Congratulations on getting engaged over the holidays! Now that’ sit’s January you’re starting to think about rolling your sleeve up and getting stuck into wedding planning, and power to you! However the actual process can be a rather stressful time, in between the elation of celebrating your engagement and the day you officially say ‘I Do’.
The most important thing to get right is your wedding budget, it’ll be your best friend and your mortal enemy during that period but it keeps your feet on the ground and your spending in check. That’s why when you are drawing up your budget it’s crucial that you get it right. Here are some tips and tricks to consider when you’re planning your wedding budget.
There’s no point in deciding on your budget and then going out to see what entertainment you can get for €200. You need to have at least ballpark figures as to what everything costs, from food & drink to ceremony charges and photographers fees. Even just asking some friends who have walked down the aisle recently will help you to get an idea as to what reasonable budget expectations look like.
- When choosing your venue, pick one you already adore, not one you think you could make work. That’ll save you the time, money and energy trying to turn the place into your dream venue.
- Pick your date wisely. Everyone hates a midweek wedding but there tends to be a lull in wedding bookings (and therefore a drop in rental prices) between November and April. This is Ireland after all, you’re not going to be guaranteed sunshine in July anyway so why not book a cheaper date and plan everything indoors. That way if the sun does shine you’ll be delighted and if not you won’t mind much.
- If you are going to do your wedding outdoors (brave soul!) make sure you consider the extra costs. Not just the tent, tableware, chairs and catering hire, but also electricity, lighting, sound system, and extra bathroom facilities will also need to be included.
- Consider your wedding guest list carefully. If you need to clip it in a few places, check out our guide on how to fairly reduce numbers.
- Work out what is important and what you’re willing to bend on. Is it the ceremony you want a focus on or the drinks and party? Is the entertainment more important than the food? You don’t need to start compromising right now but it’s important to have them prioritised in your head.
- The Honeymoon factor. Are you going to include your honeymoon in your budget? How much is your dream destination going to cost? If you can’t afford to go abroad consider an Irish honeymoon, there are plenty of great romantic spots on our lovely little isle!
Keep an eye on how exactly your budget is breaking down over all. Many wedding planners advise that you deduct 10% from your wedding budget before you start dividing it up to give yourself some cushion should you need it.
With that buffer deducted, here’s roughly how your wedding finances should break down:
40% Reception & Ceremony
This includes venue hire for reception and ceremony, food and drink, insurance, your wedding license (that’ll come in around €200 you know!) and ceremony and priest donations if you’re marrying in a church
This is your dress, alterations, hair, make-up, shoes, accessories, the rental or purchase of the suits and the bridesmaids dresses. You’ll be surprised by how all these little things add up so make sure you budget properly for it, don’t dismiss the importance of budgeting this section.
15% Photography and Videography
This is one area where you should not look to cut corners on. Your wedding photographs are only going to increase in value as the years go by – unlike that amazing band or the beautiful flowers – so make sure they’re worth looking at.
10% Flowers & Decor
Don’t go overboard on your DIY jobs, just pick a few great ideas that you love and then log out of Pinterest until after your big day. Otherwise, even the price of paper and glue will creep up and surprise you. With flowers, always pick seasonally so you get the most bloom for your buck and try to double up your ceremony and reception flowers – those ones you’ve dotted along the aisle will make beautiful centre pieces.
This includes any music you have at the ceremony as well as the DJ and or band you have at the reception. Another great idea if you’re working on a tight budget, get your guests to pick the song list when they RSVP by asking them to choose one song to play. It means that your DJ will have very little preparation and the dance floor will never be empty.
5% Paper Stationary
You might think this is a lot of your budget for a minor area but you need to remember this is the invitations, ceremony programs, seating charts, place cards and postage costs. If you want to shuffle this budget elsewhere, consider printable invitations that you can design online and print yourself. Or better yet, DIY calligraphy will save you a fortune, Jette Verde will be giving a course on the modern calligraphy at our upcoming BridePREP event!
Another boring consideration, but getting you and your bridal parties to and from the ceremony, as well as any transport costs to get your guests there ought to be considered.
5% Extra Titbits
From bridal party gifts to wedding favours and tips to the staff, you need to be conscious of the little extras that will eat into your budget. They usually don’t come until the very end either so it’s no harm putting the money aside early on.
Need a bigger fill of our wedding whimsy? Pick up the new issue of IMAGE Brides Winter 2015/Spring 2016 right here!