If you’re so much as 30 seconds into your wedding planning journey, you’ve probably already realised that bridal budgets are, shall we say, rather ‘elastic’. You really can spend as much (or, in truth, as little) as you choose. The best place to start is with a realistic sum for you and your partner – a sum you can agree on and which fits with your financial goals going forward.
When you’re in ‘how long is a piece of string?’ territory, remember that YOU choose where to make the cut.
Wedding planning can be stressful. Fact. But it can also be a world of fun. Minimise issues by getting the financial elephant out of the room as quickly as possible. Because, let me tell you right now, while money might be one of the main causes of arguments between couples, *not* talking about money is even worse!
So, once you’ve agreed on that all-important dollar amount – as well as the personal investment each of you is prepared to make when it comes to hunting down vendors and perhaps DIYing some elements – you’re well positioned to get the process underway.
From there it’s about laying out your individual expectations and aspirations, and then prioritising.
Where do you even start?!
You start right here! We’ve taken you a step back from the overwhelming detail of a wedding budget planner, to a nifty pie-chart that will help you chunk up your budget and get a handle on the sort of figures you’re talking about for each element.
And because your wedding budget and vision is as unique as your relationship, we’re talking about the percentage spend for each area, rather than a dollar estimate. Handy, hey?!
Crucially, that means you can begin the planning process with your eyes wide open and with your heart a little hardened against budget busting options.
How much does a wedding cost?
According to ASIC’s MoneySmart website, the average cost of an Australian wedding is $36,200. But who wants an average wedding?! Do things your way, whether that’s with a lean budget or one with plenty of meat on the bones.
Who pays for the wedding?
There was a time when the bride’s family paid for the entire wedding. Today, it’s more common for the happy couple to split the cost, although that very much depends on your family’s cultural values, background, ethnicity, and of course, financial position.
Contributions from families can be a tricky area to navigate – ask them to be clear about their expectations and what they are, or are not, willing to pay for. The last thing you need is to feel obligated to do something against your own wishes.
Unfortunately, there are no pie-charts to help you navigate this one – just clear communication and a LOT of diplomacy.
Watch out for budget busters…
So, beyond your personal penchant for champers, turtledoves and a performance by Ed Sheeran, what are the factors that can impact on your spending?
Guest List Size
The more sizeable your guest list, the bigger the venue, the more catering, cake, alcohol and furniture you’ll need. It can be useful to get early line of sight of how many guests you and your partner might wish to invite (not to mention those extras thrown in my determined family members!). Working back through the proportion of your budget available to accommodate could help to focus your mind, whether that means trimming back numbers or adjusting your venue and catering expectations.
Remember that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ venue – but there absolutely is a venue that is perfect for YOUR day.
Check out our fabulous free directory to see just what we mean. I promise, with a vision that truly reflects your partnership and your personalities, you can absolutely find a sensational location within any budget. Sceptical? Put us to the test…
Time of year
When you choose to get married has quite an effect on the cost of your wedding, with summer weddings carrying peak season prices. This applies to venues as well as vendors.
The day of week can also add a premium to your wedding cost, with weekends being the most expensive days to host a wedding. If you can be flexible on timing, choosing a cheaper option can be a great way to have your wedding cake, and eat it!
Paying for perfection
In the pursuit of inspiration, it’s all too easy to Pinterest yourself into debt. You can 100% tailor your wedding to within an inch of its life, but there comes a point when you have to rein it in.
Establish your priorities and stick to them. That might mean skipping the calligrapher, ten-piece band or out of season flowers, but your day will still be just as wonderful (and you won’t have to hide from the bank manager for months afterwards).
Little extras can add up to big problems when it comes time to balance the books.
You’re not the first and you won’t be the last
Of course your day will be unique, but your wedding planning experience will likely follow a well-worn path. Talk to friends and family to understand what added value to their day, and what they could well have done without. Things like…
- A towering masterpiece v a single glorious tier for a wedding cake (with a slab cake in the background to feed the hordes)
- Draw the line at wine and beer and let guests pay for ‘the hard stuff’
- Wedding favours/bombonieres – does anyone really care?!
- Hop on Gumtree/Marketplace for fabulous, pre-enjoyed decorations or drop hints among your most stylish recently married friends!
The final word
Above all, stay true to your vision as well as to your budget. Money doesn’t make a great wedding, any more than it guarantees a happy marriage.
You do you, boo.