How much should I spend on my wedding in total?

spend on my weddingHaving been married to a wedding planner for 13 years now, I hear this question a lot. At least, I hear it in passing while I serve tea to future brides and grooms (I know, I’m such a great husband).  How much should I spend on my wedding?

And as an accountant, I figured that it couldn’t be too hard to work out a simple formula for people to use. So I did, and here it is …..

[Your annual salary] + [your partner’s annual salary] x 41.4% = Your Total Wedding Budget

Too good to be true? Yup, I just made it up. The real answer lies somewhere between what you can afford and the cost of your dream wedding. Working out your actual wedding budget has to be done from the bottom up. That means getting costs for everything then adding them all up and seeing what it all comes to. Ugh, what a pain! Well, not really. The mistake that people make is in assuming that they need to know right from the start, what their total wedding budget should be. Your wedding budget is a “living” thing that will grow with you as you’re planning your wedding.

To start I’d strongly recommend getting yourselves a really comprehensive wedding plan and using that as a template for your budget. There are dozens available but be careful of using the simpler plans because they’ve either combined different costs together or they’ve left something off (like the honeymoon). Next, you’ll need somewhere to write it all down. This doesn’t need to be a finely crafted Excel spreadsheet, just somewhere convenient that you can find easily enough (heck, a large piece of paper stuck to your fridge will do).

Now, as you’re looking into each item on the wedding plan, write down the prices you’re quoted. Chances are that you’ll get more than one quote for each so be sure to keep it neat. Within a short amount of time, and with plenty of time still to go before your wedding, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the costs for the biggest items (venue, caterer, photographer, DJ and maybe even décor).  This is when you’ll need to sit down together and talk about affordability.

You’ll find by using different combinations, the caterer you really liked with the slightly cheaper dance floor, or the venue with the chapel on site with those exquisite ice sculpture centrepieces, you can have your 5-layer wedding cake and find time between dances to eat it too.

The most important thing is to be realistic. Reducing the number of flowers in the vase on the tables from 30 to 25, isn’t going to make a monumental difference to the look, but will affect the price. Having the wedding of your dreams isn’t going to leave a lovely lasting memory if you’re saddled with a mountain of debt after your big day is over.

And if you want my advice (well, more of it), get yourself a wedding planner and save yourself the hassle. They’ll not only work all of your costs into a budget for you, then re-work those figures when you change your mind, but you’re assured of getting the very best deal for your hard-earned cash from well-respected and reliable suppliers.

Happy planning!

Written by our Guest Blogger – Max from   

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