10 Budget Dos and Don'ts

Budgeting a grand event like a wedding isn’t quite as simple as trying to pay the minimal amount for every cost. Like any major event (and for some reason, a military coup keeps popping into my mind. I’ll leave that analysis to you.), it takes both strategic and tactical planning. We’ve come up with 10 fundamental rules to take care of both the long and short- term budget planning. Applying these should save you weeks of worry and stress, and leave you plenty more time to sip tea in your foxhole. Ahem- I meant in your home, of course!

1. Never even consider going into debt to pay for a wedding.

If you want a lavish affair, but only have the budget for a much smaller do, consider throwing an intimate ceremony and postponing the reception of your dreams until you can afford it (and hey, nobody will question an excuse to turn one party into two!)

2. Do charge your bills when you can pay the balance in full as each statement rolls in.

Credit card interest rates and finance charges can end up costing hundreds, or even thousands, even if you only carry a credit card debt for a couple of months.

As David Boyd from Credit Card Compare suggests, “Using a rewards credit card for wedding expenses means you can earn points that can be redeemed for flights and hotels, adding value back into your budget. Just ensure the card is paid off monthly to avoid interest charges.”

3. Don’t go over budget in one area unless you’re willing to cut projected costs in another area.

You can have significant budgetary leeway in a few areas, as long as the bottom line stays the same.

4. Do overestimate rather than underestimate!

This applies to everything from the number of guests you’ve invited to how much each bonbonniere will cost. Underestimating costs is the quickest sure- fire way to dig yourself into debt.

5. Never be afraid to negotiate.

Although this applies to just about every wedding vendor, venue managers tend to be the most flexible. For example, most venues have a set budget they need to fulfill by a particular date, which is of course influenced by how many guests you have. So if you offer to make the minimum amount of guests you invite higher, this could reduce your price per plate. Similarly, if youre set on a venue that is just beyond your budget, it’s worth telling your sales rep this and asking if it would be possible to subtract any extras, such as seat covers. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you have to be flexible with your expectations- even bargaining has its limits.

6. Do rent as much as possible.

They’ll perform the exact same function, and won’t pose the same storage problems that is put up with by millions for pure sentimentality (after all, what else are photos for?)

7. Don’t agree to any upgrades without first establishing if they cost extra.

This applies to items like fancy chair covers, table linens, cutlery and crockery, generally speaking. Better be safe than sorry, after all.

8. Do talk directly to your suppliers.

They’ll generally either be able to work within your budget, or recommend someone who can.

9. Don’t hesitate to shop around for everything.

Often vendors will lower their prices to match another’s quote!

10. Do your research about timing.

Venues charge a premium for Saturday nights, so you can save money by booking any other day of the week. Take into consideration factors like if the guests will have work the next day or if they’ll be tired from a long week. One great alternative to booking your wedding on a Saturday night is to book it on the Sunday of a long-weekend- this gives you all the benefits of a Saturday night, often at a fraction of the cost. Some venues, however, have realised that this can be used as a bit of a loophole, and charge more on Sunday nights on long-weekends than on any other weekend.

Similarly, consider booking in the ‘off’ season (normally during winter), as this will also save you enormous amounts on your venue budget.

Apply these tried-and-true, fail- safe methods to all possible aspects of wedding planning and you’ll find that not budging from your budget  is surprisingly easy!