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Ask Emilie: How To Set A Wedding Budget

Welcome to Ask Emilie, here you can ask any question to our wedding planner Emilie. She will answer your question no matter the topic. It can be about anything from styling, general wedding questions, cultural customs, planning, wedding budget and more. This week we talk about how to set a wedding budget.

Today’s question is from Laura F who asks:

Hi Emilie,I was recently proposed to and am looking to get married late next year. While we do have some savings I have never budgeted for an expense of this size (holidays being the most expensive). I am hoping to keep everything around the $24,000 mark. Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to set a wedding budget?

Well Laura first things first, congratulations on your engagement and this question is quite well timed. Easy Weddings published their annual wedding survey for 2016 which will help put some recent and realistic figures into helping you with your question.

Wedding Budget: Money Bouquet

Know where to save your money

While the number fluctuates every year, the average wedding cost has been around $30,000 – $35,000 per couple. Did you know that on average a couple will start with an estimated budget of around $20,913. However when they get involved with the planning process they believe the final costs will be around $24,932. Yet for 2016 the final price was closer to $30,985. This means that on average a couple will go almost 50% over budget from original estimations.

This is why the length of an engagement on average are being pushed from 1 year to 2 years. It is because couples want to take their time and have the wedding of their dreams. There is a declining trend on putting it a wedding on credit card which is great news.

NEVER GO INTO CREDIT CARD DEBT FOR YOUR WEDDING, I cannot say this enough.

Getting Started On Your Wedding Budget

Below is a simple guide for couples who are looking on tips on how to set a wedding budget. The first thing to do is make a list of what you want on the day. If you are unsure speak with a wedding planner to help you work out your wedding budget. We recommend that you start with a contingency of at least 30%. The reason for this is that if you are just starting to plan for your wedding you may (in most cases) have an unrealistic expectation of the costs or miss out on things that you will think of later. If you have already planned on extra funds, you can rest easy that you have it covered. If you don’t use the extra funds, you can consider it as part of your joint saving account for another expense – ie, Honeymoon, Moving House, New Car etc.

Work Out A Weekly Wedding Budget

Once you have your realistic figure for your wedding budget, you can start to set weekly goals for yourself and your partner. For this blog budget example lets use your $24,000 (assuming its final) and that you are getting married in roughly 18 months like you suggested. If you have any savings, you may want to throw it into the budget straight away (so you wont spend it on frivolous things like a new TV, video games and so on).

So lets say in savings you and your partner have $2,000. Once you add that into your budget, you have to save another $22,000. As there are 52 weeks in a year and 78 weeks over 18 months it would mean you and your partner would need to put away $282 per week or $141 per person per week for the next 78 weeks.

We tell couples to make sure everything is paid off 2 to 4 weeks prior to your wedding as suppliers are in general paid prior to the wedding. As general advice you may wish to put away any extra funds into your wedding savings account (ie. Tax Returns, Bonuses, Gifts etc) so that should anything happen you always have that buffer in place.

Where To Put Your Money

Once you have worked out your weekly wedding budget, you need to put that money into an account. Choose an account that you both have access to and can clearly see the income and expenditure of said account.

We recommend that our clients open a high interest savings account with no monthly fees so you don’t have to worry about account keeping fees and the bonus interest can come in handy.

Never Assume Your Relatives Will Pay For Your Wedding

Most parents will help their children with their wedding one way or another. Many couples we meet say that their parents will either pay for their entire wedding or part of it. But by the time the wedding comes their parents have given a lot less than they had hoped. While people have good intentions, parents can assume weddings would be cheaper (base on their past experiences) or due to other personal expenses may not be able to assist as much as they original thought.

This also includes expecting money from people for your engagement party or wedding. While many people do give money as a gift, never assume you will get a certain amount. This can lead to disappointment.

Unless your family has already given your money (i.e. for your engagement) do not budget in anticipation of the money. Do not lower your weekly contributions unless the money has already hit your account. By not assuming, you will have 2 positive benefits. Firstly, no expectations of others and secondly, any extra money given to you can go towards another expense like some extra things for your wedding that you thought of as “nice additions” or towards your honeymoon, house deposit and so on.

Another advantage of you and your partner saving together is that it gets you used to living on a budget and also used to putting some money away each week/ month. If your next big expense will be buying a property, saving for your new family or a major holiday, this method already gets you into the mindset of saving.

Final Thoughts

There is a saying which I personally hate which is “I can’t afford the wedding of my dreams”. The simple truth for the majority of people is that they don’t have a realistic budget. Sometimes its due to not giving yourselves enough time to save enough money. If you want the wedding of your dreams and you believe your are going to come up short then push your wedding back by 6 months or a year. Sit down and take time in working out a  wedding budget and time frame you and your partner can manage. It’s completely within your control.

  • Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a financial institution. The information provided is practical advice we have provided to our clients as a general guide.

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Emilie Hunt
askemilie@pinkcaviar.com.au

Emilie completed her studies in Events at Tafe alongside her wedding planner certification back in 2013. With a passion for events and being in the unusual situation where she was at one point the living embodiment of the movie 27 Dresses. After being a bridesmaid countless times, Emilie found she had flair and a passion for weddings, shortly after she started working at Pink Caviar Events.