HOW TO BUDGET FOR YOUR WEDDING AND WHY
Budgets are boring right? No one really likes budgeting do they? Well actually, they’re not and yes they do! I have been ridiculously excited to share today’s post with you. Since starting my debt-free journey, budgeting has quickly become one of my favourite things to do.
If you’d asked me what my thoughts on budgeting were two years ago, I would have most likely told you the truth, that I’d never used one and never intended to, because to be honest I did’t really understand how they could help me? But, it was my new found love for budgeting that allowed me to finally gain control of my finances, get out of debt and now plan for a wedding.
A budget is a must-have tool when organising all the financial aspects of planning a wedding. Until last year I had never written a budget, can you believe that? Learning how to plan and use one has been of the most important skills I have acquired in my adult life and has allowed not just me, but Mr T also, to start focusing on saving money for our wedding and more importantly identify how best to use our hard earned cash.
Before discussing our budget my mind was swimming in ideas for our wedding. I had my heart set on a greenhouse venue, (Sefton Park would’ve been my dream!) but without even knowing how much a wedding like this would cost, I suspected it would be way out our non-existent budget and started looking for cheaper alternatives. I researched clear marquees, florists and garden centers that could provide me with the lush tropical vibes I had fallen in love with. Then I needed to find somewhere that would host our marquee and a separate tent for the caterers who were going to serve a delicious vegan three course meal. I would also need to find someone to assist with furniture hire, seating and tables, not forgetting our guests would also need toilets and accommodation. Perhaps somewhere to pitch a tent? And what about generators for the lights, music and cooking equipment? We would need a DJ or perhaps a band, or both? A dance floor and a yurt for us to sleep in… although at this point I was doing zero math, I knew the expenses were adding up. It was time me and Mr T had ‘the talk’. We needed to create a budget.
At this time I was a few months into my debt-free journey and was enjoying seeing the the amounts owed on my credit cards and loans going down each month and already knew, I was never going to get myself into debt again, not even for our wedding. I explained all this to Mr T, how my ‘dream wedding’ was looking rather costly and how on earth were we going to pay for it all? We spoke about how we had both envisioned our day and how it fit with with our goals for the future but after doing the math we soon realised, the wedding we were planning in theory, no longer aligned with our long term goals or values. We both wanted to travel more, maybe buy a house one day and perhaps even start our long awaited family. I never thought the conversation about budget would run as deep as it did, but it was this conversation that would change the way we thought about our wedding and eventually stop us from making a decision would later regret.
We no longer wanted a big wedding that would either take us years to save up for or years to pay off. We wanted an intimate ceremony, in the country where it had all began and wasn’t going to cost us our future together.
Now we’d identified what was really important to us it was time for a good ol’ spreadsheet. (Jess wrote an amazing post on using Microsoft Excel, inc. spreadsheets here which helped me ton!) We entered each expense including photographer, videographers, celebrant, ceremony venue, reception venue, food, outfits, flowers, flights and legal fees to name just a few. We then researched rough costs for each category. A useful strategy I used, was to overestimate everything by about 50%. It might seem a lot but with hidden fees and inflation you’ll be surprised by how much these costs can add up. My thought was that I would rather overestimate and have money left over than underestimate and have to scrape around finding extra money from somewhere last minute, which can often result in making bad financial decisions.
With a rough budget in place, we were able to come up with a suitable budgeting strategy that first included me ridding myself of any personal debt and then a savings plan that would enable us to pay for our wedding upfront without any need for credit cards or loans. We are are able to perform reviews on our spending each month to keep an eye on any expenses that we might have originally forgot to include, as well as reevaluate our spending.
I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this has been for us! If we hadn’t taken the time to seriously consider our budget, I honestly believe we would either be no closer to getting married or worse, planning a wedding that we would regret in the future. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact keeping it simple means your more likely to use it as a useful tool for planning and keeping your spending on track. This exercise not only helped us to analyse what we valued as important to our wedding but our future together too.