Reality Bites: That Wedding Budget!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A wedding, just like with all investments, buying a house or a car has to be well planned for. This means going for a realistic and within your means budget {I'm not playing!}. Even though most parents will commit a lot of if not all the funds to the wedding bill, it is savvy to make the funds work for you and not the other way round!

You need to set your expectations according to your budget early on.  I've had brides who wanted to use a specific hall but their parents either couldn't afford it or prefer to use a more scaled down version. After  lots of tantrums and tears, most brides eventually come round to the idea of making the very best of the  reception venue they do get or put on their 'big girl pants' and make up the difference.  This is why I always, always ask brides very early in the consultation process, what the most important areas of the wedding are to them (the non-negotiables!).  For some it's the photography, others the music and yet others, the bridal train's style. Whatever is nonnegotiable to you must be within your budget, no point going broke or into debt so early on.

Anything and everything wedding related that you plan to purchase or have purchased don't count it out; include everything, esp. that cute little notebook you bought to put all your ideas and plans in. Also, you want to give yourself a cushion of about 5% of your actual wedding budget. This allows for adjustments to be made especially if one aspect is so important to you that you go over budget for it. It also means if you had to ask for some money and you asked for slightly more than you needed, you don't have ask again a second time if something urgent pops up (devious, we know!!!).

To get a general idea of all that is involved with planning a wedding, you should be aware of the (basic) categories and their rule -of –thumb percentages:

Reception: 48%-50% (includes hall rental and catering)
Ceremony: 2%-3%
Attire: 8%-10%
Flowers: 8%-10%
Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
Stationery: 2%-3%
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
Transportation: 2%-3%
Favours/Gifts: 2%-3%
Miscellaneous: 8%

I didn't include the traditional engagement as I feel that is an entirely different occasion which deserves its own budget. I'll blog on budgeting for a traditional African engagement and the 'settling the MC' bill.

I've found this great tool to assist you in calculating your budget for your wedding.There are lots of sample templates on the web but this was my far the simplest and most functional I found.
The template also contains Guest list and Contact list worksheets as well as Wedding Checklist in order for you to be prepared for the best day. If you don't feel like downloading the template, here's a  printable version of the budget spreadsheet. What could be easier?

ps  I know you probably already know about the importance of drawing up a budget but hopefully this makes it even easier. 
Happy budgeting! 


Ronke,  1 September 2010 at 16:12  

I certain agree with you on the issue of building your wedding plans on promised cash. E don do me sha and I was just lucky to have ahd a backup.

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