Planning a Wedding with a Budget
If you're lucky enough to have been proposed to by the man (or woman) of your dreams, your next thought is preparing for your wedding.
Most people have some sort of idea of what they want in a wedding, even if they are a little open minded. You may still have your heart set on marrying in your local parish or ensuring all of your friends and family attend. But that initial thought is just the beginning of what will be one of the biggest and probably most expensive days of your life.
You may have thought the engagement ring was expensive, but when it comes to celebrating your marriage in style you'll have a lot more to worry about.
This is something I am learning myself as I am preparing for my own wedding next year. We skipped the engagement because the 'moment' was never right and he wanted to save enough money for a tasteful platinum diamond (my choice, of course). Knowing that the Big Day would be costly enough and our relationship was worth more, we just went ahead and booked it. But we did our research first.
Even the cheapest wedding isn't really cheap. As soon as you mention the word 'wedding', everything doubles in price. Thinking that all you need to worry about is the venue and a dress means you need some help with planning. Whether you want to do it on a budget or go all out on a fairy tale extravagance.
A basic ceremony is affordable, but once you've thrown in your guests in the form of friends and family (you may end up inviting more than you wished for), the cost of food and drink adds up. Then there are the hidden extra costs...
What to Plan First?
When it comes to wedding planning, communication is key. Whatever you decide you need to talk to each other first. Making a decision about your day is the first test of your relationship, so compromise if you have to and do things together. There would be nothing worse than a no show photographer because you didn't talk through who was going to do the booking.
Make a List
Rather than using scraps of paper that get scribbled over or lost, use a spreadsheet or notepad on your PC where you can find your list.
You need to make initial decisions on your date and location and start shopping around. If you want the ceremony and reception all in the same vicinity, send out some emails or make some calls to get an idea of what they offer and price packages.
Having your wedding all in the same place saves on travelling (especially for those unfamiliar with the area). As long as the place has a wedding license, some ideas include:
- A converted barn
- A marquee (apply for permission to hold the ceremony on the premises you use)
- A hotel
- A country pub
- A stately home
- A boat
Or if you have a more 'creative' idea you could go for that...
Booking your church or using a registry office can mean picking a reception venue within a few miles, to limit travel from one destination to another. Check what is available on websites or from local knowledge and ring to make appointments.
You could hold your reception virtually anywhere you like, from a nightclub to a community center. If there isn't a licensed bar, consider the cost of supplying your own alcohol or apply for a license if you are selling it.
Equally consider the extra cost of outside caterers if there isn't a restaurant on site.
Once you have booked your wedding venue/s, make a list of what to do next. Details make the list longer than you may expect!
As the months or weeks pass, the list will become more detailed. You will also (hopefully) start to tick things off!
Cutting Back on the Cost
We are not all lucky enough to have a wealthy family to pick up the bill at the end of the event, but if some family members offer to help out then be sure to take them up on it.
Instead of doing a wedding list, asking for money as a gift could help with your finances. You could put it towards your reception or the honeymoon of your dreams.
If you feel a little uncomfortable asking for money, you could ask for gift vouchers to use in a store of your choice, or again towards the honeymoon.
Favors for Favors
There is so much to organize for your wedding day that it can become incredibly stressful. If you know people who can help you out, take full advantage. Here are some ideas:
- If you know a talented dressmaker, making bridesmaids dresses and even the bridal gown will save you a lot of money
- Designing your own invitations, place names and seating plan can be fun for the creative. Get some ideas from books or the internet and print them from your computer
- Making favors from mesh bags (purchased online or from craft stores) and placing sugared almonds in them (in Italy, the tradition is five sugared almonds for each guest) is a simple gesture. If there are young children prone to choking, Haribo sweets are a colorful alternative for them
- Car hire can be expensive, but there may be someone you know who owns a vintage car. Decorate with ribbon and it's perfect for the bride! Polish up a few more 'respectable' cars for the rest of the family, and promise the drivers an invite
- The evening entertainment could be a local band you know who may offer a good deal for a friend. Alternatively, ask someone to 'DJ' for you. You may know someone with a sound system, or your venue may provide speakers
- Photographers offer expensive packages, but with a good camera, allocating someone to act as the photographer may give you more natural results. Place disposable cameras on the tables at the wedding breakfast, and you will have many pictures to remember your day by
- Put together your own wedding bouquet rather than paying high prices for the florist to do it for you. You will make high savings
- Wedding cakes can vary in cost, but if you know someone who can make one for you, it's another saving. Buying a cake and having it iced professionally would also save you money
Have you considered your wedding rings?
- Reasons to Choose Palladium Wedding Rings Over other Metals
What do you consider when you choose your wedding rings? It may be appearance, durability or price. Palladium is an ideal material for a beautiful look and will last you a lifetime.
As the day gets closer, ensure you have not forgotten anything!
Go for regular dress fittings so it fits perfectly. This goes for the men's suits too.
Keep in contact with everyone, such as those doing the photography and music. Communication is important so everyone knows where to be and at what time. Make sure you have a back up plan in case of cancellations.
Making a list for the day itself (especially the bride) will reduce mental blocks brought on by nerves.
This may include hair, nails, makeup, flowers. For the groom it will include rings, cars, thank you gifts for friends and family. Then of course, getting there on time!
The last thing to remember is to try and relax and enjoy the day. A champagne breakfast should help with any worries.