Wedding Budget – where to start

Image Credit: David’s Bridal Blog

As an accountant, budgets and spreadsheets are part of my day job. And unfortunately with planning a wedding, having a budget can be quite critical! 
However as I’d never planned a wedding myself before, I had no idea where to start with a budget! How much would/should everything cost? Was that quote too much? 
So I think what’s most important to ask yourself, is how much realistically can you afford? Do family or friends want to contribute at all? Because ideally, you don’t want to take out a loan or credit card you’ll be paying back for years afterwards! Then once you’ve got that figured out, you can use a budget planning tool, such as the below grid from David’s Bridal.
Then you should have a list of must haves and nice to haves within your budget. What is most important for your day? And that’s where the money is allocated to, with smaller amounts against smaller items or nice to haves. 
Your venue and catering is probably going to be the biggest chunk of your budget. However there’s loads of alternatives to cutting costs here, if you want to! Would you have an out of season wedding? What about a weekday wedding? Any bank holidays, where you could get married on a Sunday instead? Fancy a buffet style wedding breakfast? Or how about a later ceremony so you only have one round of food, instead of the three course sit down and evening buffet? 
Next on the list, I believe, is photography. It’s the only thing you’ll take away from your big day after all! I wouldn’t recommend trying to find a cheap deal here, as I’ve heard some bridal photography horror stories! Find someone who comes recommended, and you like their style. Plus, get to know them! I’ve made a friend in our photographer and I look forward to seeing the other weddings she’s photographed for. 
Then comes attire and beauty! For me personally, I didn’t want a £1000 dress and was more than happy to hire or buy second hand. In the end, I found a gorgeous sale dress which was an absolute steal from a local boutique and my whole attire actually costs less than my husband to be’s suit! But, you could hire suits for the groom and groomsmen if it’s unlikely they’ll wear it again.
So my little bit of advice is, always shop around and ask for quotes and compare exactly what each quote includes against others to get the best value for money. Ask friends or family for recommendations or people they know who could help out – we found our photographer and DJ by doing this! And finally, try to pay for things in installments if suppliers offer it. Because you don’t want to get to 1/2 months before when everything is suddenly due for payment!
Enjoy your wedding planning and don’t forget, it’s all about you two! 

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