10 Things To Ask When Planning Your Wedding Budget


Image from Nicky and Rich’s real wedding

It can be overwhelming to think about your spending when you’re in the first stages of wedding planning. We’re here to help – before you get that calculator and open a brand new spreadsheet, there are several things you should consider. Thinking about them now will go a long way towards making smarter decisions when the time comes to sign on the dotted line. Now is the right time to involve the groom too – his input is vital and will ensure you both have an unforgettable wedding.

Do we want to pay for it all, or are the parents going to help?

There is no right or wrong answer here – nowadays it’s all up to the bride and groom. Do consider the following: if you decide to pay for the entire wedding yourself, you’ll probably have to choose a realistic date far enough in the future so you can budget accordingly. This date may be a little later than you would have liked, or you may be getting married in winter wonderland instead of having an outdoor summer soiree – what we’re saying is, some compromises are usually necessary in the name of the budget. On the other hand, if you accept a parental contribution, be prepared for their input.

What is the most important thing to me, us?

Ask this question before you make any decisions at all – what kind of wedding do you want to have? What about the groom? Don’t be fooled: even if he says “I’m happy with whatever you want, sweetheart”, deep down he may still be crossing his fingers and thinking “I hope I won’t have to take a second job to pay for a 500-guest extravaganza”. It’s vital you both say what’s most important to you for your wedding day – is it the venue that’s going to make all the difference? Or rather, a small elegant gathering for those closest to you? Or having the finest food money can buy? If he says he doesn’t know – tell him to think about it and tell you in one week’s time. What you decide together will very much influence the allocation of your budget.

How many bridesmaids do I want?

To put it plainly – the more bridesmaids you have, the higher the costs. Think of the cost for just one girl: dress, shoes, jewellery, flowers, hair and make-up (don’t forget to add the cost of the trials too), gifts, food. Other possible costs: transport (you may have to hire an extra limo if you have a small crowd of girls around you), and accommodation (ditto, for hotel rooms). Even if you get great deals on all these, it still adds up. Now multiply by the number of bridesmaids… now you get the idea. And then you may feel that you have to have a matching number of male attendants on the groom’s side. They’ll all need suits or tuxedos as well. This decision requires some careful thinking, before you ask anyone to be in the bridal party.

Which wedding traditions are not important to us?

Just because weddings are done a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to have it all if you’re not a ‘follow the crowd’ type of person. For example – you don’t really see the point of wedding favours? That’s really no problem at all, go ahead and spend that money on something the guests may enjoy much better, like a chocolate fountain or a photo booth. You don’t want a huge tiered wedding cake, preferring a dessert table instead? Sounds great. Do only the things that are meaningful to you. You won’t be shunned by the locals if your wedding isn’t what everyone expects.

Image from Sheena & Dave’s real wedding

Are we willing to get into debt for our wedding?

While some wedding debt may be unavoidable, think long and hard – do you want to start your married life with a financial burden? Do you still want to be paying for your wedding five years from now? Plan wisely – try your absolute best to avoid this.

How do we feel about DIY?

Nowadays, most weddings have a few – or indeed, a lot – of personal touches, lovingly crafted by the bride, bridesmaids, family members, or even talented guests. When done right, these little home-made delights make a huge difference to the budget, not to mention make your wedding unique. First, think of everyone you know – who’s crafty, and would they be willing to help? Secondly, does DIY fit in with my ideas? If you want a top class champagne-and-truffles gala, it may not fit with your vision. But if you compromise a little, you could save a whole lot of money.

Are we going to agree on all the spending together?

Just because your fiancé is happy to let you take the lead in the planning, it doesn’t mean that one day he won’t check that budget spreadsheet and nearly lose his mind over your flower spending. We suggest you talk about all major sums you’re going to commit to – especially anything that involves putting down a deposit, as you may not get a refund if you change your mind. How about – ensure you agree on all the big things, but leave room in the budget for smaller things to give you flexibility. For example, tea lights, table décor, seating chart – these things won’t need his agreement, unless he truly wants to get involved to the last detail.

Can we be flexible with our date and season?

We all love sunny August Saturdays – so it’s no wonder they, and other prime dates, get booked fast and at top prices too. A wedding season starts in May and ends in September – would a charming Easter wedding or a late autumn glory celebration be just as fabulous? How about a New Year’s Eve wedding – the one night in a year everyone is guaranteed to be in a good mood? Or how about a Valentine’s Day wedding? Even the most desirable venues have lower prices out of season. We suggest: check the websites of a few wedding venues that you like the look of, most of them post their wedding packages online. Compare the prices for yourself – you can have your dream wedding for a lot less if you choose the right date.

Image from Ashley and Lee’s real wedding

Would we have a more modest wedding in exchange for a lavish honeymoon?

Many couples say that their only chance to have a truly luxurious holiday is on their honeymoon – a true once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ll remember forever. A wedding lasts one day, whereas a honeymoon can last – by designation – up to a month. You can choose any destination in the world, or even several, and treat yourself to an extraordinary adventure. Fly around the world. See all the sights you’ve only ever seen in brochures. Take the most amazing photos you’ll love looking at for the rest of your life. Come back with marvellous stories to tell. Enjoy being a newlywed, alone with your hubby, and come back home a changed person. Think about it.

Do we need wedding insurance?

You are counting on many people to come through for you without any hiccups, but problems do happen, and they can range from accidental damage to your wedding dress to your venue losing their wedding licence. You may be the most organised person in the world, but unfortunate things do happen to the best of us, especially if your wedding is over a year away. Wedding insurance might be something you want to consider if you want that peace of mind.

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