18 Tips on how to Budget and save Money on your Dream Wedding
Most people have been dreaming of their perfect wedding day for most of their lives. It’s a life event that we learn about from a very young age and as such, a lot of us have a vision of what our wedding day will look like one day. When the time arrives though, and it’s time to begin planning and booking your wedding, the big bad budget comes into play.
According to WeddingsOnline.ie, the average Irish wedding budget as of January 2020, was approximately €29,624.
While this might seem like a lot, this amount does indeed paint a realistic picture of getting married in Ireland and whether you choose to go above or below this amount will depend on your own personal circumstances.
But fear not, no matter what your budget will be, there are many ways to make really great savings on your wedding and they can be found throughout all stages of the planning process. In this blog post, I want to take you through 18 ways you can stay on track with your budget, make some savings along the way and STILL have the day of your dreams. Here are my top 18 expert tips on how to budget and save money on your dream wedding.
The Wedding Budget
Before we get into the money saving tips, I wanted to list some important factors that you need to consider when planning and mapping out your wedding budget. This is a huge first step in the planning of a wedding and rightly so, as it will help to determine and guide everything that follows.
- Firstly, be sure to have an honest chat with your partner about what you can afford. It is incredibly important that you try and pin point from the beginning what is a realistic sum that you can allocate to your wedding. Be strict with yourselves and start saving into a wedding account every week or month.
- Identify what contributions, if any are coming from family members. Often, a member of your family might want to contribute something to your wedding day. If this has been mentioned to you, try to get an idea of what they are giving you early on in your planning so that you can factor that into your costs and savings.
- Shave 10-15% off your budget. When you have an idea of your budget including any potential contributions, a good piece of advice is to shave 10-15% off. If you tend to be an over spender, go for 15% reduction in your overall budget. This is to allow for overspending that may occur throughout the planning process.
- Create a rough estimate of the size of your guest list early on, as this will influence the majority of your budget. You don’t need to write your guest list until a later date but do determine what size of wedding you would like to have. Approximately 50% of your total wedding budget will go on your wedding venue so knowing what size of wedding you are planning to have is crucially important in the budget planning stages.
- Get listing and compare your estimate costs to your available budget. Do they match up and if not, what can you change, what are you willing to compromise on? When you have an idea of what you can afford, what’s being given by family and the estimate of your wedding size. Write down and compare your cost estimates with what you have available budget wise. Lose or cut what you cannot afford. This can be a hard task but it is needed and of course, if you do need to drop something you wanted to include, making savings somewhere else at a later date might mean you can add it back in. For example, those dreamy fairy light curtains!
- Embrace Excel because spreadsheets are about to become your best friend! I cannot express how important a wedding budget spreadsheet is. Take note of your savings, the costs of your suppliers, what has been paid off and what is left over. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be very simple but please do set one up. It will make everything less stressful as the day draws near and the bills need to be paid. Check on it regularly and keep it updated consistently.
- Prioritise from the start where you want the majority of your money to go and have everything else as your secondary essentials. Typically, most people place their venue, photographer and band as their most essential elements of the wedding and choosing these non-negotiables early on is important as they will determine where the majority of your budget will go. When you are planning your budget, mark your top three costs and go from there.
- Don’t forget to consider hidden fees. Its easy to go over budget and it probably will happen at some point, so to ensure your overspending stays to a minimum, it is worth adding a miscellaneous line to your budget spreadsheet to cover any hidden costs that may arise. Common ones that are often overlooked early on in budget planning are church fees, vendor tips, marriage certificate etc. so be sure to add those in.
Wedding Saving Tips
While your budget is a must discuss with your partner, you don’t have to let it hold you back on the wedding of your dreams. There are many things you can do to save money and still have the wedding you have always dreamed about. Here are my top 10 expert tips on how to save money on your wedding.
1. Timing is everything
While a July wedding is divine for many reasons, if you want to make the biggest saving on your dream wedding, look to other months and alternative days of the week in order to lower the cost of your wedding – #MIDWEEKWEDDING
If you would love to get married in June, why not look at May dates, or if you would love to get married in August, check out September dates. By moving your wedding ever so slightly, you really can make huge savings. It is also important not to shy away from alternative days of the week outside of Friday’s and Saturdays. Mondays, Thursdays #midweek are a popular, lower cost alternative as are Sundays. A bride of mine had wanted to get married in May, she always had her heart set on it but by moving her date two weeks earlier into April, she saved a few thousand euros on her hotel. If you are flexible with your timing, you are off to a fantastic start on making those savings count on your dream big day.
2. Guest list revision
Another way to make a huge saving on the overall cost of your wedding is with your guest list. Irish weddings have typically been large affairs but I have been to many smaller weddings which are just as magical as those with hundreds of guests. Of course, with Covid19 at the moment, weddings are much smaller, but even as we plan for future weddings beyond our current reality, be really careful with your guest list. The weddings with the best atmosphere are those who have guests in attendance who the bride and groom have carefully hand-selected, who are an active part of their lives.
If you can, do avoid inviting people to be polite or to keep your parents happy. It is your day after all. Stick to your gut on your guest list and choose wisely.
It will save you A LOT of money and result in a much nicer atmosphere on the day.
3. Get Busy – It’s time to DIY
Weddings require a lot of little things to add those magical touches to the day. Whether it is your invites, your table plan, mass booklets, a sweet table at the venue or even your own photo booth props, why not get busy and DIY! YouTube is packed full of thousands of easy step by step videos that can help guide you and if you need to feel inspired, Pinterest will provide you with even more ideas. Of course, simple searching through hashtags on Instagram might also give you access to some real-life wedding DIY Ideas too. And who knows, you may be more creative than you think!
4. Give yourselves time
Weddings are expensive, so I personally think it is important that you give yourself ample time to prepare and save. Having a short engagement can be so tempting when you’re caught up in the excitement of it all, but slowing down and giving yourself breathing space can really help with making savings in the long run. By booking your wedding for a year or two, or more away, you are giving yourself time not to jump into any expensive decisions on a whim and it also gives you the chance to seek out special offers, look at varying supplier options and become truly inspired by other weddings taking place. Time is your friend when it comes to being a savvy bride or groom.
5. Ditch the additionals
An easy way to reduce the cost of your wedding is getting rid of non-essential items that are often seen as must-haves or must-dos when it comes to weddings. Yes, I am talking about party favours! Most of the time, you can see the scattering of party favours left by guests on tables at a wedding. You are treating your guests to an amazing day and night of fun, with great food and music, so be assured that that in itself is a gift. Another option to reduce unnecessary costs is to avoid booking live music for the arrival reception at your hotel or venue. Most of the time, the venue will have a speaker system that can play ambient background music that will suit the day. Another great money saver is to avoid doing save the date cards and also RSVP cards. They aren’t necessary and will add on a substantial cost by increasing your stationery order. Save those euros towards your big-ticket items such as your venue, photographer and your band.
6. Fake a layer
Did you know you can get a fake tier added to your wedding cake!? This is a super wedding hack that most brides and grooms do not know about, but is done all of the time! If you dream of a four-tier cake for example, but you want to keep costs down, why not ask your cake maker to add a fake tier. Your cake will still look amazing and your guests will be none the wiser. Wedding cakes are often very expensive so if you have a family member or friend who likes to bake and has a talent for it, why not ask them to do your wedding cake!
7.Buy a round of drinks for everyone!
A really nice tradition at weddings is to supply some drinks for your guests. Traditionally this was done by having wine at each table during the meal, but this can actually be a HUGE cost for the bride and groom. Corkage is also not offered at every venue and so it is a common occurrence for brides and grooms to wonder how to offer some beverages at a lower cost. The answer? Buy everyone at dinner a round of drinks! Not only does this save you money, it gives everyone the chance to enjoy their favourite beverage as not everyone actually likes wine. And while you may think this will work out more expensive, it is actually a lot cheaper than keeping the wine flowing. Be sure to advise your hotel/venue staff to not allow doubles though! You will always get one or two of those extra cheeky guests trying to get as much as they can!
8. Seek out the specials
It pays to be savvy and being really aware of where and how to find special offers can save you a lot of money. Many brides are now opting to buy wedding dresses from the high street, grooms are choosing to rent their suits and wedding shoes are often got in high street stores also. Aside from saving on your all-important attire, wedding fairs in hotels and venues are often free of charge and they will have vendors present who may offer you lower rates for booking with them on the day, so why not take advantage of these savings! The majority of wedding fairs are taking place virtually at the moment so do keep an eye out on what events your venue might have coming up. There are also savings to be found on websites and social media so by being aware and checking in with your suppliers online often, who knows what savings you can find and enjoy!
9. Winner winner, it’s time for dinner savings!
Did you know that you can make savings when you choose your wedding meal? To make a huge saving upfront, why not consider alternative dining options such as a buffet or family-style dinner. This informal dining trend is getting more popular every year as it is often a lot more cost-effective than a formal meal. However, if you prefer to have a traditional sit-down, formal meal, you can make savings also. Pay close attention to your menu options and if you can, reduce the choice options available to guests. Having a main course choice is often very important, but perhaps for your starter or dessert, just offer one option for each and this will help to keep the costs down. Also note on the sample menu that some starters, mains and deserts might be cheaper than others, so don’t be afraid to choose the lower price option. It will be delicious regardless!
10. Honeymoon on a Budget
While we can’t travel right now, hopefully very soon we can and so it is important to keep thinking about and planning your dream honeymoon. Traditionally, honeymoons are seen as a huge wedding expense, but you don’t need to fly first class and stay in a luxury penthouse to have a really special trip. In fact, if you are savvy, you can easily have a 5* luxury experience for quite a low cost, if that is what you choose to do. Whether a safari adventure or an all-inclusive cruise is your cup of tea, if you are smart, you can really grab a bargain. For honeymoon savings, it is important that you do your homework, plan for off-peak seasons and be flexible with your dates because by moving your trip by a day or two, you can sometimes, literally save hundreds of euros. Using a travel agent is often advised as well as they can do all of this hard work for you. Another great way to reduce the cost of your honeymoon for yourselves would be to set up a honeymoon savings club and ask your guests to contribute to it as your wedding present. Many travel agents now offer this service and it will surely bring your overall budget down by having their contributions!
So, there you have it, how to budget and make fantastic savings throughout your wedding planning process. Have you got top tips of your own? Be sure to share them with me below.
And last: Photo, Video and Wedding Albums
- Remember those will stay with you FOREVER! Cutting corners always cost problems.
- Don’t regret your decision after the wedding when is too late – save and book someone who you can deliver great quality photos and video… – more tips: PRICE FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN IRELAND