This article is by Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and Events Director at Dream Occasions
I have noticed a difference in budget allocation over the last 18 months due to the economic uncertainty we have all faced, bride and grooms included. Couples are being more realistic about what they can afford and reluctant to get into debt for their wedding. So if you are newly engaged how can you ensure you spend the money in the right areas?
What’s in the wedding ‘pot’?
Think about when you want to get married, is it this year or in 18 months time. Do you have savings set aside for the wedding, if not then work out your expenditure vs your income, what is a realistic amount to save? Add this figure to any contribution from family to give you your realistic budget.
Without producing a budget from the outset it is very easy to get carried away and spend money unnecessarily. For example 45% of your budget will normally go on the reception, this only leaves you with 55% for all suppliers, outfits and the ceremony.
Are there some family members that will be providing a service or skill as their wedding gift to you? Always have a contingency of about £500–1,000 for those items you never knew you ‘needed’! In order to cut costs think carefully about every aspect of the wedding and what your priorities are, what areas can you save on?
Ask friends and family or even the local community to actively help you with the wedding. Perhaps someone has a hidden talent like cake making, hair & beauty or does someone have a luxury car that can be used as the wedding transportation.
Maybe your in laws are enthusiastic gardeners, they could make up pots of flowers for you to use as centre pieces or line the patio with.
Homemade with love
Where possible consider getting creative and make the design items for the wedding. Not only will it give your wedding a design edge it will be totally original and memorable.
Consider growing herbs before the wedding and use as favours in the napkins on the day. Visit a local craft shop for materials to make the table plan, put the paper on a canvas then mount each table list. Go to your local fabric shop and buy some funky material, use as table runners or cut into napkins.
If you need to cut costs then think about what is really important and where money can be saved. Does it matter that all stationery coordinates? Instead of flowers why not have candle holders instead? Storm lanterns are beautiful and inexpensive to hire. Why pay hundreds of dollars for hair/makeup when a friend can do it for free instead.
Enthusiasm vs Experience
Contact your local colleges and universities; those studying music could play at your drink reception or maybe there is a university band that would love to entertain you for free? The catering students might want to make canapés or your cake for you. And let’s not forget those studying floristry, I’m sure they would provide their services for free as long as you buy the flowers (wholesale) for them.
At the same time though work out what is important to you, if photos are especially high up your list ensure you pay for a professional photographer – this isn’t the time to ruin future memories for the sake of a few hundred dollars.