For what it's worth...how to prioritise your budget and get what you really want for your big day
Weddings are expensive. No doubt about it! If you're planning a wedding, setting a budget and sticking to it can take some work, especially if, like me, you have no idea how much some things actually cost in the first place. I remember buying wedding magazines and they'd often have information to help give you an idea of cost for the essentials just to feel completely overwhelmed with the costs that were racking up in my head. You too?
So how do you decide where to splurge and where to save? There's no one size fits all answer to that I'm afraid to report but I decided to put this post together to help you think about what matters most for you as a couple and to shed some light on why things cost what they do and again, there's not a one size fits all approach there too but hopefully it gives you an insight into where your money is best spent!
Ok, so let's start with you, the bride and groom. If you're anything like me, you've been bombarded with information, pretty pictures and ads through social media, wedding exhibitions and magazines about current trends, latest dresses, colour schemes, cute ideas for favours, hen and stag parties...there is so much out there when it comes to weddings. New, quirky, fabulous and original ideas catch our attention (I'm with you, fellow Pinterest addicts!) and it can feel overwhelming. And I'm on the other side now, contributing to that industry and I hope it reassures you that I still feel the same as you, as I need to keep up with said trends to an extent to appeal to as many couples as I can as I'm a tiny speck in a huge, competitive industry.
The good thing for you though is that, with so many people contributing to the wedding industry, it gives you the chance to shop around and get a feel for where your money is best spent or find a supplier that can work within your budget. And these days, thanks to the Internet, all those businesses are within your reach.
This quote from one of my all-time favourite films "You've Got Mail" (don't judge me!) sums up my point; Tom Hanks' character in the film questions the price of a rare book and the shop assistant responds with the phrase "that's why it's worth so much". Consider what something is worth to you. Good value for money doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest thing; getting good value is investing in something that will make your day that extra bit special and memorable and everyone will have a different view of what's more important to them.
So to help you along the way, here are a few suggestions to help you decide where to save and where to splurge!
Maybe it's timeless photographs that will continue to bring back memories fifty years down the line, perhaps it's a dream venue, maybe it's the little details. Sit down together and think about the five most important things for you as a couple, the things that will make your day special and memorable for you. Then list the other things you'd like to include in your big day. By prioritising your wish list, you'll get a feel for what is worth spending the money on and what you can cut back on.
Choose suppliers who you like the style of for your top must-haves. For example, choose a photographer who shoots weddings in the style you like, a florist who specialises in arrangements you like, a venue that makes you feel special when you step through the door...a lot of this will come down to personalities too as you will probably find that you are drawn to certain suppliers as they share your vision, take the time to listen to what you want and suggest options that can work for your budget. And if they can't fit within your assigned budget, take another look at your must-haves and rate them by importance. You may find that something you initially thought was a priority isn't any more, enabling you to reassess your budget.
You've probably heard about someone somewhere who ordered a stunning dress online for a low price who was devastated when it arrived because it looked nothing like the image, didn't fit, wasn't great quality...the list goes on. The result then is that the poor bride had the extra stress and expense of having to get the dress altered or even had to buy a new dress, which adds to the cost. Take your time and try not to buy on impulse. If you're struggling with dresses, why not talk to a dress maker or seamstress about having one custom-made. You may actually be surprised as sometimes it can work out more cost-effective without all the mark-up and you get exactly what you want. Maybe there are favours or decorations that you can make by hand that you can choose some cheaper materials for and have some fun creating together or that family and friends can help with. Handmade doesn't always work out cheaper as we often pick up bits here and there that go to waste and sometimes the amount of time taken to make something causes more stress than it's worth, but for you, making all those little special touches may be one of your "must-haves" as it's your way to put your personality into your special day. I'll give you an example of my brooch bouquet; I probably spent a fortune gathering materials for it and spent ages making it and eventually spent out much more than I would charge to make one for a bride these days but it was something that I wanted to make and make I did!
I always like to break down costs for my brides so they can see where their money is going. Every supplier has a system for working out prices; I know that brides can choose to go to someone cheaper for their cake toppers if they want to and equally, they can go to someone who will charge more. Again, it all comes down to style and getting what you really want. If you're looking for something more detailed, remember that the added cost will be going in to the extra time, thought and materials needed to create those details. Consider what the item means to you and appreciate that quality may cost a little more.
Trends are nice because they give us a visual aspiration of what our special day could look like and you may start to find that you start to see more of certain colours or dress styles in the shops as a result of trend. It's great for those of us in the industry as it gives us an idea of the ideas we need to cater to but don't feel that because everyone is having a wedding in a barn, that you have to do the same; or because everyone is having cupcakes for their wedding cake, you can't have a show stopper four-tier cake. If the latest trends fit your idea of a dream wedding, then go with it, but if not, break away and do your own thing. Weddings are special because of the people getting married; you are too fabulous to be "wedding by numbers" so add special touches that matter to both of you.
Over to you! What are your top tips for budgeting for your wedding? Leave a comment and let me know :)