For most couples, planning the wedding is the first time they’ve ever organised a big event, and it’s very easy for wedding cost to start spinning out of control. Don’t feel bad for not knowing what a wedding costs – it’s totally possible to have a wedding at any price point, and these tips help you get it right.
Let’s start with a rough breakdown of how much of your budget is going to be spent on each thing:
Reception: 50% (Venue, Food, Drinks, Cake)
Photography & Videography: 18%
Florals & Decor: 15% (All floral elements, rentals (some rentals may be included in Reception), and decor items)
Stationery: 8% (Invitations, Day-Of Stationery (menus, table numbers, escort cards, etc))
Ceremony: 2% (Officiant fee, ceremony rental)
Miscellaneous: 2% (Favors, any extras)
Of course, all of these are subject to your personal preferences and priorities, but you can use these percentages as a guide to get you started. Also, use our free printable budget sheet to map the costs of each supplier - DOWNLOAD BUDGET Venn diagram.
Whatever your budget, it’s easy to get lured into the newest, shiniest version of everything you’ve ever seen on Pinterest, but there are plenty of ways to cut your wedding costs with a little bit of creativity.
💰 Firm up your budget
Before you can be sure of your budget, you need to talk to your families about if they’re able and willing to contribute in some way to the cost of your wedding. Finances are always a difficult conversation, but if you approach the conversational sensibly, you won’t offend anyone, and any contribution they can make could mean a real difference to your celebrations. Don’t pile on the pressure, and be grateful for any monetary or other contributions they offer to help you celebrate.
Work out with your partner how much you can save each month towards your wedding costs, and make sure that number is a figure you’re both comfortable with. You may have to make sacrifices along the way, so it’s important to be confident in what you’re deciding from the outset.
💰 Re-use and recycle
Check out local charity shops, jumble sales, and markets for second-hand items that you can use as part of your decor. There are even charity shops that specialise in bridesmaid and wedding dresses that have been previously loved and loads of people on social networks who are selling or giving away decor and outfits from their own weddings at bargain prices.
Finding things to re-use or recycle can save you a lot of money, while also doing your bit for the environment, so you get good karma while making your wedding decor sparkle.
💰 Borrow, borrow, borrow
Hire outfits from suits to dresses, borrow accessories from friends and family, beg access to the DIY creative skills of friends to make your decorations, or negotiate with a friend who bakes, to make your wedding cake in place of a gift. These personal touches can make your wedding totally unique and extra special.
Before you get too stuck in, though, work out the costs of all your materials and the time you’re going to need to put all your creations together. It might be a really fun and cost-effective way to spend an afternoon with friends, or it could end up quite an expensive exercise!
💰 Flex on your dates and times
If you’re not tied to a specific date or weekend, remember that many venues will have special offers for couples getting married ‘off-season’ or on less popular days of the week. These can mean huge savings, so they’re definitely worth considering.
You could also consider getting married earlier in the day, and having a brunch or lunch reception instead of a full evening meal. A lighter meal or buffet, at an earlier time of day, could save you up to 30% compared to peak hours, and you can still keep your disco going well into the night.
💰 Marry and celebrate in the same venue
Holding the ceremony and reception in the same place can save you and your guests a lot of expense. You’ll cut the costs of venue hire and decoration, and by staying in the same place you and your guests won’t need the hassle and expense of transport between locations. You’ll be amazed how quickly the savings from staying in one place add up!
💰 Focus on what’s most important to you both
If you really want the big band and all-night party or have your hearts set on a certain photographer, but aren’t so fussed about the multi-tiered cake, be true to yourselves and spend on your priorities.
You can use Venn diagram, where you and your partner should (independently!) write down a list of your top 3 or top 5 things that you want from your wedding day. Think about things like food, entertainment, location, or the overall atmosphere that you want to achieve.
When you bring your lists together you’ll be able to merge priorities to spell out what you both most want and need from your big day.
💰 Bulk buy
Pick just one or two types of flowers to buy in bulk, and make sure you stick to the seasons. Most flowers only have one season when they ‘naturally’ bloom, even though they’re available year-round through careful growing or by importing from around the globe. Picking flowers that are in season where you’re getting married will massively reduce your costs, so be smart when choosing your bouquet.
Instead of setting up a bar tab or asking guests to buy their own drinks all night, think about buying crates of wine and beer, or creating your own signature cocktail with a couple of bulk-bought spirits and mixers.
Finally, be sure to buy your wedding favours in large numbers to get the best discounts.
💰 Limit your numbers
One of the hardest things to do, but certainly the most cost-effective, keeping your guest list to a manageable size is key to keeping your budget under control. Venues and caterers typically charge per head, so be sure you really want to invite every one of your guests – we covered some tips for making those tough choices in this article.[LINK]
🙅 No regrets
If you’re not careful, it can be easy to lose focus when you’re working on a budget. Set your priorities out early, and don’t end up with one of the top 10 bridal regrets:
🎥 Not hiring a videographer, or only hiring a videographer for part of the day.
📸 Not spending more money on a videographer or photographer – there’s nothing worse than bad photographs, or not getting those essential shots with members of your family and groups of friends.
🏛 Hiring a venue that’s too small for your guest list, or inviting too many people.
🎞 Not hiring a photo booth.
💡 Not spending enough on a lighting for the evening.
👗 Paying too much for the wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses.
👠 Overspending on shoes which nobody sees.
💐 Spending too much on floral arrangements, decorations, centerpieces, wedding bouquet and other small details that people usually don’t remember about the wedding.
Remember to keep in touch with your main priorities at all times, and check in with each other before signing contracts and paying deposits – a reality check at those crucial moments can really keep your wedding costs and budget under control.
Start planning your wedding right now and find event suppliers with the most suitable price through Poptop. Request a free quote and our concierges will help you to be prepared for your big day!