Budgeting for your wedding day
Wedding photographer Marion Frances, www.marionfrances.co.uk, shares her advice on budgeting for your wedding.
In the current economic climate we all need to be careful how we spend our money. Your wedding day is likely to be one of the largest expenses of your life so it is wise to consider every cost carefully and to come up with a structured plan that fits your budget.
So you’re engaged - congratulations! The budgeting starts here with a decision whether you want to announce your engagement in a local and/or national newspaper. If you are on a tight budget perhaps you can manage without this expense.
A good place to start with the wedding day plans is deciding when and where you will tie the knot. You will need to have an idea of your overall budget first though. If your finances are stretched then consider a weekday wedding. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are usually premium price but most venues will offer a good discount for weekdays. It is traditional for the bride’s parents to pay for the reception so you will need to liaise with them over budgets and costs. Bear in mind that the most popular and best value venues get booked up a long way in advance. So you may have to wait to get the place you want.
You could consider a DIY reception at a local hall but do remember to cost in all the factors. For example the hire of the hall, purchase of the food, hire of the china and glassware, purchase of the wine and champagne, hire or purchase of table linen, napkins, chair covers and bows. Think carefully as well as to who is going to help you with the food, laying out, serving, clearing away, washing up, tidying the hall and returning the hired items and so on. One thing that some couples do is to ask guests to bring an item of food to help keep the cost down. I was invited to a wedding recently and was asked to bring a selection of cheese instead of a gift. No struggle choosing something and it was lovely to see everyone tucking in!
You should think at this stage about how many guests you will invite. This will of course have an impact on the cost. Think about the fact that your guests may be coming a long was and spending a lot of money simply to attend your wedding. It is better to look after a smaller number of guests well rather than to invite so many that you cannot comfortably cater for them.
Once you have decided on the venue and number of guests you can start thinking about the other things that you will need to pay for. Below is a list to help you start:-
Wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses.
Groom and groomsmen’s suits.
Invitations/order of service etc.
Thank you gifts.
If you are on a budget consider calling in some favours. Who could make a cake for you? Do you know someone with a nice car you could use? Is someone in your family a wiz at flower arranging? Can you make your own invitations? Perhaps you could make some on your computer using a really nice photograph of you as a couple or visit a craft shop and then create something bespoke. It is likely that your rings, dress and suits will have to be bought, unless you have a jeweller and /or a seamstress/tailor in the family. It is usual to buy gifts for the attendants and flowers for the mothers. Consider how you could be creative with these presents. Can you negotiate a special deal at the jewellers where you are buying your rings? You could also consider making a photo-book for them all after the day; see my comments below about photography.
My advice is not to skimp on the photography. Your wedding day will fly by and the best way of reliving it in the years to come will be through your photographs. Shop and around and ask for recommendations, do make sure that you see ‘whole’ weddings from your chosen photographer. Try and book one that offers you your images on a CD. This will give you printing and distribution rights (personal use). You can save money by producing your own albums, prints, canvases etc.
Whatever your budget there are savings to be made if you are careful and consider everything in your plans. Good luck!