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What Does A Wedding Budget Include

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  • 11-07-2022
What Does A Wedding Budget Include

When planning a wedding you may ask: what does a wedding budget include? We look at how to allocate your wedding budget and include a wedding budget checklist.

How To Allocate Your Wedding Budget

The cost of a wedding isn't cheap; we all know that. When it comes to planning your dream wedding, you want to save money without losing your vision for the special day.

The average amount spent by married couples on their wedding day is £17,000 and upward, with the overall wedding budget being much higher than that in most cases. Determining your wedding budget as early as possible is one of the most essential parts of wedding planning.

Your money will go toward all guests, the venue, music, DJs, wedding dresses, catering teams, flowers, bridesmaids' dresses, suits, honeymoons, and everything in between. Set aside a realistic amount for each aspect, or hire a wedding planner to help with your spending.

For the ultimate wedding budget checklist, this article will go over all you need when keeping track of wedding costs. 

Important Things A Bride Must Not Forget For Their Wedding

Realistic Budget Breakdown

Before reaching the wedding budget checklist, let's analyse a realistic wedding budget breakdown.

Ironically, most of your wedding spending will go toward the guest list, which is why many people save money by minimising their cost per head. The reception venue, catering costs and any wedding videographer or photographer will be your most significant expenses.

Your guests must be fed and kept dry and warm, so the wedding venue is as much for their pleasure as yours. Your total budget must also accommodate wedding flowers, wedding cake, music, DJ, any photo booths or other entertainment and much more.

Some additional wedding expenses can be:

  1. Wedding Stationery
  2. Wedding Breakfast
  3. Wedding Rings
  4. Wedding Invitations
  5. Wedding Dress Cleaning 
What Does A Wedding Budget Include?

The total cost will differ for each wedding party, with the ceremony venue typically being the most expensive. Unexpected costs will arise, so having an emergency fund is a good idea, but you can save yourself wedding money by perhaps cutting back on one of the following factors. 

Wedding Budget Checklist

Whether you've paid for wedding planners to help you with your big day or not, you should know the wedding checklist to follow.

This is, of course, a guideline, and everything can be adapted to your unique wedding ceremony. You should use this list to establish a rough budget at the very start of the planning process. 

One of the most exciting parts of getting married is picking your dream venue for the wedding ceremony and reception. However, a large portion of your overall budget will go toward the venue, with many couples spending between £4000-£5000 on it.

This is a realistic figure for many, but, of course, you can find yourself spending much more or much less. The venue must accommodate both the bride's family and the groom's family, ensuring sufficient room for food and drink and a dance floor, as many couples want that as a minimum.

Many venues require you to pay costs upfront also, meaning this sum of money can be spent months before the wedding day. 

The amount of money you spend on food and drink or on a catering team depends heavily on the number of guests you invite.

This means if you want to cut costs, you can minimise the guests you have at your evening reception or dinner. Catering teams will typically pay per head, meaning you can easily pay up to £5000 on catering alone.

To save money some more without cutting guests from dinner, consider using a food van or buffet, as that can typically be easier and cheaper to manage. An open bar may be appealing to you, but this means none of your guests are paying for their own drinks - which can help you save money overall.

While it may seem appealing to let your guests be passed hors d'oeuvres as they enter, especially during cocktail hour, this can raise the price significantly. 

You will want to set aside at least £1000 - £2000 for photography and videography at your wedding, with some couples choosing to hire them from the engagement party onward.

Your wedding is a special day, and you will regret not having professional coverage of the day. While impromptu photos from your family are just as special, you will want some professionally-taken photos. 

To avoid spending a fortune on your wedding transport, it takes planning. Your wedding breakfast and accommodation shouldn't be too far from your ceremony venue and reception venue, especially if you are using expensive means of transport.

Your guests typically won't expect you to pay for their transportation, but it's commonplace for the bridal party (bridesmaids and maid of honour) to receive transport, along with the groom and groomsmen.

Your transport budget can vary between £300-£900, sometimes surpassing a grand. 

Flowers are beautiful options for your wedding, creating a stunning atmosphere when your guests simply enter. However, flowers are not free and will cost a reasonable figure.

If you are determined to buy bouquets and create show-stopping floral decorations, you can spend a lot more. To cut costs, consider purchasing seasonal flowers as they will be much cheaper and provide a great aesthetic.

Wedding flowers can easily cost £700 when you go all-out. 

Not all venues will include furniture and decorations, meaning you have to fork out some additional money to cover it. This can range from marquees to the seats your guests will sit on.

You may have to hire this from the venue at an additional cost, from the caterers or from a third party. If you can, you will save yourself time and money by investing in an all-inclusive package from the venue, meaning the decorations are provided for you. 

Regardless, you can expect to spend no less than £500 on decorations and hire. 

No matter what, most people want a wedding cake. Having a moment of cake cutting with your new husband or wife is one of the dreams for many people, but investing in wedding cakes can be expensive (up to £500!).

You must decide with your partner what type of cake you want and the number of tiers you will have. These two factors will drastically change the overall price of the cake.

If you wish to have a sponge with fresh fruit, you will need to prepare this the night before, which can be more expensive than another alternative. Remember, more cake means more money, so perhaps keeping it smaller but striking is the way to go. 

Nobody wants a wedding without entertainment and music, whether a live band, DJ or something in between. As for entertainment, you may consider getting a photo booth or a tribute act.

Unless you know someone who personally plays in a live band, you will always pay more than a DJ. A DJ can play multiple tracks from different tracks, helping keep the tone consistent throughout the night.

Ultimately, you and your partner must decide on the style of music you're looking for and what will make your day special, but you can easily pay £1000 for live music in some cases, especially for the entire night.

Wedding bands can be expensive to hire but worthwhile if they matter to you. 

No matter how hard you try, you will spend closer to £1000 - £2000 on your wedding dress, perhaps even more. Many couples do choose not to buy new and inherit a family member's dress, helping them save money as they enter married life.

However, the wedding dress will be one of the main attractions of the day, meaning some people are more willing to spend extra costs on it than others. Do what feels right for you. 

Buying good and comfortable shoes for your wedding is crucial. Some brides may believe they can spend the entire day in stiletto heels, but when it comes to taking the dance floor or even just the fourth hour of the event, you may reconsider that.

At your rehearsal dinner, perhaps wear your wedding shoes for a period and see how you fare. If you can't make it beyond the second hour, consider bringing two pairs for you to wear, giving you more freedom. 

Often overlooked but crucially important, the wedding stationery can cost you between £200 - £500 depending on your headcount.

Formal invitations, save the dates cards, and table place cards are the most important, so you should always put money aside for those. 

Don't forget that the groom's dress desires are equal to the bride's, meaning they must be happy with what they're wearing.

Many grooms choose to match with the ushers and groomsmen, but this doesn't have to be the case if you don't want to buy additional suits. As long as everyone is happy with what they're wearing, you can find yourself spending as little as £800. 

As hair and makeup can take hours on the morning of the wedding, you should invest in pre-wedding beauty treatments and hair trials to ensure the final result is as perfect as envisioned.

Many hair and makeup artists can help transform the bride into the princess she wants to be, but it's crucial you nail this timing as many artists will charge overtime fees.

When it comes to choosing a wedding ring, you must allocate at least £1000 to it for both parties.

You will wear these rings for the foreseeable future, symbolising your commitment and love for one another. The size, design and metal will all affect the overall cost, so start planning earlier rather than later. 

Although not particularly romantic, paying the wedding registry fees is crucial if you want to be legally married.

You can expect to pay around £300 for this, with some couples forgetting and having to dip into their contingency fund. 

There are some couples who want to give their guests party gifts as a way of saying thank you for attending.

This can, of course, raise the overall budget significantly. £600 - £700 will be your expected ballpark if you choose to give each guest a present. This isn't expected as the guests will consider being invited a gift in of itself.  

How To Plan A Wedding Budget

With a full breakdown of what you could have at your wedding, it's important to understand how to plan a wedding budget and where you can spend your money. 

Can Anyone Else Help Contribute?

Once upon a time, the bride's family would have paid for the wedding. That is no longer customary, and you can appear presumptuous to ask.

If you do have family or friends willing to contribute, you should take them up on that offer because it can make the difference between having the sound system you want and the room not being able to hear the music.

Ask parents on both sides of the family, as many will be happy to help where they can. 

Create A Rough Guest List

Deciding who should attend your wedding can be an awkward conversation. It's common for your family and friends to come, but where you stand on colleagues and plus-ones can drastically affect the overall cost.

If you choose to host a small wedding, you can spend less money, but you have the potential to offend people by not inviting them. For guest lists of 20-50 people, you can look for smaller venues, making the entire day cheaper. 

Set Aside 10-15% Of Your Budget

There are always going to be unexpected costs and problems that arise. If you need a last-minute taxi or additional drinks, you will want to know that you have some emergency funds available.

Always put a minimum of 10% of your overall budget aside and try to carry cash with you on the day, as you never know what may happen. 

Block Out Your Biggest Costs

Note down and organise your biggest costs first, as these are typically the most expensive and the most important.

Your wedding venue, transportation, catering, dresses and suits will require the most planning and money, with many requiring a deposit months in advance. The sooner you plan these, the smoother the overall process will become. 

Our final tips for planning weddings are to take a deep breath and remain organised as best you can. Make a spreadsheet of all costs and everything you want. Remember that there is no 'average wedding' and couples can choose what they want at their wedding. Make a note of all transportation costs, venue costs, and service fees to avoid spending more than you can afford and going into debt. 

If you are planning a wedding in Essex or the surrounding areas, we provide horse drawn carriages for just such occasions. 

We offer horse and carriage wedding services in Essex and London. Visit our site to book your wedding transport hire.