Budgeting can be one of the most challenging and stressful parts of wedding planning. It’s an area where many couples struggle. In fact, I read the other day that almost half of couples go over budget! But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you approach things the right way from the very beginning and manage your wedding budget carefully, you can keep stress levels to a minimum. And, while there isn’t a magic formula that works for every couple, there are a few top tips that will help you along the way.
Set a realistic, detailed budget
The first step, of course, is to create a clear and accurate budget. To do this, you’ll need to take a few factors into account. First, how many guests do you want to invite? Second, what sort of wedding do you want? And finally, what is the maximum amount you are willing and able to spend on your big day and where will the money come from? Once you have this information, it’s time to start doing some research and breaking down your budget from a lump sum into individual items, so you know what your costs are in detail. Research your dream wedding destination and talk to an experienced wedding planner. Remember to include your honeymoon, as well as hidden costs like tipping. Once you’ve put all of this information together, you can see if what you want and what you can afford align. If not, re-evaluate your options until they do. You may need to compromise on guest count, venue, or the style of your wedding, for example.
Create a good tracking system
If you want to manage your wedding budget successfully, it’s essential that you track your spending. There are lots of tools you can use, from fancy apps to a simple Excel spreadsheet. Whichever you choose, make sure you both have access to the tracker and that you update it every time you spend money on the wedding. Those little extras can really add up! It’s also a good idea to put all your wedding money in a separate account. That way, you can easily track withdrawals and payments without getting them confused with the rest of your day-to-day accounting.
Read the small print
Whenever you’re booking vendors, be sure to go over their contracts carefully. This will help to prevent unpleasant surprises down the line. For example, taxes and service charges. Additionally, make sure that everything you’ve discussed with each vendor is included in your contract and not considered an optional extra.
Charge to credit cards responsibly
It can be tempting to boost your wedding fund with credit cards, but you don’t want to start your married life with mountains of extra debt. Only charge items you can pay off within thirty days, or within a built-in interest-free period. When you do use a credit card, make sure you choose one with a generous cash back or rewards program.
Build in a 10% contingency
Unfortunately, no matter how well you manage your wedding budget, there will always be unforeseen costs. For example, weather-related expenses like umbrellas or space heaters, or replacement costs for breakages. Add a contingency fund of 5-10% and you’ll be sure to come in under budget. It’s also a good idea to wait to buy those unnecessary fun extras until you’re sure you’ve covered all the main line items.
Have you started planning your wedding budget yet?