Are you getting married soon? Congratulations! This is a very exciting time for two people who are about to embark on a life-long journey together. It’s also a time of great expense.
The first step to planning a successful wedding is creating a budget. A budget isn’t just about how much you need to spend; it’s also about prioritising your spending. You’ll want to think about what’s most important to you as a couple and allocate your funds accordingly.
Wedding budgeting 101
Let’s talk budgets – how much should you spend on your wedding? How do you decide what percentage of your total wedding budget goes into catering? How do you keep track of all the little costs that add up over time? And what happens if you’re over-budget?
The answer is a wedding budget spreadsheet that gives you an overview of the costs associated with planning your big day, and ensures you don’t go over-budget. It’s up to both partners to decide which costs are most important for their wedding day and allocate their spending accordingly.
For example, if food is important, list it as one of your top priorities under “catering” or “venue.” This will help you avoid surprises when it comes time to pay the final bill.
Start with a simple list
Begin by listing all the items and services you will need to purchase when planning your wedding, including:
- Reception hall
- Food and drinks
- Wedding cake
- Flower girl gifts
- Photographer and videographer
- Music (band or DJ)
- Invitations and announcements
- Ceremony site fee (if applicable)
- Wedding favours
- Officiant’s fee (if applicable)
Get your partner involved
Consider the costs involved with your wedding and decide what you can afford to spend. It’s a good idea to plan your wedding budget with your fiancé or fiancée. Discuss openly what each partner can contribute, both in terms of money and resources, such as friends or family members who may be able to help with various aspects of the big event.
Ask your parents
Ask your parents if they want to contribute anything towards the cost of the wedding. If they do, decide how much money you want from them, and for what items. For example, if your parents are funding the entire reception (food, drink and venue), then that is one item on the list where you don’t have to worry about spending any of your own money.
Create a guest list
Set a realistic guest list based on your budget and only invite people you’re prepared to cover financially if they RSVP yes. Creating a guest list can be stressful, especially since every guest costs money. But it also sets the tone for your wedding. A big, formal wedding at a hotel requires more guests than an intimate ceremony in a backyard.
Before you start planning anything, decide how many people you want to invite and what kind of event you’ll host. That will help you determine the budget for your wedding and set the tone for the rest of your wedding planning.
Conventional wisdom says that you should expect about 80% of the people who receive your invitation to attend, though the exact percentage will vary depending on the type of event, where it’s held and other factors.