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tips to help you stay on budget for your wedding - busybrides


I'm sure many of you go through life without budgeting, I know that I certainly don’t budget on everything, but when it comes to your wedding day this is pretty essential and the first things to plan when you are embarking on your wedding planning journey.


The last thing we would ever recommend is that you look for your perfect venue without factoring what you have to spend or you may find yourself falling in love with a venue that later you find you can’t afford.
Your venue will be one of your biggest spends that you may have as a couple together, outside of your home so you want to make sure you use it well. If you don’t have a budget in mind your costs can quickly spiral out of control.

Having budget in place will not necessarily stop you from overspending. but to stay on track of every single expense and logging them on a spreadsheet against your budget will certainly help you see where your money is going and help you keep on track.

I usually have an estimated cost column and an actual cost once that supplier is secured and it helps me keep my clients on track. It also tells you where i need to adjust my budget to compensate for anything that is costing more, or less, than anticipated.

Lots of people ask what a realistic budget is for a wedding and, in all honesty, there is no one answer, your budget and every single wedding is different.

You can have a wedding that can have 10 guests extra that can throw your budget upwards of £2500 without considering the extra table and chairs and table decoration, then evening food, potential wedding favours etc… so it really depends on the size of your wedding, how extravagant you want it to be, the number of evening guests too, and of course the money at your disposal.

Breaking down your wedding budget

So now we have been through the essential stuf let’s see how can you reign in any overspending on what should be the happiest day ever?

You likely have already appreciated that if you get married peak wedding season, on a peak wedding day its going to dent your budget, but how do you ensure that you still have an incredible wedding day and don’t start married life in loads and loads of debt?

One way to look at your budget is to start by thinking about what is most important to you, what are the things you MUST haves. Your essentials and going down the list fo would like to have. If you only dream about getting married in a Cathedral that cost a merry fortune, then this is an essential cost that may find you having to budget elsewhere.

Similarly if you have always dreamed of an Isabell Kristensen wedding dress then you need to figure out the likely costs for these first and see what else you can cut down on, if you need to. Budget does not need you have to budget ie. skimp, it just means it is what you have to spend.

Look at some of the things you would LIKE to have at your wedding and do some research on what are the potential costs. Do all of your must haves work within your set budget? If not then you will need to revisit and remove a few things or look for more cost effective alternatives. If on the other hand you have money left over, then you can start to add extra budget to have a more luxurious wedding or add on extras you had not planned. This will essentially build the basis of your budget

Many couples ask how they know how much to accommodate for each item when compiling their wedding budget. This is where good old-fashioned research comes in. Currently a wedding that I planed only 18 months ago, for the same numbers/food and caterers, it is coming in at £15k more because cost of food and staff and petrol have all gone up exponentially so you must do your homework. Even us planners still get blown away by some of the costs.

We always recommend a you plan for a contingency too and setting aside around 10-15% more than you planned to spend. This will ensure any missed costs can be taken care of without too much stress and if you don’t end up spending it, you can always put it towards your honeymoon!

So here are our top tips for staying on budget as you plan your wedding

1. Have a longer engagement – If you are in no rush to get married, having a longer engagement gives you more time to research various supplier costs but importantly more time to save. You’ll also be able to take opportunity of any sales on bridal wear and outfits, which usually come around twice a year.
2. Keep records – Every penny you spend, and what it is spent on, needs to be recorded. This is the only way that you can have a clear picture of where your money is going and if anything is costing more than anticipated. If something comes in at a higher than anticipated cost then you may need to reduce other areas of the budget to compensate.

3. Move your wedding day outside of wedding season. Reception venues, churches, civil offices and catering venues are usually more expensive in their busy season, which typically is in the summer months. Tying the knot just outside of these peak dates can save you greatly on your budget!

4. Negotiate / Haggle / Barter – There are times when you will need to just accept a quote at face value but there are other times when you may be able to negotiate with the supplier, even seemingly small amounts saved on a bill will add up and give you more to spend elsewhere.

5. Have a contingency – Leave some of your wedding budget unallocated, this way if something unexpected does crop up and requires a little extra money then you already have it. Just remember this is your emergency contingency fund and shouldn’t be spent unless really needed.

6. Be frugal – Is there anything that you could buy second hand or even rent for the day? Some things you will want brand new and will want to own, but is that the case for everything? These days second hand can be just as good and come at a fraction of the price. Hiring a wedding dress is very eco friendly nowadays. Or save costs on cake and ask a family member/s to make something for the wedding whilst you cover their costs?

7. Don’t follow trends – You don’t have to follow the most recent trends in order to have a spectacular and magical day and chances are that if you do want to follow the most current and popular trends then it’s going to cost you more. Instead, be original and just stick to what you really love and want.

8. Don’t overdo it with the food – It’s so easy to overspend on food for your guests. It’s tempting to roll out grazing platters when in reality a good bacon butty or toasted cheese goes down a royal treat and will save on costs. Also be mindful that if you go heavy on the appetizers then there probably won’t be the need for a starter on the day.

If you really want to keep costs down, then consider a buffet style reception which is always easier on the wallet than a sit down offering, but if a sit down dinner is something that you want for your wedding then try to choose seasonal produce which will keep costs down and consider using your wedding cake for dessert.


It’s fair to say that planning a wedding can be a big deal for those that are not used to planning large scale events, and it can at times feel overwhelming and sometimes even stressful. Just make sure that going over budget doesn’t add to the stress, as a minimum make sure that you are organised and have a clear way of tracking and monitoring everything that you spend, or commit to spend, so that you have a clear picture of where your money is going and if you need to make any adjustments.

If organisation isn’t your strong point, then enlist the help of a wedding planner who can help you with this and keep you on budget. Often additional costs that crop up with suppliers, venues and caterers that we can help you avoid, often goes a long way towards the costs of planning fees.

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