Setting a budget is a crucial part of planning your wedding although probably the least exciting. Of course it would be lovely to have a limitless fund for your big day but couples in that situation are a rare species, and overspending is stressful regardless of whether you have £5,000 to spend or £50,000, so here’s some tips to help you nail that budget.


Chances are you won’t have planned a wedding before so begin by getting a sense of what the main elements cost - most bridal magazines have an average budget guide to get you started. These don’t take into account regional price differences though so be sure to call a few local suppliers too. It pays to shop around as most things will have a less costly equivalent, but remember that cheapest doesn’t always mean best so ask recently-wed friends or relatives for their recommendations as well.


The tradition of the bride’s family or more specifically her father picking up the wedding tab is long gone - most couples today pay for the majority themselves, with one or both set of parents helping out. You can’t presume that they will though, so be sure to sit down early on and have an open but polite conversation with them about it. Rather than expecting them to offer up a blank chequebook, ask them to contribute to an element of the wedding, such as the photography or flowers. This helps you to construct your budget and them to understand what their money is being spent on. It also makes it easier to thank them and gives a clear steer of where in the planning process they can play a more active role.


Yes talking about money is far more boring than spending it, but it’s vital if you want to avoid starting married life with a huge debt hanging round your neck. Take your researched costs & deduct any family contributions or savings you already have. Divide the remainder across the number of months before your wedding and you’ll be able to see clearly the amount you’ll need to put aside to be able to afford your big day – if you don’t like what you see then consider trimming the budget or pushing your date back to make that monthly amount more palatable.


The majority of your budget will probably go on your venue but beyond that, figure out what’s most important to you and your partner. For some it may be the photography and the cake, for others the flowers and the reception music. Get quotes for your prioritised items early – if you go slightly over then you can make up the shortfall on things that you’ve decided are less important.


It’s vital to have a contingency fund in case you overspend, forget something, or need to allow for unexpected costs such as delivery charges. 10-15% is usually enough and if you don’t dip into it then you’ll have a bit of extra cash to put back into the bank (or towards your honeymoon spending money!)

Finally if you are looking to trim your budget here’s some ways to do so…

The guest list // Naturally the number of people you invite will impact your budget particularly if you’re planning to serve a formal sit-down wedding breakfast. It’s tough to do but setting rules such as no plus-ones for single guests, work-mates being invited to just the evening celebration or even an adults-only guest list are all great ways to help keep the numbers under control.

The date // If you’re on a tight budget, avoid peak wedding season (May to December) & key holidays such as Easter. Saturdays remain the most popular day of the week to marry and therefore have a higher price tag, although Fridays and Sundays are becoming more popular and therefore dearer too. Be bold and go for a mid-week wedding if you want to save – with enough notice to book time off work it’s still possible for everyone you want be there to attend.

The time // Marry later in the day so you can go straight from the ceremony into a glamorous evening reception. That way you’ll save on hefty catering costs by only needing to feed your guests once.

The location // Have your ceremony and reception in the same venue to cut down on decoration and transport costs. Similarly avoid venues that are a complete blank canvas - it will take a lot more money to make it look fit for your big day than somewhere that already has a bit of styling or character to it.

The dress // Hit the sample sales where dresses can be often be snapped up for around 70% of the retail price. Do your research beforehand to figure out your size and what styles suit you. Dresses are likely to be sold as seen so check for faults & factor in the costs of repairs, cleaning or alterations to make sure you’re still getting a good discount.

The flowers // Opting for seasonal flowers is a sure fire way to save but why not also re-use your flowers throughout the day. Pew ends from the church can double up as reception decor or why not use your table settings as thank you gifts.

The catering // Offer up canap├ęs in place of a starter or use your cake as dessert – there’s nothing more heart-breaking then ordering a beautiful wedding cake only for it go untouched because guests are too stuffed from the 3-course meal.

Rachael x
Serendipity Weddings