One of the biggest mistakes that couples make is not deciding on a budget before they begin planning the wedding. Most couples think about the wedding they want and how much they want to spend and then hope that the two figures match up. The problem is, it is almost impossible to know how much your perfect wedding day will cost until you start doing your research.

When I meet couples for the first time and begin to discuss budget, nearly every couple will say “we don’t really have a budget in mind”.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. the couple and their families are so wealthy that money is no object
  2. the couple haven’t even thought about the need to budget for the wedding
  3. the couple have no idea what a wedding costs and are too embarrassed to say so
  4. the couple have a budget in mind but they are worried about telling me because they think they will be charged more by myself and the other suppliers

Not knowing your budget from the very beginning is like going into a race blind folded, you are behind before you even start. Suppliers will give you prices that sound great when you speak to them separately, but when you add all the prices together later on down the track it is way more than you can afford. This can also cause problems between you and your fiancé when the bills start coming in. You need to speak to each other honestly and realistically before you confirm any details of the wedding.

Even when you have set a budget you need to be very careful to stay as close as possible to what you have decided. You read stories all the time about couples who decide on a budget of $10000 and then once they start planning find that the number doubles. It can easily happen, you think the chair covers are $5 each but actually they are $6, the photographer convinces you that it is worth finding the extra $700 for the better package, your family puts pressure on you to have the better meals…… all adds up!!

There is a lot of information regarding all facets of budgeting on the internet, but how do you know what is right and how do you figure out the budget in the first place.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Think about the kind of wedding you want to have
  • Write your guest list before you decide on anything
  • Crunch some numbers
  • Prioritise the top 3 things that are important to you both for the wedding day
  • Research and price your ideas
  • Look for things you can resell or reuse after the wedding
  • Compare your research to your budget – if they don’t match, re-evaluate what is important and whether you are prepared to spend more money or change things so you fit within the budget
  • Decide on your budget figure
  • Put your budget – absolutely everything that you will spend money on – into a spreadsheet, allocate money to every item and then keep it updated

The most important thing to remember when you’re putting together your budget is that no two weddings are the same. How you allocate the money is entirely up to you and what is important to you. Just make sure to update your spreadsheet throughout the planning process.

A budget is a sensible way to know if you can afford what is being quoted or if you are being over charged for the products and services. More and more couples are choosing to borrow large amounts of money to pay for the wedding of their dreams and with no budget in place this amount can just keep rising.