One of the most important things you will have to do when you first start planning your wedding will be to set your wedding budget. It can dictate the overall style, size and time of year of your wedding, and it is imperative to be realistic when setting the budget so that you don’t end up being disappointed by things you can’t afford or overwhelmed by underestimating the cost of certain items. Today we’re giving you some of our top wedding budget tips to help you get started.
Who is paying?
The days of the bride’s parents paying for everything are pretty much gone, with most couples now paying for the whole wedding by themselves. This has led to longer engagements in order to give the couple time to save up enough money. However, if your families are helping out, it is important to decide who is paying for what. This could include one set of parents paying the deposit on the venue, band and photographer, while the other parents look after the flowers and a round of drinks for everyone at the reception. It is important to be honest and clear at the outset, so that you don’t assume they are paying for something they hadn’t planned on covering.
Decide your budget
The average wedding budget (including honeymoon) for an Irish couple is currently at just under €24,000 (Mrs2be.ie 2014 survey). The biggest expenses will be the venue, photographer and band, and the average number of guests is between 100-150 guests. The style of your wedding will greatly influence the final cost – do you plan to have a lavish hotel wedding with 5 course meal, champagne and a swing band for 200 guests? Or perhaps a low-key, casual afternoon affair for your family and closest friends is more your style. The former is certainly going to cost a lot more. Likewise, if you have a bigger wedding, you will be paying more per head for food, drink, stationery, favours and decor, or may even be restricted to choosing a bigger wedding venue with higher prices. Decide your maximum budget early on and allow a contingency fund for unexpected costs.
Save the date
You will find that getting married on a weekend (Friday/Saturday) is more expensive than mid-week, especially during high-season (generally considered April-October) but also often including Christmas week (25th-31st December) and on bank holidays such as Valentine’s weekend. If you are willing to choose an off-peak date you may end up taking advantage of significant savings from many of your suppliers, especially the venue. The weather may not be guaranteed in December, but then again, it’s not guaranteed in May either! If you are booking your wedding well in advance (18 months or more), be aware that some venues will have a clause in their contract regarding their ability to increase prices. If you have agreed a price in 2015 for your 2017 wedding, get a copy of your agreement in writing.
There are small expenses that you may not take into account when planning your wedding budget, but they can all add up quickly. Dress alterations, a veil, dresses and suits for flower girls and page boys, tips for venue staff, new luggage for the honeymoon, stamps for invitations and covering accommodation for some of your family members are some of the items you should consider when setting your contingency fund.
We hope that you’ve found these wedding budget tips helpful! Do you have any to share with us?