Budgeting For Your Wedding

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Budgeting For Your Wedding

Why Budget?

Unless you have access to unlimited funds, chances are that you will have to financially plan your wedding very carefully. Whether you, your parents or a combination of you and your parents are paying for your wedding, there will probably be a financial ceiling on what each of you can afford. An inherent danger with planning anything on the scale of a traditional wedding is that you can very easily overextend yourselves, especially if you commit yourselves to expenses on a one-by-one basis without keeping an eye on the overall picture.

With the average cost of a traditional wedding in the UK being about £11,000, overrunning by just 15 per cent out will mean having to find another £1,650. If your parents are paying for, or contributing to, your wedding, it is important that you don’t end up having to go back to them asking for more money and thereby putting them under unwelcome financial pressure. If you are paying for your wedding, it may mean starting married life with an unplanned debt.

By preparing a budget, that is, a list of intended expenditure for each item, you will be in a much better position to control and monitor your costs. Most couples change their mind many times over exactly what they want and how much they are willing to allocate for any given item. By recording any changes on your budget, you will always be aware of the impact on the total cost and thereby giving you the opportunity to adjust your expenditure levels accordingly.

Unfortunately, dealing with the financial aspects of getting married can be the cause of much tension between those involved in organising your wedding. However, by carefully monitoring and controlling your expenditure with use of a budget, you will go a long way to reducing the stress that you will undoubtedly experience during your wedding preparations.

The Cost of an Average Wedding

It will be helpful at this stage to get a feel for the average cost of a wedding. However, estimates vary greatly since there are so many options to choose from. Furthermore, for each item there is a tremendous range of prices depending upon your tastes and priorities etc. Take for example, your wedding dress. You could buy a good quality second hand dress for just £100 or less or buy a top designer dress for £4,000 or more!

The number of guests you have and how well you want to cater for them will also has a tremendous impact on your budget. For example, if you had 100 guests and wanted to have a traditional full wedding breakfast, the cost per head could be £50. This would give a total of £5,000. A less lavish buffet may only cost £15 per head, bringing the total down to £1,500. On top of this there are drinks to consider and the evening party. Do you want to have free drinks or have your guests pay for their own? The difference between the two could be as much as £1,500.

From our experience and research, we have listed below the costs of what we would call an ‘average wedding” (excluding engagements costs). But remember, your wedding can cost a great deal more or a great deal less depending upon your budget, priorities and whether you use professionals or get family and friends to help out. In fact, our average costs take into account products and services that are sometimes provided free or at low cost by family and friends. For example, your wedding cake may be made by a relative and given as a gift. Therefore, the cost to you will be nil. However, if you use a professional cakemaker, the cake may cost, say, £300. The average of these two examples is £150, which is the cost of neither. This is the problem with averages!

Many of the items listed are hyperlinks enabling you to view companies that supply the product or services mentioned.

Bride’s Wedding Ring £200
Groom’s Wedding Ring £150
Wedding Dress £700
Headdress and Veil £150
Bridal Bouquet £75
Shoes and Accessories £125
Bride’s Beauty Treatments £75
Bridesmaids’ Dresses £500
Groom’s Outfit £150
Flowers (Buttonholes, Church etc) £200
Printing £300
Transporation £300
Civil/Church Fees £200
Photography £400
Videography £400
Wedding Cake £200
Reception Venue or Marquee £600
Reception Decorations £150
Wedding Reception £2,000
Evening Reception £750
Drinks £750
Entertainment £500
Bride’s Going Away Outfit £150
Wedding Night Venue £125
Honeymoon £1,500
Wedding Insurance £50
Other Expenses £300
TOTAL £11,000

But do remember, it is quite possible to get married for just a few hundred pounds. On the other hand, it is quite easy to spend £20,000 or more!

Priorities and Funding

Initially, you should decide on what sort of wedding you want and then prioritise what items are most important to you. Is the most important item the reception venue and the meal or your wedding dress? Do you want your guests to enjoy free drinks from the bar or are you happy just to pay for the table wine and champagne? If you both have large families and many friends, do you want as many of them as possible to attend, which may mean having to compromise on the lavishness or your wedding? Is your honeymoon an important element of your wedding celebrations or are you willing to sacrifice an expensive and exotic honeymoon for that designer wedding dress you have fallen in love with?

Also at this stage you should allocate a provisional sum for the total cost of your wedding. If you are paying for your wedding yourselves, only you have to decide on an approximate sum that you are prepared to spend. If your parents are paying, or contributing, you will need to know what they are prepared to pay. However, many parents will ask for an estimate of the total cost for the wedding that you would like. With this information, they can then decide whether they can afford to pay all the costs as per the traditional responsibilities or decide on a sum that they are able to afford.

 

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