My wedding in total cost roughly £13,500 which I believe is the bottom end of average here in the UK, and was largely thanks to the very kind support of my parents. Here's my wedding budget breakdown, showing where the money went on my wedding.
I didn't fancy a list of numbers, so I thought a pie chart might be a more fun way of sharing my costs and passing on the odd budgeting tip! (If you really want exact totals then I'll let you work them out.)
Here are a few points to consider about my particular break-down…
- “Venue” includes ceremony and reception room hire, an MC, a day-of coordinator, wedding night hotel room, three course dinner for 80-ish guests, evening buffet for 100-ish guests, a couple of glasses of wine for everyone and some sparkly stuff to toast with for everyone, explaining why it's such a big part of the pie!
- “Outfit” chunks include jewelry, shoes, undergarments and dress alterations. We went over on my outfit because the original budget only took into account the cost of the dress.
- Invites, place settings, centrepieces, seating chart and guestbook were all DIY projects, making them much cheaper than if I'd paid someone else to do it, and I'm planning on making some money back by selling the centrepieces at a car boot sale.
- “Party gifts” are presents for the bridal party and the mums.
- The cake was made by a friend, so the only costs were the Lego topper I made and some flowers to thank her.
- “Legal stuff” includes the registrar, registering our intent to marry and wedding insurance (£35, worth the money!)
My big tips for budgeting/money would be:
Research stuff before you set a budget. I just guessed what numbers felt right! I was about right in most areas except for the photographer. Having assumed we'd pay about £500 for what we wanted we were gutted to see that actually it would be more like £1200! Thankfully the photographer we went with was relatively new to wedding photography so his price reflected that and he also gave us a “mates rates” discount as he was the best man's brother.
If you're DIYing stationery, plan first, then buy. I went through a phase of just buying things (ribbon, rubber stamps, fancy papers etc.) that fit with my overall vision but didn't end up getting used in finished projects. I probably spent at least £50 on this unused stuff and I do wish I'd been more careful.
Splash out on hair and make up if you're feeling insecure. I did originally feel ashamed and vain of how much the up total was adding up to, but in retrospect it was totally worth it. I've felt ugly my whole life and am so averse to people looking at my face that I struggle with eye contact and I outright hate having my photo taken. On the day though I felt beautiful and had no trouble talking to everyone there and being the centre of attention for a change. I even didn't mind having my picture taken (well, not too much!).
Keep a really close eye on costs. It's nice to know what's going where and although we were over budget on some areas, we ended up quite a bit under in others, bringing me in at £500 below our maximum budget overall.
- Don't forget stamps!
- Fabric flowers turned out to be a big money saver, and they're a lovely keepsake.
- Seek out trade cash and carries (wholesale) for good discounts. Ebay is also your friend.
Anyone else want to show us the money and share their budget break-down?