One of the elements that can either make or break your celebration is your wedding budget. Just the term “wedding budget” is enough to create dread for some couples. Of course we don’t just mean how much it is, but rather what you do with it and how you stick to it throughout the whole planning process. A wedding budget may be the least alluring, and least glamorous part of tying the knot but, trust us: coming up with (and sticking to!) a wedding budget will be something that you will be thankful for.
The average cost of weddings seems to skyrocket every year, with rates varying depending on where in the world you are. This is particularly true if you live in busy cities which it can sometimes seem like the catering budget alone would be the same as the cost of an entire wedding in quieter cities.
While there is no set standard on how much you should spend on a wedding, the rule of thumb here is that you work within your budget, not the other way around. The first question you should then ask is what type of wedding you would like, and how grand or simple do you want it to be. Before you get overwhelmed with all the calculations and guesstimates, we are here to help! We’ve prepared this handy little primer to help you plan out and stick to your wedding budget.
Determine if you will need a wedding planner
Let’s face it: wedding planning is a Herculean task, and you probably already have your hands full after getting engaged. One way you can minimise your stress levels as much as possible is to get a professional to show you the ropes and help make your wedding the fairytale you dream it to be!
A professional wedding planner obviously knows the ins-and-outs of a wedding, and they most likely have connections that are reliable and can offer you discounts! Don’t worry, you will still be incredibly involved with the planning process, just minus the extra headaches. If you are already getting overwhelmed with just thinking of how much needs to be done, then hiring a wedding planner may be the perfect option for you.
This is not to say that planning your own wedding is impossible! In smaller weddings without too many variables, then planning your own celebration may not be as tough. Just make sure that you know what you are getting into, or else you might be running around and fussing on your own wedding day!
Know how much you are willing to spend for the wedding.
In order to make a budget, you have to know how much you are capable of pooling together without breaking the bank. After all, you might end up regretting over-spending on a day of wedding celebrations when the bills start rolling in.
There are three sources of funds for your big day. Your savings, your partner’s savings, and any help that your loved ones can give. It can get tricky figuring out just how to approach each, so let us help you out.
For your own savings, keep in mind that you should not drain your bank account on just one celebration. Checking on how much you can contribute to your wedding is not as straight up as checking your own bank account! Ideally, you and your fiancé should allot some time to be financially ready for a wedding. This can mean somewhere from 6 to 18 months to save up, before you actually get down and dirty with the planning process for your wedding.
Your monthly income will factor in as well, as a portion of it should ideally be put aside for wedding costs. We recommend that you and your spouse-to-be should open a separate bank account for your wedding costs. It can be easy for you to accidentally withdraw from your savings if you use the same account for your wedding needs.
The last one is that you should never, ever assume that your loved ones or parents would cover your wedding, or even a fraction of it. While this may be the general rule, it certainly would not hurt to ask! Your loved ones may even offer to chip in for a portion of your wedding, saving you some money that can go to building your future together.
Don’t forget to keep track of your spending.
Now, we are about to go a little technical on this but you will definitely thank us for this one. You should make a spreadsheet with the following expense columns: estimated, modified, and actual. Under estimated, it is basically the springboard of the vendors and facilities you are eyeing. Indicate the research you have made, along with their costs. If you want to take it a step further, you can even include the pros and cons of each.
Once you have narrowed down your options based on research, it is time to move them over to the modified column. Here is where you will be putting in the proposals that you get from vendors that you have shortlisted. From here, you will be able to filter which one is the best option for you as a couple. It should be as comprehensive and detailed as possible to help you get a good perspective of all your choices.
The modified column is where you will be listing down the final amount you pay for the vendor that you ultimately end up choosing. Our pro tip is for you to take note of how much your total wedding cost is, along with how much you are willing to shell out for each aspect of it. You will then be able to know if you are over your allotted budget, or if you were able to make any good savings without sacrificing quality.
Always be ready for surprise costs.
The truth is that there will always be surprise costs, and you will never accurately predict your expenditures down to a T. So, before you haplessly sign on the dotted line on agreements or start buying things that you do not need, it is important that you have read the fine print on all of your contracts.
Make sure that you have clarified that the price agreed upon will be the price you will pay at the end. There might be stipulations that might cause you to incur additional costs, so it is best to be careful and detail-oriented when it comes to these things.
When photographing asian weddings which is our speciality, we always ensure a detailed proposal covering all costs of our services. We know how important wedding figures are to the couples we work with. When consulting with a photographer for your big day, make sure all costs are listed and upfront and also include any digital or hard copy prints you may want.
Apart from reading the fine print, there are other surprise costs that you need to keep your eyes peeled for too. The transportation costs of your vendors may be something that you will have to shoulder. These are particularly true if you are not hiring local vendors!
Ingress and clean-up fees are common as well. The clean-up after a wedding is not quite a quick and easy job to do, which is why facilities may request for a clean-up fee once the party is over. There may even be an overtime fee for your location in case your celebration draws on for a little bit longer than you expected.
Top considerations to save big!
If you are already over budget or are getting dangerously close to it, then it may be time to consider slashing your spendings without sacrificing the heart of your wedding.
One of the ways you can do this is by switching up your venue. This especially applies to outdoor or destination weddings, which probably already take a huge chunk of your budget for location alone. Instead, you may opt for hotel function halls, or similar event spaces that are well-equipped with anything that you may need. Through this, you will be able to save on costs that you will incur if you try to do everything from scratch!
You may even consider trimming down your guest list. We know you want everyone to be with you on your big day, but it may come to the time that you need to edit your guest list to maintain the quality of your ceremony. This means taking out anyone who you can’t survive without. Even taking out just 10 people or so can already help you save so much!
The date is also something you can look into, as peak seasons are understandably more expensive. Try going off-peak in order to get some savings! Just make sure that you send out your Save The Dates a little early so that your guests can make time for your wedding.
No matter what kind of wedding you have, opt for the one that will make you and your fiancé happy. The most important thing about your wedding is your union, so make that the focus as you plan!