According to the latest results of the Cost of Love Survey (Bride to Be), Australian couples are now spending an average of $54, 294 on their weddings. It sounds like a lot when you see it written down like that, but any couple will tell you, once you start making those bookings and paying those invoices, it is amazing how quickly that sum of money disappears. Today we want to give you some tips for how to ensure you are in control of your wedding budget right from the beginning, so that the end ‘bill’ is one you were expecting and not one that is going to be a noose around your neck for years to come.
1. Have a Wedding Budget! Not having a wedding budget in place from the very beginning, is the biggest mistake any couple can make (unless money doesn’t matter).
2. Research costs – having a budget is one thing, but it needs to be based on research into the possible costs you are going to incur for the type of wedding you want. Amazingly, most couples underestimate their budget by a massive 48%. That is a lot of money. Doing your research first will help you to know if you are being realistic about what you want and what it is going to cost.
3. Determine what’s important – once you have done your research talk to each other and any members of your family you want to include in the planning, about what your priorities are when it comes to your wedding. What can’t you do without? What would you be happy to spend less on if you can? Is a lavish Reception a must, or would you rather spend that money on a honeymoon? Sometimes you may find that you are not on the same page with each other about some of these decisions. Now is the time to work through those things, not after you have signed the contracts and agreed to the price.
Wedding Planner’s Tip: I always create a ‘pie graph’ for my clients, to show each major area of expenditure as a percentage of the overall budget. Seeing it in this way can help you to understand the break-down of your wedding budget and where your money is actually going and where you can re-allocate from.
4. Refer back to your wedding budget – once you have your budget, don’t put it in a drawer or folder and forget about it. When it comes time to make those decisions and sign those contracts, make sure you are following your budget.
5. Record expenses – your budget should have a column for estimated costs and actual costs, so you can constantly be checking to see that you are sticking to your budget, or (better) coming in under budget. This way you know if you have more money to allocate elsewhere if you need to, or will have some left over to save.
6. Have a buffer – almost everyone spends more than they intended to on their wedding and this is where a lot of couples can find themselves in financial trouble after a wedding. Don’t allocate every dollar you have to spend when doing your budget. Remember, we said above, that most couples underestimate their budget by 48%! If you have done your homework you should avoid this, but I still recommend that you have a buffer of 10-15%.
Have questions about balancing your wedding budget? Like the I Do Crew on Facebook and ask me your question.