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The sun is shining, the bells are peeling, you’ve just said ‘I do’ and it’s the happiest day of your life – but great weddings don’t happen by accident and it takes months of planning to make sure the big day is as perfect as possible for everyone involved.
Only when you start planning your wedding will you appreciate just how big of a task it is – not only do you have to spec out the ceremony and reception venues, there are the suits and dresses to consider, the cars, the flowers, the favours, the food, the seating plans – the list is endless.
Although arranging a wedding can be a daunting task, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and so well worth putting in all the time and effort you can.
While attention to detail is key to making the day a memorable one – nothing should be left to chance – a degree of restraint is also often in order, so make sure a wedding budget planner is at the heart of all your plans!
Free Wedding Budget Planner Download
Once you begin planning your wedding there’s a good chance you’ll think of nothing else until the knot has been tied and the last of the guests have been peeled from the dance floor!
You can never put too much thought into creating what will be one of the most memorable days of your life. The only thing you should be cautious about is getting carried away – that intimate wedding you had planned could soon snowball into something much bigger.
So it’s vital you keep a wedding budget planner checklist so you know exactly when, where, and how each and every penny is being spent to avoid getting yourself into financial difficulty – having to deal with a mountain of debt is no way to start married life.
A wedding budget planner list is also a great way to maintain perspective and make sure expectations are realistic – there can be few more disheartening things than planning something special for a wedding day, only to find out further down the line you don’t have enough money to make it a reality.
If you’re unsure about where to begin, check out our free, printable Ultimate Wedding Budget Planner worksheet (for Excel, etc) – this easy-to-use spreadsheet covers everything you’ll need to consider for the big day, from corsages to caterers.
With the wedding day budget planner now in hand, it’s time to work out exactly who pays for what.
Who pays for the wedding?
Weddings don’t come cheap. Even if you set out to have a small, intimate occasion with just a handful of guests, once all the essentials (venues, suits, rings, flowers, transport) have been factored in, the costs can quickly stack up.
If you need an idea of exactly how much your nuptials could set you back, Brides Magazine estimates the average cost of a wedding in the UK is around the £30,000 mark…
The good news is that you may be able to split the costs between the families of the bride and groom so that it’s not just you who pays for the wedding.
Wedding tradition dictates that certain members of the wedding party are expected to foot the bill for certain things – so, for instance, the family of the bride may cover the cost of the ceremony and reception venue while the groom’s family might pay for the brides’ and bridesmaids’ bouquets, corsages and the buttonholes for the groomsmen.
So, who traditionally pays for what at a wedding?
The bride and bride’s family traditionally pay for…
- the wedding venue
- bride’s dress
- bridesmaids’ dresses
- bridesmaids’ gifts
- wedding flowers for the ceremony
- wedding photos and videos
- groom’s wedding ring
- wedding cake
- wedding invitations
- wedding flowers
- wedding reception venue
- wedding breakfast
- evening buffet
- reception drinks
- wedding favours
It’s the groom’s family who traditionally pay for…
- bride’s wedding ring
- wedding licence
- bride’s flowers
- mother’s/grandmother’s flowers
- wedding cars/transport
- groom’s formal wear
- formalwear for groomsmen
- groomsmen’s’ gifts
- parent’s gifts
As you can see, the bigger costs are all met by the family of the bride, so if the parents are prepared to chip in it may be more diplomatic to work out the total costings (using your budget planner) and divide them equally between the families.
How much should you budget for each part?
We’ve already outlined how the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £30,000, which is a few grand more than the average annual salary, and a lot for any family to find – so how exactly do those wedding costs break down?
How much to budget for the wedding venue?
This cost can often be split into two – the ceremony venue and the reception venue – and, on average, couples will pay around £3,000 for each.
It’s always a good idea to book the wedding and reception venues early. Ideally, you’d do this as soon as you have an idea of the headcount and date, as this not only gives you a greater chance of securing the exact date you want, but you may also be able to negotiate a better price.
How much to budget for the wedding dress?
The wedding dress is the real centrepiece of the occasion – something that not only makes the bride feel at her most fabulous, but also adds to the tone or theme for the wedding.
Expect to pay anything upward of £1,000 for the dress.
How much to budget for wedding photography?
The wedding photographer has one of the day’s most important jobs by providing a permanent record of the day, so factor in the cost, but also look at things like style and reputation.
Although prices can vary dramatically, you can expect to pay around £1,000 for wedding photographs and videos.
How much to budget for wedding flowers?
Wedding flowers add so much to the overall feel and look of the occasion so it’s vital you get the right ones for the day.
Flowers are needed for every part of the day, from the bride’s bouquet to the table centrepieces – expect to pay around £600.
How much to budget for the wedding cake?
The cost of the cake is another that can vary wildly depending upon who you employ to make it and how big you want to go with it – expect to pay anything up to £300, or even more if you go for a particularly extravagant one.
It’s easy to see how the costs quickly add up, and while there’s obviously no upper limit on how much you can spend, it is possible to cut costs by using a little imagination and being prepared to compromise on certain things.
Tips for saving on your wedding
Everyone has a different idea of what makes a perfect wedding – some will go all in for a wedding fit for royalty while others will prefer a more low-key occasion – but no matter the size or style of the wedding, each and every one will need a venue, rings, flowers and usually no shortage of friends and family.
It can be tricky trying to organise a wedding while sticking to a strict budget, but it’s by no means impossible – so if you’re wondering how to save on wedding costs, here are some simple ideas…
- The guest list – You may want as many people to share your big day as possible, but don’t be afraid to put some guests on the evening-only list, as this can save you a fortune on the wedding breakfast and reception drinks.
- Save on the wedding cake & food – If a friend or family member is handy in the kitchen, you could have them make up the canapes and the cake, meaning you can get a fair bit of the catering done at low cost.
- Save on wedding flowers & invitations – Similarly, if you or someone you know is a dab hand at arts and crafts, you could save on table centrepieces, flower arrangements, the invitations and thank-you cards by making them yourself, adding a unique and personal touch to the day.
- The table displays – If you’re going for a quirky, vintage-y, theme, you could save money on the table displays by using mismatched china, or vintage vases, and you could even save on your wedding dress by buying vintage!
- The day of the week – Another good way to save is to think about the timing of the wedding – getting married on a Friday in autumn, winter or spring will be a lot cheaper than getting hitched on a Saturday in summer.
- The time of year – Getting married outside of the summer months means there’ll be less of an emphasis on the weather, and so the chance of rain won’t have everyone on tenterhooks.
- Save on the wedding venue – The wedding venue makes up a big percentage of the costs, so instead of booking the hall of a stately home or some other expensive venue for the reception, you can cut costs by hiring a marquee to put up in your garden, a picturesque park or on the beach.
As you can see, organising a wedding is about much more than saying ‘I do’ and putting on a bit of shindig for friends and family, and every aspect needs to be properly planned in advance – this is especially important if you’re working with a tight budget, as costs can quickly stack up.
With a little imagination and no little forward planning, there’s no reason why you can’t have the perfect wedding day you always dreamt of while keeping costs in check.
No matter how big or small the occasion, it’s always worth enlisting the help of professionals to ensure you get hitched without any unexpected hitches – All About Me can help with all aspects of your big day. Get in touch today!