If you’re newly engaged, congratulations!
You’ve declared your news to the world, you’re excited to get started on the planning but aren’t entirely sure on what to do or where to go next. We want the entire process to be as enjoyable for you as possible, so we thought we’d lend a helping hand.
The very first thing you want to do when you begin the planning process is to sit down with your significant other and look at some of the fundamentals. Let’s talk you through it:
Your ideal wedding
Let’s get you both on the same page. Have a chat about the type of wedding you’re hoping to host and ask yourselves the following questions:
- Formality: Do you want a formal, informal or semi-formal wedding?
- Marriage/civil ceremony or civil partnership: Are the vows to take place in a church? Or will you get a registrar to come to your venue? Do you want it to be inside or outside?
- Where will your wedding and reception take place? Is there a location in mind? If you’re looking for somewhere, do you want it to be close to wear your live, where you were born, or somewhere in the middle for family?
- Are you thinking village hall, hotel, estate home, garden wedding, barn, etc.
- Will you have a bridal party? Who do you want in your bridal party?
- What season would you like to get married in? Is there a particular month/day in mind?
- Do you have a theme or decor in mind? Will you have lots of flowers, balloons, candles etc.
- What type of entertainment do you want? Band? Or DJ?
- When it comes to food, do you want canapes, sit down; 1, 2 or 3 courses, buffet, evening food?
- Will you have an engagement party?
- What are your expectation on hen and stag parties?
- Where will you go on honeymoon?
- Do you require accommodation the night of your wedding? And will you be needing transportation?
Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of wedding you would like to have, the next step would be to consider the budgets you’re working to, after all weddings are expensive. Which, really, is what this article is dedicated to.
Your wedding budget
This can be one of the trickiest things to work out. However, if you’re both clear on what your ideal wedding looks like, you can now start to do a bit of research to find out how much it costs and what you’re willing to make compromises on. The beauty at this stage, is everything is potentially wide open and there are some ways to make savings or help with the financing.
Formal or informal? This will play a factor in cost
Formal weddings are more expensive than informal weddings, generally speaking. However, you can meet somewhere in the middle to help with the financial aspect. You can pick and choose which aspects are important to you and this can help to fluctuate the total cost if you would like a formal affair.
The cost of wedding venues
Most venues will have some information available on pricing, or readily share this with you, so you can get a rough idea at your budgeting stage what feels possible. Look at 3-4 venues that meet the style you’re interested in to see what their offering is like. If you’re flexible on time, you can even get yourself an excellent ‘last-minute’ deal which will give you the wedding you want at a cheaper cost.
An additional consideration of your venue cost is food. Some venues may insist you use their in-house caterers, others may be flexible in working with outsiders but may charge for the privilege, as many make up a discount in venue cost with a food and drinks package.
Additionally, how many courses are you intending on having; do you want a wedding breakfast and an evening buffet? What about a drinks package? Don’t forget breakfast the following morning if you’re staying over.
When budgeting for this, look at wedding packs for full information or contact the venue to get a base for pricing.
The costs of a bridal party
Are you covering the cost of outfits for your wedding party? If you want a uniformed look, we would say that you need to cover the cost of their outfits and we’d say budget for it. You could always reduce the size of the bridal party to help make the costs more manageable.
Wedding season and the impact on cost
The time of year you get married also plays a major part in the cost of your wedding; as does the day of the week. As such, there are ways you can make your wedding more affordable by choosing week days for your big day and/or host your special day in the quieter months. This can help you to negotiate on cost. Typically, the summer months (May-September) are most expensive because of the likelihood of better weather (for outdoor photos), compared to the winter months (November- March, with an exception for December and Christmas, and February and Valentines day).
‘Weddings’ hike up the price
It feels that when you tell anyone you’re getting married, the price increases 10-fold. It’s why decorations (balloons, table pieces, linens and decorations, stationary etc.), flower arrangements, cake, hair and make-up all feel really expensive. That’s why it’s important to consider all of the little details of your wedding when you’re working on your budget. It’s best to over-estimate (really exaggerate, we were astounded by how much hair and make up can cost for example) at this stage and negotiate on the final details a little later.
Your entertainment and the effect on cost
Some venues may have a resident DJ and as such you may receive a discounted package. If you’re looking to source entertainment elsewhere, you may need to consider travel expenses/accommodations and food arrangements. When it comes to general pricing, the bigger the arrangement (DJ vs. duet/4 piece/6 piece/10-piece band), the greater the cost.
Engagement parties & hen and stag parties
If you’re planning on an engagement party and hen and stag do’s, don’t forget to factor this cost into your wedding budget. You may have a great group who want to cover the cost of your hen/stag parties but don’t take it as a given, especially if you’ve got great expectations of these celebrations.
The cost of your honeymoon
You can always ask for contributions from your guests for your honeymoon as a gift but again don’t take it as a given. If you’re looking to have a honeymoon following your wedding, be sure to factor this in when planning your wedding as payments for it is likely to run concurrently with your wedding arrangements, and you don’t want to get caught out on a massive bill at the end.
Other considerations when it comes to budgeting for your wedding
Don’t forget to factor in transport, your attire, rings, shoes, accessories (both wedding and honeymoon), photography, videography and gifts (if applicable).
To help get your started, we’d created a wedding budgets document below to help you create an ideal budget vs. actual cost so you can keep track as you go.
Now you know a rough cost of what you’re working with, you can determine a payment schedule to help you keep track. At this stage it’ll be difficult to know when you’ll need cash to cover the costs of the various aspects of your wedding as it is dependent on your suppliers demands. However, you can always negotiate time frames with them.
As a rough guide, determine how much roughly you can save a week/month towards your wedding and divide that against the total budget to get a rough date on when you could pay the wedding off by. If you know you’re getting help from family members, don’t forget to factor this in as well.
It’s such an exciting time but a stressful one at that. Let’s make it more enjoyable than dreadful. If there is something you’re looking for help or advice with, don’t hesitate to comment below or send us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org we’d be happy to share our experiences with you or look into it for you.
You can also check out some of our other wedding related reads below to help you in the planning process, looking at some of the items in more detail we’ve discussed in this article.