How to Work Out Your Wedding Budget
26th January 2019
Some clients often wonder whether they need a wedding budget and I often say a resounding yes! So, I think whether you’re spending £50k or £300k for your wedding, you need a wedding budget. Even if you don’t have all the funds readily available in one lump sum, you still need to work out your wedding budget.
As you start your wedding planning, my wish for you is to have a beautiful and relaxed wedding without the stress of worrying about funds and, having a wedding budget will help you to achieve that.
I’m not an advocate for borrowing money to pay for your wedding (as I don’t much like the thought of you starting your married life with debts to pay), so working out your wedding budget really helps.. When done right, it will help to keep you in line with what you can spend, flag any areas of overspend or where you can juggle things around to ensure that you’re still on track with your overall budget and generally helps you to manage your money properly.
I advise that you have an idea of the style/type of wedding you want and know your guest numbers before you set your wedding budget. Alternatively, you can set your wedding budget first and let that determine your style and type of wedding you want to have (I’m not a fan of this approach but it works for some folks so worth giving it a mention).
Once you decide how much you want to spend on your wedding (usually a ballpark based on the type of wedding you want to have. Remember, this is purely down to you and your fiancé with input from your parents if they are contributing to or paying for your wedding), you then start to allocate specific amounts based on what’s important to both of you.
Here is a rule of thumb for how to work out your wedding budget:
- 40% of total budget to reception (including venue, food, drinks, and decor)
- 8% for flowers
- 10% for dresses and suits
- 8% for entertainment/music
- 10% for photo/video
- 3% for invites
- 3% for gifts and
- 8% for miscellaneous items
- 10% for contingencies and unexpected expenses
It’s essential to allocate an extra 10% of your budget for contingencies and unexpected wedding expenses like printing or having to rewrite extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day etc.
So, for a £50k wedding budget for example, you’d have something like:
- £20,000 for reception (venue, food, drinks, decor)
- £4,000 for flowers
- £5,000 for dresses and suits
- £4,000 for entertainment/music
- £5,000 for Photo/Video
- £1,500 for Invites
- £1,500 for gifts/favours
- £4,000 for miscellaneous expenses
£5,000 for contingencies and unexpected expenses
Once you allocate the bulk of your wedding budget for the venue, food, drinks etc., you can then allocate the rest. Start with aspects of your day that are most important to you (what I call your priority areas, your absolute must-haves). Pick 3 or 4 areas max. For example, if you want fresh flowers, a killer dress, a horse-drawn carriage and fantastic images for your day then make those a priority and allocate more funds to them over the other items on your budget list.
Other important points to note:
- Set a realistic budget. Get quotes from wedding suppliers to inform your budget setting (let them know what the quote is for and they’ll be more than happy to help you) or you can let your wedding planner do it all for you.
- Images from Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration but be prepared to spend a tidy sum if you’re looking to recreate those exact looks. Don’t assume that a 2 tiered cake with cascading sugar flowers will cost you £200!
- Do your homework, attend fairs, get quotes from suppliers to help you set a realistic wedding budget. So that as you kickstart your wedding planning, you will have a pretty good idea of what you need to spend, and where.