How to budget for a wedding

04/02/2019   Whitney Lian, Paraplanner

So you’ve caught the love bug and you’ve gotten engaged – congratulations! Now comes the exciting part; choosing the venue, guest lists, deciding on the dress… the list goes on. Getting into the finer details of wedding planning can be lots of fun, but there’s one part no-one looks forward to – working out how much it all costs. However as daunting as it is think about, making sure you have enough money to afford your dream day is one of the first steps to successful wedding planning. Here are my top three tips to get you started!

1. Prioritise what is most important to you

Real talk – unless you’re blessed with a bottomless bank account, chances are that you won’t be able to afford to have everything on your special day exactly how you’d want it. That’s not to say all your plans go out the window – it just means you need to set expectations and decide what really matters.

Think about it carefully. What are the things that you definitely don’t want to sacrifice and what are some of the things that you don’t care about as much?

In my case, my husband is a car fanatic so there would have been no chance of talking him out of having the bridal party arrive in vintage Rolls-Royce’s on the day. On the other hand, he really couldn’t care less about the suits he and the groomsmen wore, as long as they fit and looked good - this allowed us to save some serious dollars. For me, it was all about securing a beautiful venue along with great photographers and videographers to capture the big day, so we knew exactly where to focus the majority of our budget.  

Working out these priorities meant we knew what mattered most. In the end we decided that the wedding event was our focus, and decided to not throw an engagement party, opting for one big celebration at our wedding instead. Alternatively, some people choose to have a giant engagement party and then end up eloping! It’s all about give and take – what are you willing to pay for and what are you willing to give up?

2. Figure out your budget and stick to it!

Once you work out your must haves, you need to work out your spending cap. 

A survey of 515 brides conducted by Wedded Wonderland, found that the average cost of an Australian wedding in 2018 was $51,245. Ouch! Here’s their breakdown:

Wedded Wonderland Infographic

Source: Wedded Wonderland

However, an average isn’t necessarily an indication of what you should be spending. While our wedding is often one of the most important days in our lives, is it really worth going into debt over and spending the next five years paying it off?

It’s really important to sit down and discuss not only what you’re willing to spend, but also how much you can afford. If you want to budget about $50,000 for a wedding in two years’ time, you would need to be able to put aside about $480 a week between the both of you, on top of your living costs. That’s a substantial hit to your bank balance – money that you might be putting aside for a home deposit, or existing credit card bills!

3. Enlist your helpers

If you’re looking for a way to cut costs, there are many ways you can save money on your wedding and still have that beautiful day you always dreamed of. It’s time to cash in some favours!

You probably have friends and family around you who would be more than happy to help you on your big day. Do you have a makeup artist cousin who would be happy to do your makeup for a discount or even as a wedding gift? How about that friend who is great at photography? Or an aunty that loves arts and crafts who could help with the invitations and place cards? You’d be surprised at how much you’ll be able to cut down on costs simply by asking your loved ones for some help. For my own wedding, my wonderful bridesmaids helped me put together all the invitations which would have taken me hours to do on my own.

Bonus tip: Enjoy yourself

Weddings can be expensive, but at the end of the day only you can decide how you’d like that money to be spent. Above all else, make sure that whatever you spend your hard earned cash on will be enjoyed – don’t forget take the time to take a step back and cherish the special moments you spent so long planning. The day is over in the blink of an eye, but the memories will hopefully last a lifetime. Make it count.

A wedding is only one part of your life story. What about the bigger picture? To discuss your short, medium and long term goals and get a sense of how you can live the life you choose both now and in the exciting future you and your partner have planned, speak to a financial adviser today!

Congratulations to Shane Light – 2019 Financial Planner of the Year Finalist

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