You’re getting hitched?
Congrats! Now let’s talk money!
How much money do you have and how are you going to spend it?
Let’s not be shy or bashful, I am talking real figures here, not ‘If we won the lottery’, or ‘If we sold a kidney each’, or ‘If I do an extra forty-six shifts at work’, I mean what is the realistic figure that you can afford without going into debt or having to obtain the services of a loan shark?
No matter what your final budget is, the quickest way to get a handle on costs is to be honest with yourself about what you can spend. Not what you’d like to spend but what is realistic. Being truthful about your budget isn’t saying you have to give up on what you really want; it’s the first step in deciding what is really important to you for the day and which areas you can cut back in and get a bit creative with.
I’ve talked about this in the podcast before…I used to live in a bit of a money dreamland. A land where something marvellous was always going to come along and save my arse; a money tree, a spot on Deal or no deal, a long lost dead relative that would leave me a country estate and shares in Apple that they purchased in 1984. I wasn’t irresponsible, I just wasn’t aware. In my late twenties I woke up from my money haze and decided to stop being a debt slave who got palpitations every time the credit card bill arrived. It took me a while but I dug myself out of that debt and I never want to go back to that way of living again.
First things first…what’s a budget?
The meaning of the word ‘budget’ is personal… unique to everyone.
I’m going to guess that Victoria Beckham’s idea of doing something on the cheap is pretty different to mine and planning a wedding on a budget is just the same. Budget Weddings are a hot topic but here’s the thing, which great journalist/ wedding wizard decided that spending £15,000 ($23,000) is keeping to a budget?
That’s a LOT of money… money that in the real world, to most of us would seem completely ridiculous to spend on a six hour knees up.
Think about that, £15,000 for a six-hour party?
Are You Beyonce?
Unless you’re Beyoncé and you’re fiancé’s Jay Z (lucky you…you’re a hot power couple) that’s a lot of money but thousands of sane, non-millionaire couples pay just that, often going into debt and hammering credit cards, all for their ‘dream-wedding day’ (a concept I believe to be a bit BS by the way but that’s for another post).
How much money is enough money or too much money?
Whatever your opinion on what the word budget means, for me it’s working with what you can stomach spending.
A figure that won’t have you in debt.
A figure that won’t make you shudder and have dry sweats for the next 23 years when you think back on it.
A figure that is realistic.
A figure that YOU decide, not wedding wizards.
Take the Pressure Down
The financial pressure of budgeting for a wedding is intense. Maybe you’re paying for the whole event yourselves or perhaps friends and family are contributing financially …whatever situation you find yourself in, there are plenty of ways to make that money work harder for you.
For me one of the driving reasons for presenting my wedding planning podcast is removing the stress and strain (and high school like peer pressure) of having to stretch your friendship with money. Budgeting should be about how much YOU feel comfortable is spending not something a magazine tells you is reasonable.
What will your guests remember?
Saving money, cutting corners (that no one will ever know you cut) and coming out the other end chuffed that you won’t be paying back the bank for the next 6 years is pretty darn satisfying.
Trust me when I say, your wedding won’t be any less special without the Rolls-Royce Phantom to take you to the church…no one will know that your bra isn’t a brand name, or care that the champagne is actually prosecco, what they will remember is you and your partner, standing there, loved up, committing to each other, bringing two families together with all of their oddities and foibles. They’ll remember the laughs, the dancing and crazy Aunty Jill; dancing so hard her wig fell off.
So your homework is… think about what the word budget means to you. Write down a number that you feel is realistic and won’t make you vom when you look back in five years time.
The most important key to sticking to a wedding budget is, wait for it…having a budget. It may be obvious but you would be surprised at how many couples avoid tracking their costs and spending and then get themselves in trouble. Hey, if you don’t add it up, then it doesn’t count, right? No way José.
Pick the number.
Own it. Live it. I believe in you.
Aleisha McCormack is the host of the #1 wedding planning Podcast, Save The Date wedding planning podcast.
With two free shows per week covering everything from Mother-in laws to guests lists, Aleisha will de-stress your wedding planning and help you have fun along the way. Download her free companion wedding planning book, The Guide to Getting Hitched now.