Wedding Budgets: How to Stay on Track and Avoid Overspending

Written by Emma Hla
Your wedding day is one of the most memorable and special moments in your life. However, it can also be one of the most expensive.

Many couples can find themselves overspending, often leading to unnecessary stress and financial strain, and I think we can all agree that this isn’t the best start to married life. To ensure your wedding day remains a joyous celebration rather than a financial burden, planning and sticking to your budget is essential.

So, how can you stay on track?

Set a Realistic Budget

Before you dive into any wedding planning, establish a realistic budget. This means firstly ignoring the ‘average’ wedding spend articles that will no doubt pop up in your Google searches; instead, you can start some initial scoping by chatting to friends and family who have already gone through the wedding planning process and browsing some suppliers to get a feel for how much things cost. No doubt, planning a wedding is the first big event or party you’ve thrown, so it can be a little daunting when you realise that 50 – 60% of your budget will usually go on a venue and catering.

Discuss your own financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably allocate to your wedding expenses. Be honest about your finances, and don’t feel pressured to match the weddings you see on social media or amongst your own friendship group. Your wedding should reflect your values and priorities, not someone else’s.

If you are receiving help or a financial gift from family or friends to help towards the celebrations, then have an open conversation early on to lock this into the budget.

Prioritise Your Spending

Identify the aspects of your wedding that matter most to you and your partner. Is it the venue, the food, or the photography? You can allocate more of your budget to these priorities and consider saving on less important elements. This approach allows you to enjoy what you value most without going over budget.

Also, create your own day! You can pick and choose which elements are essential to you, so don’t feel you need to spend money on a cake for cutting if neither of you loves cake! If you don’t like the idea of a sit-down wedding breakfast, do something else! It’s absolutely up to you how your day looks and feels; therefore, you can spend your money on the elements that truly matter.

Create a Detailed Budget Plan

Once you’ve set your budget, create a detailed plan. List all potential expenses, from the venue and catering to attire, decorations, and entertainment. Use spreadsheets or budgeting apps to track the costs and monitor your progress. Having a clear and organised budget plan will help you stay on track.

Research and Compare

We don’t really advise shopping around for the best ‘deals’ and ‘discounts’ when it comes to finding your wedding A-team, but it does make sense to reach out to multiple suppliers to request quotes and compare prices.

If you can be flexible, some venues/suppliers may offer packages or have early-booking or late-date rates available. But honestly, our best advice here is to not look for and book the cheapest venue or supplier you can to save money but rather compare the value you’re getting from each venue/supplier for the price quoted.

Consider Alternative Dates and Times

Choosing a less popular wedding date or time can save you significant money. Saturdays in summer are prime wedding days, and venues and suppliers can charge a premium for these dates. Instead, opt for a Friday, Sunday, or weekday wedding, and consider an off-peak month (anything outside of May – September). A slightly shorter wedding is also an option, with a brunch or afternoon reception instead of an evening affair.

Limit Your Guest List

The number of guests directly impacts your overall wedding expenses, so keep your guest list manageable by inviting only close friends and family. A smaller guest list means you can spend more of your budget on enhancing the guest experience and really treating your loved ones without breaking the bank.

DIY When Possible

Consider do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for decorations, invitations, and even wedding favours. Not only can this be an enjoyable and team-bonding process, but it can also save you a significant amount of money. Enlist the help of family and friends to assist with DIY tasks.

Stick to Your Priorities

It’s easy to get carried away with extra details and expenditures throughout the planning process. Always come back to your budget priorities. If a particular expense doesn’t align with what’s most important to you, reconsider whether it’s worth the cost.

Save for the Unexpected

Every budget must include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. Wedding planning often comes with surprises, and having a cushion for emergencies can help you avoid stress and overspending – you can thank us later.

Keep Communication Open

Effective communication with your partner is crucial! Regularly discuss your wedding budget, review expenses, and make decisions together. Be honest about your financial situation and expectations to avoid misunderstandings.

Planning your dream wedding while staying within your budget is achievable with careful planning and prioritisation. By setting a realistic budget, researching your options, and making thoughtful choices, you can create a unique and personal celebration that means you won’t be left with a debt hangover.

Remember that your wedding is about the love and commitment you share with your partner, not the extravagance of the event. Staying on track with your finances will allow you to focus on what truly matters – the adventure after your wedding day!

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