Now, first off we’d like to say that we know that talking about your wedding budget isn’t going to be top of your list.

gold wedding cake

Will you spend a lot of your budget on your cake?

But seriously, budgeting for your big day is like tearing off a sticking plaster. It’s best to grit your teeth and just do it. To be frank, working out what you can afford should be the first stage of wedding planning you do.

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A wedding budget is crucial

We get it. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. But it is necessary. Get your budget planned with your other half and once you know what you have to spend you can relax a bit.

If you don’t set a budget and just spend freely, then to be honest you are heading for disaster. And you’ll probably be starting off married life with a heap of debt, which is not a particularly good beginning, is it?

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Anyway, here’s our handy guide to setting your wedding budget. Read it through, take note and you can be confident you are:

a) Being responsible

b) Unlikely to have any horrible financial surprises in a few months

c) Going to know what you can spend – which makes life a lot easier in many ways.

How to set your wedding budget

  1. First of all, you need to be thinking about the kind of wedding you want. Do you want to have lots of guests? A lavish venue? A marquee style wedding? A city wedding in a chic restaurant? Do you want to have an all-day event, with lunch and an evening meal and dancing afterwards? DJ or band? And what about the dress? Flowers? Make a list of what’s important to you both, then get some prices for everything so you can see what it is going to cost. If you blow everything on a lavish venue then you might not get the dress you want and vice versa. You need to think about every cost and write a long list (Excel spreadsheets are good here).
  2. Today couples pay for around 50% of the wedding themselves. This means that someone else is footing the bill for the rest. So the two of you might like to sit down with your parents and ask if they would like to contribute. They may not offer to pay for all of the wedding but might like to foot the bill for some of it like the flowers, the wedding cake or maybe the wine and champagne.
  3. Work out what you have saved up that you can put towards the wedding and what you can afford to save every month (having deducted rent, mortgage, household bills, loan repayments and council tax) you will then have a final sum.
  4. Now you’ve worked out the kind of wedding you want and what it will cost, take your final sum and add the amount of any parental contribution. That is your wedding budget.
  5. Following the steps above should have made you stop and think about the style of wedding you want. Is it more important to have all your friends and family there in a more modest venue, with simpler food? Or would you rather have a luxe venue and fewer people? Or do you want to keep some money back for your honeymoon? Be honest with yourself. Don’t have a big wedding just because you think you should. You don’t want to fall into the trap of inviting people that you’re not that close to just because you think you should, people that won’t play a part in your lives in the years to come.
  6. Be very careful that you have included everything in your wedding plan. You should leave about 15-20% of your budget for unexpected expenses. Maybe if you have a marquee the weather will be unseasonably cold and you’ll have to heat it. Or if it’s snowy you might need to transport guests to the venue by coach.
  7. Look at your list and you’ll see ways that you could save money. For example, maybe you could serve wedding cake instead of dessert? Or maybe by having an evening wedding you can save money by not having to feed people twice (lunch and dinner) and that’s not to mention drinks. Remember to choose flowers and food that are in season too, that’s a money saver.

Communication with your partner is key when you’re setting your wedding budget. Talk to each other realistically about what you both want and how much you can save and you’ll be able to go forward with confidence and without unnecessary arguments.