Having a wedding budget
It is super important to have a wedding budget as without it there is nothing we can recommend, as apart from everything else for example number of people, ceremony type etc, knowing your wedding budget is pretty relevant. It is a little like buying a house. You have a budget and you look at houses within your budget, so why is it so difficult to have a budget for your wedding which should be high on the list of importance.
Make sure that your budget is a realistic one at that. No offence is meant, but if you have a specific requirement for a Venetian Palazzo with frescoes by Giordano on the banks of the Grand Canal, where you want orchids as your table display, caviar served with your aperitifs and a 6-course meal with wines and champagne, then when asked what budget you have, you come back with £ 10,000 based on 150 persons, this is what I call unrealistic. (Slight exaggeration on my part, I am sorry but just want to try and get the point across). We do not insist on you having a George Clooney or Justin Timberlake-type budget, but do think about your budget and decide where you would like to spend it. Italy is not a cheap destination as many think, its offer ranges from mid to high. I blame the many celebrity weddings which have taken place here which have contributed to the increase in the overall costs. That is not to say that Italy is not worth it, it just means that you need to be aware of it and if your budget is low, it may be best to look at other destinations or have the wedding at home, or, just elope.
Traditonally the bride's parents used to pay, with the honeymoon paid by the groom and his family, however nowadays couples pay for their own wedding, either because they can or because they prefer to be in control. When you do however start thinking of getting married and budgets, it may be a good idea to arrange a night out for dinner with parents and see how much they are willing to contribute, if anything. It is better to get this sorted before you start thinking of venues, flowers etc. The other thing to bear in mind is if parents insist on you inviting their friends as it is essential because they have known them for ages and you have not, it is only right then that there should be a small contribution on their side. Also at this point it is very important to be very clear re: your expectations so that there is clarity and no need for any future disagreements.
Other questions we have been asked is "Do we pay for our guests?" well if your budget allows then you could do but the usual trend is for your guests to pay for their own flights and accommodation and getting to the venue. It is your responsibility to get the whole wedding day organised and (to show them a really good time)!
When you have decided on a budget and have the monies in hand (you know how much money is available), we suggest that you set up a wedding account a) for your parents to pay into b) for you both to pay into c) Instead of a wedding present you would like your guests to pay monies into your account OR you may want them to do this anyway as you are organising their accommodation.
Stick to your budget. We would like to repeat this over and over again, stick to your budget. Out of 100 couples, 101 exceed the budget, because as the preparations take hold, couples run away with ideas, decorations, flying out hairdressers and makeup artists, wanting gospel choirs, rock bands! We advise clients to think about their venue, rustic, formal, urban...... Some of the things you can do yourself to save money but remember that this is a day you do not want yourself or your guests to forget, so make your budget work for you, as it will not be remembered for its high expenditure but for the effect you have created. Also and this is important, remember that on top of this you have flights, accommodation, getting to the venue, wedding dress, suit for the groom and ushers, bridesmaid's dresses, lingerie, shoes, jewellery, rings.....the list goes on. The questions at this point that your wedding planner will want to know is, what is your budget for the wedding day only, so bear this in mind when providing the information. Your wedding planner does not know the cost of your dress or when you have booked your flights and the cost, all they want to know is what budget do you have available for the wedding. Do not give figures and say, well my budget is £ 20,000 but it has to cover brides, bridesmaids dresses, suit for the groom and ushers, flights, accommodation etc. How is your wedding planner meant to know what your budget will be. Only you will know the costs of the above.
Try not to put any financial strain on yourself. Trust your wedding planner to come up with solutions to any ideas you may have, if you feel that you are overspending. An idea we have been promoting for a while is, to add 10% onto your overall budget as this will allow for some movement.
You sometimes have your heart set on a specific venue or have read something or seen a property you love but the costs are far too dramatic for you, do not worry as there is just so much choice that you WILL find something that suits you, you just need to trust your wedding planner who should try to understand you and your dreams.
You will need to protect your budget so make sure that you take out adequate wedding insurance. Ensure that you read the small print and any questions ask, and get it confirmed in writing. It is important to protect yourself and of course your money.
Do not be blinded by all these celebrity weddings. I know that you can create the same effect (if not better) for so much less!
I really do hope this has helped you and any comments or feedback are warmly appreciated.