The first thing to do is to sit down with your partner and decide a budget figure. Deciding this as early as possible will help you avoid going over the budget later. If you and your fiancé are funding the wedding yourselves, assess your joint income, and how much you might be able to save up (e.g. by forgoing holidays, expensive birthday celebrations etc). It’s sensible to have a date in mind, even if it’s not the finalised date. If you and/or your fiancé’s parents have offered to contribute towards the wedding fund, find out from them how much they would be willing to spend.
Now, think about the kind of wedding you want. Do you want a large, lavish affair or a smaller, more intimate gathering? Don’t get too bogged down in all the little details at this point – the objective is to simply set out a vision of what you want your wedding to be, and work out how much (if not all) of your vision is achievable with the money you have.
If the parents are offering to pay towards the wedding, discuss your vision with them and ask them what kind of wedding they want. You’ll have your own plans in mind, but it’s only fair that they get to give some input on your big day, so find out exactly what input they actually want to give. They may well tell you that you’re free to spend the money on whatever you like – or they may expect more creative freedom over the wedding.
Choose Your Guests
Next, draw up a rough guest list – this doesn’t need to be too detailed in the early stages, so don’t spend your time arguing over who to invite! Just get a good idea of how many people you want at your big day, as then you can assess what venues will be able to cater for your party of guests and get a good ballpark figure of how much you can expect to pay for the venue.
Create a spreadsheet and begin adding all the things guests will need (but don’t worry about including everything straight away, as you’ll end up adding more things as you go anyway). Find out what each of these will cost – don’t be tempted to estimate! – and multiply the cost by the number of guests.
If the cost comes in above your budget limit, make a note of the things you’d be willing to sacrifice (we recommend creating a digital spreadsheet, so you can simply highlight the things which you might be willing to drop). Talk about this together, and be prepared to compromise. If there are things on the spreadsheet that you absolutely need to keep, but you balk at the price tag, investigate cheaper ways of getting them – for example, rather than paying to have your invitations printed, you could potentially print them yourself for a lower price.
If you’re planning a wedding, look out for further tips and advice our blog, and take a look at our Weddings page to discover more about the wedding services we offer.