We seem to have been talking a lot about weddings recently. Last month, while on a group holiday, my life-long best friend got engaged. She and her fiancé are incredibly excited and have started the fun, challenging and somewhat daunting task of planning their wedding. We also recently attended a beautiful wedding at The West Mill in Derby; where we saw Mike’s university friend and his beautiful new wife celebrate the start of their marriage with a day that perfectly represented the two of them as a couple.
When you start planning a wedding one of the first things you and your fiancé are going to discuss is, inevitably, the budget. How much does a wedding cost? What do we want to spend our money on? What are our priorities? How much money can you actually save having a DIY wedding? And where do you look when you have no idea where to start? The internet, of course!
I was hooked on wedding blogs when we were planning our wedding and trying to agree a budget. But, unfortunately, the internet lies and the budget blogs I read were utter nonsense. We constructed our initial budget on muddled information from the blogs that sounded fairly accurate. Luckily, my husband can work magic with a spreadsheet and throughout our wedding planning he was able to manage the budget perfectly. Also (fortunately for Mike, or else we would be bankrupt), I had no control whatsoever over budget; if he said no to something, it didn’t happen.
So this post is written with the intention of full disclosure; something we couldn’t find anywhere when we were trying to decide our budget. We know we could have done it cheaper and we know we could have paid more; this is just how we decided to do it. Before we get started, some caveats:
- Our budget is for 110 guests;
- We got married near the New Forest on the Hampshire/Dorset border, which is expensive;
- Yes, weddings are expensive – if you can get away with booking it as just a party, you’re bound to save a few 0’s;
- Yes, we could have saved money and done our wedding on a smaller budget;
- No, we have no regrets about how much we spent – we saved money on some elements and splashed the cash on others, our wedding was perfect in every way.
- This budget is from June 2016 and I’m sure it’ll go out of date quickly.
Money is always a tricky subject and saving enough money for a wedding is tough, we lived through wedding austerity in the 18 months leading up to the wedding, saving every penny we could. We were also fortunate to have wonderful family, who contributed to the wedding too. We knew our wedding day was likely to be the second most expense day of our lives (after buying a flat) and managing such a large amount of money is quite an intimidating task. There were a few things that we discussed that helped us agree our wedding aims:
- We decided what was important to us – photography (the record of the day for the rest of our lives), food (we both love food), drink (we also love drink) and wedding rings (we’ve got to wear these every day for ever).
- We agreed the wedding location– near my family home so I could get ready in my childhood bedroom.
- We established what type of wedding we wanted – modern elegance; something that would celebrate the continuation of our life together, recognising the love of those around us and creating a day that everyone would (hopefully) enjoy and remember with fondness.
These things helped us with our venue choice, guest list and focus for suppliers. We think we played around with our forecast during the planning, as we quickly realised our original budget wasn’t going to cut it (original budget was around £27k). Even if this is just a guide on a few elements of a wedding, I hope this is useful to those of you who are planning you special day.