Decide What’s Important So You Can Set A Budget
Which elements are the most important to you, the romance of a wedding or the reality of paying for it?
Whether you want to have a barbecue for 20, a formal dinner for 100 or a cocktail reception for 400, the first thing to do is to sit down with your fiancé and work out who is going to contribute.
Although it was once tradition for the bride’s family to pay for most, if not all of the wedding, this is no longer the case. Today many couples pay for their own wedding, with help from either or both sets of parents. Therefore, the bride and groom must add up the amounts that they have from various sources and plan their wedding accordingly.
After deciding what the budget is, the next step is to prioritise expenses. For example, the bride might insist on an elegant evening reception. After some research, it may be determined that up to 60% of the budget will need to be spent to achieve her ideal, leaving few funds for a designer gown, fabulous photographs, quality invitations, flowers aplenty and a dream honeymoon. Or perhaps, the top priority is flowers, with orchids spilling from crystal vases on every table. Obviously, your budget will strongly reflect these preferences.
Group Your Expenses
Try to group expenses into major categories: reception (to include the location, rentals, food, drink and cake), fashion (to include bridal wear and other accessories for the groom and wedding party), flowers, photography and videography, music and entertainment, honeymoon and miscellaneous (to include initiations, stationary, favours and transpiration).
Ideally, the reception should be about 50 per cent of your budget and the remaining categories the other 50 per cent. It might be a good idea to have your budget outlined on paper. This hard copy will aid in resisting vendors who will try to tempt you to stay beyond your means. Be sure that you understand all costs involved before finalising any arrangements and read contracts carefully before signing.
Remember that many companies will require a deposit so it might help to highlight dates for payment on your spending plan.
There are a few key elements that will vary the cost tremendously; time of day, menu, length of reception, level of formality and the size of the guest list.
Saving On Costs
If you set out your budget and find you keep cutting where you would rather not, perhaps a longer engagement period would give you a chance to put away the extra cash needed. A monthly savings program as little as one year can make a big difference to achieving the wedding of your dreams.
Another way to economise is to accept generous offers from family and friends; whether an aunt volunteers to fill the church with flowers from her garden or a friend from school sings a rendition of Ave Maria, not only will enhance the personal side of both the wedding and your memories. Consider an at home wedding with a hired wedding marquee.
A little creativity will stretch your budget a long way. Church decorations and flowers can be reused at the reception and, if you have the inclination make your own gifts for the bridesmaids and the ushers. Take a course at the local college in stained glass, ceramics or even Chinese painting; these gifts shall be cherished and will cost nothing more than the registration fee, materials and your time. Plus, the class might be a good way to wind down each week throughout the stressful planning period.
Finally, many travel agencies have savings plans for honeymooners; if you don’t mind waiting a few months before departing, then go ahead and register your honeymoon, then invite guests to contribute. This is an ideal registry for couples who have already set up house and are more in need of the dream vacation that an additional set of china or glassware.