Wedding Planning and Logistics
Andi WillisBride Online Columnist

Budgeting Your Wedding

The key to organising a beautiful wedding where every cent is well spent is establishing a clear budget before you begin anything else. This will not only save you money, but time, and energy for months down the line (energy which could be redirected to the important things, like choosing cake flavours).

Just about any budget can worked with and ensure a once-in-a-lifetime type of wedding. But no matter what actual figure is being spent the budget should break down into the same ratios:

The Quick Breakdown:

Reception (Food, Beverages, Rentals, and Site): 40 percent to 50 percent
Photography/Videography: 10 percent
Bride's and groom's attire: 5 percent to 10 percent
Flowers: 10 percent
Music: 5 percent to 10 percent
Planner or Coordinator: 10 percent to 15 percent
Miscellaneous (Bonbonnieres, Transportation, Etc.): 10 percent
Cushion: 5 percent to 15 percent

Establishing Your Budget

Get Real

To understand what a realistic budget is, research how much weddings cost in your area. Be aware that these prices will vary greatly- a wedding in any major city, for example, will cost far more than one in smaller towns or the countryside.

Start Doing Your Homework

Is there one specific element to your wedding that is a non-negotiable must-have? A specific band, venue, photographer? Then call up that vendor and get a quote. Note: Your quote will usually depend on how many guests are attending, so you need to think about an approximate figure before starting this research. If you're lucky enough to get what you're after, you'll need to adjust your budget. Again, if you're blowing it out in one area, you'll have to find other areas to cut back in.

Have A Heart- To-Heart

Now is the time to have a completely open discussion with your partner about the budget. Lay every conceivable aspect on the table for discussion and clarification, which could save you getting into financial knots further down the line. Are either of your parents paying for any part of the wedding? Where do you and your partner both want to splurge and save? Where will you have to meet halfway? And most importantly, how much can everyone afford? It's important to remember here that everyone will be trying their hardest to accommodate your wedding- related wishes, so remember to be as respectful and gracious as possible

Expectations vs. Reality

Most couples wish they just had that little extra to see their dreams realised. Yet, more often than not, this just isn't feasible. It's important to remember, ultimately, what this day is about- celebrating your relationship, and remembering that the rest is all fluff. It's also important to appreciate do have, as opposed to what you don't (your guests won't know what could have been, nor will they care). But you can of course find nifty tips and tricks to save on plenty on your big day!

Keep Track of Your Spending.

This is a no- brainer that flies over the heads of many. The only way to stay on-track with your budget is to be vigilant about organisation. Don't just keep your receipts, but record your spending- no expense is too small to not be recorded, and, as trite as it sounds, the little things really do add up. Use our interactive budget planner for help, or similarly, create a folder (or indeed multiple folders) as a reference of your spending. Approach each step of the planning process as just that- one small step- in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with the whole affair.

Good luck, ladies! And if you have any further question, feel free to visit our Ask An Expert section

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