How to manage your wedding budget

Nau Mai! Welcome back.

Today lets talk money… Ah, The Budget

Probably (after the Guest List) the biggest cause of debate between the couple and their families. Hopefully, we can help make this a little easier here with a few helpful tips. So let’s break it down.

Firstly, as discussed in my last blog What you need to Legally Wed, a wedding ceremony is a simple as having the legal work and a celebrant who is qualified to marry you.

Everything else is an optional extra, some of which is based on tradition, some of which is modern and for each couple to decide what they would like to make it personal to them.

The Non-Negotiables

What are these for all those closely involved? Regardless of who is paying, you may wish to take in the expectations of those closest to you, eg Your Mums. Sometimes they have been imagining your wedding longer than you have! For us, my non-negotiable was The Dress (although I was happy to do it within a budget) and for my Beloved, it was the quality of the food and wine. For our parents, there were certain old friends they really wanted to be included. So write down what in your mind makes a wedding real and special for each of you. But limit it to 2 or 3 things!

The Conversation

Have a brave and open discussion about who is paying for what. If others are contributing you need to find out how much they are prepared to pay and whether they would rather contribute a lump sum or pay for one aspect of the occasion. Bear in mind that the financial circumstances of those contributing are different, so far better to ask, than to assume an equal amount or percentage. This being said, that one group is able to contribute more, does not give them more of a right to say how the wedding is planned or who is invited. If you have particularly controlling rellies, it may be better to give them an area to pay for (e.g bar tab) than a sum toward the whole! Again, understanding the expectations of all involved is key to easier planning.

Set It and Stick To It!

The best way to do that is with a Wedding Planning Diary and these are easily available online. They are a great tool as often they cover aspects you would not have considered yourself. Even if you are using a Wedding Planner, I would still recommend you work through one of these. Draw lines through any areas you have decided aren’t worth the money, RESEARCH all other areas BEFORE setting the budget. It is not helpful to decide you want to spend $200 on flowers only to discover that is just not possible for what you want.

Where Does The Money Go??

A recent breakdown I read put the reception at 35% of the total, clothing at 20% and the photography at 15%; a total of 70% of your budget. Ways you can consider to save costs are;

  1. What can be rented rather than bought?
  2. What can be made rather than bought? (and will it actually save you money or will the time it takes cause more stress than is worth it?)
  3. Which family members and friends can help? This last one is key, as family and friends often really want to be involved – it makes the occasion so much more meaningful and fun. So if they can, and they want to, do let them.

I will talk more about areas you can save money in later blogs but this is food for thought.

Up Front Costs

Be aware that when you start to book venues, caterers, photographers etc, everyone requires a deposit, some – especially venues – require the full amount at the time of booking. This means you are up for some large costs immediately.

Managing Your Money

Not a bad idea to open a separate bank account and start regular payments into it. This will make sticking to the budget a lot easier as you are not dipping in and out of a variety of accounts.

Wedding Date

Look at the time of year you want to get married in. Summer Weddings are undoubtedly beautiful, but so are Winter Weddings and you can save a lot of money by booking your wedding then. I’ll talk more about Winter Weddings in another blog, but for starters, your venue hire, choice of venue and accommodation costs for guests will be so much better.

And Don’t Forget…

Everything is all about the Wedding Day, but often now we have the Day Before Get-together and the After Match. If you are going to cater for either of these days, you must make sure they are part of your overall budget.

And finally – SET IT and STICK TO IT. This may be the most expensive day of your lives, but it does not need to cripple all involved and you don’t need the added stress of overruns. Be sensible. It is YOUR day – it does not need to be like every other wedding you have attended in the last year. It does not need all the trimmings. It needs to be meaningful to you and your Beloved. At the end of the day, you will be married regardless of the number of table decorations or photos taken.
Enjoy the process.


Download our free wedding budget tool to help keep your wedding on track, it’s free, easy-to-use and full of helpful tips and advice.

Wedding budget tool