We’ve a GENIUS wedding planning idea to share with you today. It has only ever been mentioned in passing in other articles and on websites… tucked into wedding advice as just another bullet point… or a ‘how about this’ alternative. Well, we think it totally deserves to be singled out and made famous.
It’s relevant to couples at the very beginning of their planning journey, when they’re still deciding how much to spend and where. Is that you? Read on! This nifty idea literally solves many initial problems in one neat swoop, and gets BOTH people involved in making decisions. And when you read to the end, you’ll be (probably, hopefully!) exclaiming ‘why didn’t I know about this before!’ If you’re trying to work out a budget, this is FOR YOU.
Photo from Bevin & Gary’s real wedding by Eden Photography
Ok, ready? Here goes.
We’ve just published weddingsonline‘s latest press release about wedding trends in Ireland. Based on answers from 2,000 participants, it shows that an average spend on a wedding is €24,427 – not a small amount by any means. Very helpfully, the couples specified what most of the money went to.
Please note, the numbers you see below are averages of spending by all the couples polled. You will find the amounts you’ll spend will vary according to your preferences and suppliers you choose (and if for instance you’re opting for one ceremony singer versus a group of singers/musicians, there will of course be a price difference). And so, here’s how they stack up, ranked in order of expense:
€4,341 Venues abroad
€1,714 Wedding dress
€1,286 Wedding planner
€541 Bridesmaid dresses
€518 Hen and/or stag party
€450 Car/ horse and carriage
€376 Ceremony Music
€344 Make Up Artist
€307 Wedding Celebrant
€297 Hair stylist
That’s quite a list, right? Here’s how the genius wedding planning idea works. You’ll probably agree with us when we say you and your other half find different things important. For instance, you think great food is more important than an open bar. But your fiancé thinks the opposite – they’d prefer open bar but simpler food. You want a classy and elegant affair, your other half wants to liven it up with a bit of Lego. How do you work this out?
Photo from Tara & Derek’s post-wedding photo shoot by Emma Russell
Here’s the answer.
First, look at the above list together.
You pick TWO THINGS that are most important to you, and non-negotiable. This is where you’ll have the final decision and where you think the bulk of the budget should be allocated.
Then, your other half also picks TWO THINGS that are important to them, and non-negotiable. Same thing – final decision, budget allocation.
Then, together, you pick two more things you’ll compromise on together – these are things that are also important to you, and you both want to spend money on, but they may require some more discussion.
That’s it, you’re done. Six things – two for you, two for fiancé(e), two to decide together. These six things take care of the most important stuff for your wedding, what you BOTH care about and don’t mind spending money on.
This approach leads to many surprises – so keep an open mind. For example, you’ll find your other half is totally committed to an incredible honeymoon – who knew? Or, both of you want a photographer AND a videographer – fab! This approach also helps you avoid the unpleasant surprises – like your other half saying ‘why did you spend so much money on xyz?’ and you saying, ‘I thought it was important to you?’ And the reply no bride ever wants to hear, ‘I couldn’t care less about xyz.’ Not nice, right?
Why does this planning idea work so well? It narrows things down beautifully to the essentials, and you both have equal input into what happens, where the money is spent, and how. You also both get to enjoy the parts of the wedding that make a difference to you.
The final question – what do you do about the rest of the stuff? Well, after you’ve taken care of the six big things, you can now decide how much you’d like to put towards the rest, or which ones you want for your Big Day and divide up accordingly. Start a spreadsheet or get your wedding planner out – you’re now ready to conquer this wedding thing!
Photo from Crystal & Brian’s real wedding by Glamour Algarve Weddings
Main photo from Neil & Mairead’s real wedding by McMahon Studios
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.