Budgets, Budgets, Budgets!!

If only we all had access to a money tree in our back garden wouldn't that be pretty darn epic!

However, here we are living in reality and knowing that everyone has to budget at some point in their life, its a scary situation sometimes but we come out the other end stronger. Pretty much most things in life revolves around money; you work your butt off for however many hours a week to just have the weekends free to enjoy yourself.

As much as you don't want to think about budgets, unfortunately you need to when it comes to planning a wedding. No matter how much you earn, there's always going to be a limit of what you can afford. There's no point splashing the cash for the one day to have the most incredible 12/24 hours to then have to pay off credit card bills and debts for months on end afterwards, it isn't worth it.

Come to think of it, you don't necessarily need to be engaged to think about your finances for a wedding. Looking back, we always had a plan of when things could potentially happen (don't get me wrong the proposal was completely out of the blue) but we knew that in the next few years it was bound to happen along with buying a house etc so we knew we needed to save so much a month.

Without realising, you will be financially aware when it is the right time to plan a wedding.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out what exactly you can afford, there’s no point jumping the gun and booking an extravagant wedding if you physically cannot pay for it; do not get yourself into any debt.

Once you have a rough idea of what you would like to spend, have a look around wedding venues, this is the most vital piece of the jigsaw, without a venue you can’t really plan anything else.

I never in a million years thought that I would have a spreadsheet to work out my finances, I’ve always been that old fashioned gal who writes everything down on a notepad. I actually sit there towards the back end of every month and figure out what I have spent, write it all down and work out if I need to transfer money across into my savings. Now, I just type in a few numbers and then some miracle later it works it all out for me. Who knew that technology had the answer haha!

Budgeting is a slow and long process, it isn't going to happen over night unfortunately. This may sound super simple but you need to work out your monthly outgoings and see how much you are left with. From this figure out how much you need to live on that month and then put some money away each month into a new savings account that you know you will not touch! Do not leave yourself without where you literally cannot live or enjoy yourselves, again that one day is not worth all the stress beforehand.

From figuring out the venue, you will get a better understanding of what you require, whether it is a million decorations or just an odd few bits. From here you will have a better understanding of what else you need to budget. The biggest thing you need to remember is that shopping around is key when it comes to planning a wedding, you may think that you have discovered something at a good price, well just have a little look around and see if you can beat that. Nine times out of ten you probably can, and do not be afraid to barter, I did and I managed to save quite a bit of money.

Sit down and work out what the biggest items are you need to purchase; I'm talking about the dress, bridesmaid dresses, suits, the venue, food, drink, entertainment (DJ/Band/Singer). Once you've worked out prices on these, you can then look at decorations, the type of cake you would like, accessories for bridesmaids, bride, groomsmen and if you would like a wedding car. We chose against that as no one but me would actually see this in person as our day was all in one venue behind closed doors. The only time others would see this would be on photos and I didn't see the point in spending that much money on hiring a car when I could spend it elsewhere - on a doughnut wall! 

As you go through planning it will start to become a doddle; the biggest thing to remember is to check your finances each month! It starts becoming dangerous when you don't keep an eye on where all the money is going, you will be surprised at the small amount of money you've thrown around here and there and the likes of a guest book, extras at the venue, that one extra vase for the centre pieces etc. It will be daunting, especially as the day gets closer and the final payments for everything needs to get paid, but you will get there and if you are smart, you can do it debt free and without spending thousands. 

The final bit that's left for me to mention is that there may come a time where you need to have a slightly awkward conversation with loved ones. Some couples are lucky to receive a small contribution from family members; I bet you're thinking what's awkward about that .... well, you do need to know how much this is going to be quite early one. This comes across very ungrateful, but why put in your spreadsheet that they're going to give you £500, spend that money on something and then find out its £50 towards a deposit. You are not being ungrateful at all and they will understand, they may even feel awkward about initiating the conversation too! 

Oh, one final thing! By working out how roughly how much the wedding is going to be, it will give you a better understanding of the timeframe you need to budget and when to book that date!!! 

Good luck!!! 

Alice xxx