I think this is the most exciting part after getting engaged, you start to plan and everything feels so realistic, like 'is this happening for real?" Planning a wedding shouldn't be stressful, and making a wedding budget could be challenging but let's see how the process can be stress-free.
1- Have a chat with your partner
Hurra! You are engaged, Congratulations!!! But what now?
It might seem obvious, but first thing first you need to talk with your partner about your wedding budget and how much you can save every month. This will give you approximately a realistic wedding date to consider, but let see what's the average spending of a wedding day in the UK is in 2022. The main things included for your wedding day are:
The venue, Celebrant fee, catering (including food, alcohol, and soft drink), wedding cake, photographer, bride dress, bridesmaid dresses, groom outfit, shoes, jewelry, DJ, entertainer, wedding decor, flowers, and more...
The average wedding budget is around £30k. So talk to your partner and decide how much you could put aside every month, ask your family if they want to contribute, and check if you could cut some expenses.
2- Write down a Guestlist
Writing down a guest list can make a huge impact on your budget, it determines 90% of the cost of a wedding day! That's because you need to consider the size of a venue, food, and drink. In addition, the bigger is the venue, the more are the decoration and flowers to buy.
TIP: Even tho you have a huge family and many friends, consider only the one you have regular contact in the past year. Once you have a number you can add or remove as many guests you like based on your budget.
3- What to include on your list
Okay, we saw roughly what is included in a wedding day, but let's go into details, shall we?
Based on "Here Comes The Guide" things to include are:
- Engagement Party Outfit (plus shoes and accessories)
- Engagement Photos Outfit (plus shoes and accessories)
- Bridal Shower Outfit (plus shoes and accessories)
- Bachelor / Bachelorette Outfits (plus shoes and accessories)
- Rehearsal Dinner Outfit (plus shoes and accessories)
- Wedding Dress and/or Suit / Tux
- Wedding Dress or Suit Alterations
- Specialty Undergarments
- Veil and/or Bridal Jewelry / Accessories
- Wedding Shoes
- Reception Outfit (if you're changing out of your ceremony look) or After Party Outfit
- Post-Wedding Brunch Outfit (plus shoes and accessories, of course)
- Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation
- Pre-Wedding Haircuts or Color
- Hair Trial Appointment
- Day-of Wedding Hairstyle
- Makeup Trial Appointment
- Day-of Wedding Makeup
- The Cake Itself (or pies or donuts or cupcakes or...)
- Cake Display Table
- Specialty Design Elements (like sugar flowers or hand painting)
- Cake Topper
- Cake Stand
- Cake-Cutting Utensils
- Delivery Fee
- Additional Desserts (if you're doing a dessert table/station)
- Ceremony Site (if separate from reception venue)
- Church Donation
- Officiant Fee
- Marriage License
- Ceremony Accessories (ring pillow, flower girl basket, unity candle, etc.)
- Cocktail Hour Drinks
- Reception Drinks
- Champagne Toast
- Open Bar / Hosted Beer & Wine / Specialty Cocktails
- Bartender Service
- Non-alcoholic Beverages
- Glassware (if not included in your catering package)
- Corkage Fees (if you opt to BYO)
- Liquor License (if not provided by venue or caterer)
- Wedding Favors
- Wedding Party Gifts
- Gifts for your Flower Girl(s) or Ring Bearer(s)
- Spouse Gift
- Parents Gifts
- Welcome Baskets for out-of-town guests
- Thank-you Gift for any standout vendors
- Bouquets (for the bride(s) and/or wedding party, and perhaps a toss bouquet)
- Boutonnières (for groom(s) / groomsmen, fathers and/or grandfathers)
- Corsages for Mothers / Grandmothers
- Flowers and Accessories for the Flower Girl / Ring Bearer
- Ceremony Arch / Chuppah
- Ceremony Arrangements
- Reception Centerpieces (for guest tables, guest book tables, food stations, etc.)
- Wedding Cake Flowers (if additional cake décor is needed)
- Wedding Chalkboards / Signage
- Specialty Décor Rentals (e.g. tenting, lanterns, candelabras, etc.)
- Additional Rentals (such as tables, chairs, china, etc. if not provided by venue or caterer)
- Delivery Fees
- Tasting Appointment (if not complimentary with your catering package)
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Plated, Buffet, or Family-Style Meal
- Food Stations
- Service Staff
- Catering Equipment (such as plates, silverware, glassware, serving platters, etc.)
- Catering Rentals (such as tables, chairs, linens, etc.)
- Vendor Meals (it's nice to feed your photographer)
- Service charge
- Setup and/or Cleanup Fees
- Bar/Beverage Service (see "Drinks" above; may be included in your catering package)
- Engagement Party Invitations
- Save The Dates
- Wedding invitation (including inserts like RSVP cards or maps)
- Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
- Post Wedding Brunch Invitations
- Envelopes (note that specialty size envelopes will be more expensive to ship)
- Postage (for invitations and RSVP envelopes, as well as thank you cards)
- Return Address Labels
- Wedding Ceremony Programs
- Wedding Reception Paper Goods
- Escort Cards
- Place Cards
- Menu Cards
- Custom Napkins
- Favor Labels
- Thank You Cards
- Ceremony Musicians
- Cocktail Hour Music
- Reception DJ or Live Band
- Microphone (for wedding ceremony and reception toasts)
- Sound-system or extra speakers
- Photo Booth & Dance Floor Lighting (if your DJ provides these extra services)
- Engagement Session
- Rehearsal Dinner Photography Coverage
- Wedding Day Photography Coverage
- Albums or Prints
- Highlight Reel
- Feature Film
- Room Rental Fee
- Venue Deposit
- Ceremony Fee (if ceremony is being held at reception venue)
- Additional Rentals (such as tables, chairs, china, etc. if not provided by caterer)
- Dance Floor Rental (if not already installed/included)
- Parking Fees
- Coat Check Fees
- Liability Insurance
- Security (some venues require it)
- Wedding Couple / Party Transportation to the Ceremony Venue
- Wedding Couple / Party Transportation to the Reception Venue (if different from Ceremony Site)
- Shuttle Service to transport guests to/from their hotels
- Valet Parking Service
- Wedding Bands
- Wedding Band Resizing Fee
- Wedding Ring Insurance
- Any Customization / Engraving
- Wedding Ring Box / Dish / Holder
- Service Charges
- Wedding insurance
- Overtime Fees
- Clean-up Costs
- Unexpected Rentals (e.g. portable heaters or restrooms)
It might seem a lot, but don't worry, you can invest in a wedding planner and she will take care of everything within your budget.
4- Decide what are your "Must Have" for your Wedding Day
If you are on a budget, you are probably thinking of cutting the cost but you aren't sure how without ending up spending more than expected. Besides getting married to your other half and having all your family and friends celebrate with you, think about what's make your day a wedding day. Is it the dress? The location? The music maybe? or the details like flowers, guest book, or a specific type of food?
Once you decide what are your "Must have" for your wedding day, think about the last thing you would consider for your ceremony and reception and consider if it will make any difference for your day. If wasn't for your photographer/videographer, you'll be surprised by how many wedding details you'll forget through time. One thing is sure, You definitely won't forget how much you spent on your day!
5- Stick to your budget
Nowadays everything is possible! You might want everything ready but you are willing to stick to your budget, you might want to consider DIY decorations and help from a talented friend. Thanks to YouTube, Facebook groups, IG, and more, you have thousand of creators willing to teach you how to create your centerpiece, your fake flower, confetti, and much more.
Try to consider the power of having many friends and family members, is someone secretly in love with baking cakes? You might ask to make your wedding cake and pay half the price than a professional baker. or maybe someone is good with design software and can design your 'save the date', bringing you to pay only the prints.
TIPS 1: Don't be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends, if they are really close as you think they will be more than happy to help you with your wedding day expenses and organization. Just give them plenty of time as they might be busy with their life.
TIPS 2: You could consider selling or reselling your wedding decoration or any DIY projects on the Facebook marketplace and any Facebook groups of brides who are on a strict budget. You'll have a small portion of your money back and free space at your house!
6- Create a Honeymoon Found
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this new trend in 2021, but it turn out to be a big success!
Usually, guests gift the couple with presents useful for their home, but let's talk clear; You've probably lived together with your fiance' for the past 3-5 years, even more before getting engaged and you have everything you need for your home, am I right? So why not ask for money from your guest for your wedding present? I know how it sounds "eww it's so rude asking for money", but many couples manage it in a funny way, here is how!
Consider putting an addition to your wedding invitations just like the one below!
"When thinking for a gift to us, we ask if you please consider, contributing to our honeymoon to make it all the sweeter. Our house is full of all the things, a couple could be required, and so a holiday away is what we most desire. Then while we are relaxing on the beach or by the pool so blue, we'll sit back and know that it is truly thanks to you!"
There are so many versions online or you could write your own to make it more personal and funnier!
7- Consider renting
It doesn't sound appealing, but it will once you'll found out that you could save at least 10k from renting and buying second-hand. At the end of the day who is gonna know? How would they know?
For example, you could buy a wedding dress second-hand and have it altered as you wish and still you'll pay half the price (tip: buy a dress that's bigger than your size, your tailor will have extra fabric to work on). If you don't want to compromise on your designer wedding dress, you could rent it and save thousands of pounds!
You name it and you could either rent or buy second-hand unless is a personalized decoration.
TIP for the unsettled bride: you don't have to tell around every single detail of your wedding day if make you uncomfortable saying that is second-hand, besides it won't appear a label on your photo saying "the dress is renting, the centerpiece is DIY second-hand" You'll see the beauty, the love, and fun of your wedding day and your bank will thank for it!
Whether you are making a budget with your fiance or with your entire family, remember that it's YOUR Wedding Day and you have all the right to decide who to invite or what to buy without feeling guilty or hurting someone feeling (unless they are willing to pay for it, Just Kidding!)
Remember to enjoy every moment of your wedding preparation, and most important don't rush if it feels overwhelming, decide a date that is at least 2 years away!