget so you can keep yourself to the planning deadlines. Those who will offer to help might not give you a figure right away and that is okay, too. But I do encourage you to find out a ballpark figure that they are looking at. Some might even just say that they will pay for your florals, or your wines etc. If this happens, please, please, please, mention to them before you book your supplier: We spoke to the florist/caterer this is the quote they gave us. Are you still ok with this amount? If they are not you have two options: 1) topping it up from your own pocket, 2) go back to the vendor and ask them what other options they have for the amount your relative is willing to pay.
3. Guest count (know how much you can spend per guest)
Once you know how many people you want to invite, you will be able to tell how lavish party you can throw for your guests. Even if it is not how you will pay most of your suppliers, it is a good thing to keep in mind how much you can spend per head (don't forget to count in yourselves too!).
A 30k budget can go a long way for 60 guests but if you have 120 in attendance you might want to compromise here and there. Every wedding is different and (especially for destination brides): every venue will give you different figures for their packages. Never assume if something was included in one package that it will be included in the next one. Always confirm with your venue.
Check if VAT is included in their prices and always ask if there are any extra or added charges for anything. Because there could be something that you haven't thought of and it is certainly better to know in advance than being slapped with taxes or service charges you did not expect.
4. Divvy up! (know how much you will spend per category)
Without question your venue and catering costs will take the biggest chunk of your budget. But it is good to plan ahead. The number one thing to do is to set 10% of your overall budget to the side for any unexpected expenses. Pretend it is not even there, you don't have it. This will be your safety net. If you are hiring a planner do the same with the fee she/he is charging you. Once you have done that you can split your budget for your biggest categories something like this:
I want you to know however, that this is far from the full list you will be spending on! But don't panic I've got you covered. I have a very detailed spreadsheet for you of the list of things you should factor in. Enter your email address to receive our budget tracker now!
This is a complete budget tracker and you can use it from receiving your quotes until you settled all of your contracted vendors. This pie chart is helpful to visualise but the ratio can change of course, for instance your venue might be providing most of your decoration or your caterer can look after your cake etc. All will depend on your package.
5. Talk it through with your planner, track it, stay on track
If you have a wedding planner, send your budget plan over and discuss it with her/him. You have a special advisor who is worth listening to. She will have the experience to tell you if your expectations of you day match your budget. And how you can tweak it to get maximum results. Don't forget, you chose her because you trust her. She is in your corner and if she says something you do not like to hear, it is still based on her experience. She does this every day so she can indeed predict whether what you are planning is feasible or not. Ultimately the decision will be yours on what you are spending on and what you will compromise on. But this valuable advice (based on experience, education and training) is what you pay her for. So use it! Don't be shy always ask if you do not know or understand something. If you do not have a planner, join different bridal forums where experts and brides share their experiences. It can be helpful if you feel a little lost.
Track your budget. Whether you are using Bebono's ultimate wedding budget tracker or not, you have to make notes on what you have spent and what scheduled payments are still outstanding. This will help you know how much you have still in the bank compared to what needs to be paid.