Creating (and sticking to!) a budget can be one of the hardest things about planning a wedding. Your wedding budget will essentially impact every single decision you make, from your guest list and chosen suppliers right down to your florals. This can mean a lot of pressure and responsibility to get it right!
We see many brides struggling with wedding budget woes, and from our experience there seem to be a few common (but easily fixed) mistakes that have the ability to cause stress, panic and overwhelm. From hidden fees to impulse buying and lack of research, keep reading for 8 wedding budget mistakes to avoid, and our top tips on what you should be doing instead!
Creating Estimates Without Doing the Research
When sitting down to create your wedding budget, it’s recommended to create estimates for each element of the wedding. From the venue hire fee to your on-the-day coordinator, it definitely helps to have a rough idea of the costs for each supplier. But creating these figures without doing the research first is a huge mistake, as you could be totally underestimating the actual costs involved – leading to a whole lot of stress when the quotes actually come in.
Instead: Before creating any kind of supplier estimates, make sure you undertake some local research to ensure your costings are accurate. Source a ballpark figure for the services of each supplier you might need for your day. Knowing the costs for 2-3 suppliers from each category will help you come up with a more realistic figure, which in turn will create a more realistic budget.
Not Controlling the Guest List
Your wedding budget is totally dependant on your guest list. Each individual guest equates to an additional cost when it comes to food, drink, and equipment hire. So it goes without saying that creating your budget before finalising your guest list is a crucial mistake! The costs for a 70 pax wedding are completely different to the costs of a 90 pax wedding – the numbers really do add up.
Failing to actually control your guest list in the lead up to your day is another mistake that can easily be avoided. Once your invitations have been sent, you might receive requests from guests to bring plus ones, relatives or children. Although we all love to accommodate people, saying yes to these last-minute requests simply because you feel obliged will completely throw out your budget!
Instead: Follow our tips to creating your wedding guest list, and then stick to it! Don’t feel pressured to invite people who no longer play a role in your life, distant relatives, or plus ones if you simply can’t afford it. Your day, your way!
Not Budgeting for Miscellaneous Expenses
Ask any recently married couple if they had any unexpected expenses to deal with for their wedding, and the answer will be a resounding yes! Additional fees will undoubtedly wriggle their way into your budget, from after-hours pack down fees and rubbish removal costs to something as simple as postage. It might only be an additional $10 or $50 here and there, but these numbers can really take a chunk out of your budget without preparing for them.
Instead: Put at least 5% of your budget aside for any miscellaneous costs that might be incurred during your wedding planning. This should be enough to cover a handful of those unavoidable smaller expenses without digging into the rest of your budget. And if you don’t end up using it all, put the extra money into your honeymoon fund – it’s a win-win!
You should also get into the habit of asking suppliers upfront what additional costs you might be up for. This could be things like cleaning fees, damage waivers, storage or penalty rates. Most suppliers will be totally transparent with their pricing and are happy to let you know what extra costs you might need to be aware of.
It can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding planning without stopping to think about your vision for the day. Many couples will start working their way through their checklist of booking suppliers and making purchases in no particular order, without actually delegating their budget according to priority. This can mean having to make sacrifices at a later stage when you realise you can’t afford that live band you’ve had your heart set on, or the cocktail station you were so excited about.
Instead: Take some time to sit down with your partner and create a priority list for your wedding day, working through each element in order of most important to least important. If you’re struggling to narrow down your priorities, our tips on how to define your wedding vision is a great place to start. Make sure to download the free worksheet too!
Booking Multiple Suppliers
Each wedding supplier will have their own individual costs that cover their transport to and from the venue, and any labour involved in setting up or packing down. So the more suppliers you choose to work with, the more these costs will add up. Booking multiple suppliers instead of streamlining the work can be a seriously costly exercise, with many of your funds going towards travel, transport and labour.
Instead: Think about how you might be able to streamline the number of suppliers involved in your day. Furniture and decor hire is a great example – instead of hiring chairs and tables from company X, centrepieces from company Y, and linen from company Z, try to organise all of your requirements from the one supplier. This means you’ll only be paying one delivery and one pickup fee, instead of three.
Some suppliers might specialise in more than one thing. If your marquee supplier can also provide lighting, take advantage of this instead of organising something separately. Or if your cake designer can also take care of the desserts, utilise them for both elements. The bonus of streamlining your suppliers is that it also means less communication on your end – saving you time in the process.
We’ve all been there – you see something, you love it, you have to have it, and you buy it immediately without a second thought. Fast forward a couple of weeks and you realise you don’t actually need it or you’ve completely lost interest in it. The same thing can happen when it comes to wedding planning, and these impulse purchases can be hard to justify if you haven’t covered them in your budget!
Instead: Before making any purchases for your wedding – from guest favours to decor pieces and even your dress, stop for a moment and try to identify whether this is an impulse buy. Sit with it for a week or two before making a final decision. This should give you enough time to gauge whether the purchase is a want or a need, and you can then tailor your budget to allow for it.
Not Tracking Expenses
Believe it or not, setting your budget can be the easy part. Managing your budget is usually a completely different story!
With so many payments coming out at different intervals, it can be really hard to keep up with your expenses. Most suppliers will take a deposit upfront, with the remainder due prior to the day. Without tracking what’s due and when, you might find yourself in a state of panic as the final invoices are sent through closer to the date – after you’d completely forgotten about them!
Instead: Come up with a system for tracking all of your expenses in the lead up to your day. Deposit payments, final payments, interval payments – make sure you have a clear due date for each financial transaction. If it helps, consider using an online budgeting tool through a platform like WedSites that will send you automated reminders to ensure you stay on track.
Not Being Flexible
Maybe you have a certain flower variety in mind for your bouquet, or a certain wine that you want to serve at the reception. It’s great to have a defined wedding vision and a clear idea of how you want the day to run, but don’t get stuck in the trap of being inflexible. Because if it turns out that something is unavailable, out of season, or simply too expensive – it’s just not going to work within your budget. And trying to make it work can be a costly and time-consuming exercise!
Instead: Be okay with changing your plans and being flexible. You might not be able to source that exact wedding dress, that exact flower or those exact bridal robes as the ones you found on Pinterest, but there will be plenty of amazing alternatives available for you to fall back on! After all, your wedding is a day to celebrate the love between you and your partner – so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Your Day, Your Way
Wedding budget woes can be stressful and overwhelming for any bride-to-be, but if you take the time to do your research, prioritise, and stay organised, you’ll find it much easier to tackle those wedding day finances.
Remember, your wedding day is one of the most special days of your entire life – you don’t want to spend your honeymoon dealing with last minute invoices or recovering from debt! From tracking your expenses to controlling your guest list, simply keep these 8 common mistakes in mind and follow our helpful tips to ensure smooth sailing in the lead up to your wedding.
And if you could use a bit of help creating and managing your wedding related expenses, start using our wedding budget calculator to get the ball rolling!