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How To Budget

How to Budget for a Wedding

Everyone loves a wedding – although your wallet or purse and bank manager may take a different point of view. When you’re planning the most perfect day of your life, you don’t want to have to worry about what you can afford but unfortunately, you have to.

Effectively budgeting for your wedding as early as possible means you know exactly what you can afford to spend and that you won’t end up struggling for cash or getting yourself into debt when the big day has come and gone.


Do I work out my wedding budget?

The first thing you’ll need to do when it comes to planning your wedding – aside from the countless hours on Pinterest – is work out how much you’re willing and able to spend.

Make sure you know who is paying for which parts of your wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s family would pick up the tab, however it is becoming increasingly common for the happy couple to pay for the big day themselves, or for the pair to share the bill with both their families.

Ask your families if they’re planning to contribute towards the wedding and, if so, how much they’re willing to pay. If they can give you a specific amount, it’ll be much easier to create your budget.

It is also likely that they may instead offer to pay for a specific part of the wedding, such as for the dress, the ceremony or catering for the reception. This means you can simply take those things out of your list of costs when working out how much you need to save.

In any case, you should make sure how much you have in your budget matches the amount you can save in the time you have before the big day. If you only have £3,000 in the bank and want a £30,000 wedding in the next year, you’re going to either be disappointed, in debt, or need to earn a shedload of commission.

Whether you have £1,000 or £100,000 to spend on your big day, you’ll still need to budget effectively to ensure you have enough to cover all of your costs.


What costs do I need to consider?

There are many different things that go into making your wedding the perfect day and these expenses can build up quickly. No matter how much you have to spend on your big day, the basic breakdown should look something like this:

  • 48%-50% on the reception (including the venue hire and catering)
  • 2%-3% on the ceremony
  • 2%-3% on your wedding rings
  • 8%-10% on attire (including the bride’s dress)
  • 8%-10% on flowers and decorations
  • 8%-10% on music and entertainment
  • 10%-12% on photography and/or videography
  • 2%-3% on stationary and invitations
  • 2%-3% on transportation and parking
  • 2%-3% on gifts (bridesmaids, groomsmen and for the bride and groom to each other)
  • 8% on other items


You may also want to factor in the cost of the honeymoon if you are paying for this yourself. It has become an increasingly popular trend for couples to ask for contributions to their honeymoon fund in the place of gifts but you should do whatever works for you.

If you speak to any married couple, they will tell you that their wedding ended up being a lot more expensive than they had initially planned. That’s because there are a number of hidden costs and extras that many seem to forget when budgeting for their wedding.

Whether it’s the venue’s own waiters or your photographer, there are many expenses you’ll have to pay for but that you may not have thought of. Some venues charge a service fee to cover the cost of hiring event staff and you may find yourself dipping into your wedding fund to pay tips to vendors throughout the day.

Try to remember all the tiny details of your day when establishing your budget; from the ribbons on your favours to the hair and makeup trial, make sure nothing is left out. This is why you should keep aside around 5-8% of your budget for these miscellaneous costs.


Which dates affect the price?

As you may well know, when summer hits, this is “officially” wedding season. You may feel like you’re attending a different wedding every other week during the warmer months, as couples clamber over each other to get their dream summer wedding.

From late spring to early autumn, you’ll struggle to find a venue that isn’t already fully booked at least one year in advance. For obvious reasons, these highly sought-after dates are the most expensive times to get married.

June and September are the most popular wedding months because they are more likely to provide the best weather and those all-important ideal photo opportunities. You’ll probably find July and August dates filling up quickly with those unable to secure their preferred dates unless you move fast.

February is also a fairly popular month, with couples looking for a romantic day on or close to St. Valentine’s Day. December attracts those wanting their special day close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. These dates can also be difficult to secure as you not only are competing against other marrying couples but also against companies wanting to book their end-of-year parties.

If you’re looking to bring down the cost of your wedding, going ‘off-peak’ could save you a great deal of money. January, March, April and November are far less expensive than the more popular months and it is nearly always much easier to secure the venue you want at these times of year.


So, when’s the big day?

The day you choose for your wedding also has an impact on price. Saturdays are prime wedding real estate with couples looking to make their day more accessible to out-of-town guests and those that work through the week as they’re much easier to attend.

However, this means you pay a much higher rate and may have to wait even longer to get married. There may be no major benefit to this either because beloved friends and family, given the right amount of notice, may be able to take time off from work for your wedding anyway. That means that holding off may not only be pointless but will also be much more expensive.

While choosing an off-peak day may result in more declined invitations, choosing a weekday is a great idea for those looking for an affordable and intimate wedding with just their nearest and dearest.

Make sure you take all of these factors into account when working out how much you need to save for your wedding. No matter what your budget, with the right planning, you can create the wedding of your dreams.