A wedding will probably cost the happy couple and their parents more than they expect, even if they’re used to sticking to a budget.
There are so many things which have to be paid for!
I’ve put together some tips to help you keep control of your spending. Otherwise, you will start your life as a married couple with a financial hangover that it could take months or even years to recover from.
I can almost guarantee that your expenses will be more than you thought. It’s like a “Parkinson’s Law” for Weddings; instead of “work expands to fill the available time”, you get “expenses grow to swallow the available budget!”. Your Budget.
1] Decide what you must have, list what you would like to have and be ruthless about trimming what you can do without.
2] Never assume that anyone will give you some money or pay for a particular item or service. Ask them, if you feel that is appropriate. Otherwise, plan to cover it yourself.
3] Keep talking to everyone. Even when someone has committed to paying for something, keep in touch. Remember that people’s circumstances may change rapidly through an accident, a change in their employment, unexpected medical expenses or just a change in of their priorities. Keep in touch, and try to be as understanding as
possible if they cannot fulfill their promise.
4] Some people put conditions on their “help”. That might be to add more people to your already bulging guest list or to sing at the reception. You must decide with your partner how important the financial contribution is to your budget and whether you will accommodate the “request”, and possibly disappoint other people, gently insist that the help is unconditional or decline the gift.
5] You, or your parents, may consider getting a loan to cover some major wedding expenses. This is a personal decision which I can’t advise about.
I suggest that whoever is looking at this option, consider the longterm effects:
1) Will this extra burden put a strain on your other financial goals?
2) Will this debt put a strain on your relationship with each other or your parents as you start married life?.
3) Can you comfortably meet the repayments?
4) Have you compared loan options, read all the fine print and selected the best terms available?
5) How really important is the loan to making your wedding day a happy one.
Stick with Your Plan
It’s not unusual for people, especially the bride, to start thinking of alternatives to the previously agreed food, venue and other arrangements just a few weeks before the big day.
Please stick with the original plan unless there really are pressing concerns that make some change necessary.
Otherwise, you’ll have extra and probably un-necessary worry for your family and other guests as well as inflated expenses for yourself.
The service providers won’t mind because their contracts will provide for extra charges be added to your bill. They will usually be much more than you expect.
Get Family and Friends to Help
You may have the answer to reducing some major wedding expenses in your own, or a relative’s, back yard.
Ask them if they will provide their:
- Garden for the wedding or home for the reception
- Catering skill
- Transport for the bridal party on the wedding day, or to get fly-in guests to and from the airport.
You might suggest this as their gift for your wedding. Don’t forget to thank them publicly and privately.
Keep in touch with them so you will know if, for any reason, they cannot fulfill the commitment in time for you to make other arrangements.
Your female relatives and, maybe, close friends might have a gathering to produce food or decorations for the reception. That could be a great help for your budget and theirs if you do that instead of having another shower.
Some might be able and willing to provide flowers for the reception, church or bride and bridesmaids.
Some keen gardeners may not want to cut off the flowers and some of the foliage, especially if they are preparing for a Flower Show or just want to enjoy the flowers later themselves. Then, they might prefer to loan you the plants in pots.
Dollar Saving Decorations
If you and your friends are making some or all of your decorations, the two words to keep in mind are simple and strong. Then, if something is bent but not broken, it can probably be refurbished by willing but unskilled hands on the spot instead of having to be discarded.
Confetti is frowned on or completely banned at many venues because it becomes unsightly and can require serious effort to remove from clothing and the venues. Be sure to enquire before providing it.
Some people provide small bags of rice or seeds. The birds in the area would definitely be better off if you do not use rice. Use birdseed and the birds will happily do most of the clearing away for you.
Don’t be afraid to use quality fake plants for decorations, especially when real ones are hard to get or simply too expensive.
Balloons are an easy and inexpensive decoration accessory. Buy them in bulk packs rather than the small supermarket size for big savings.
Match the colors to your theme. Get a couple of plastic pumps – blowing them up by mouth can be exhausting and is now regarded as unhygienic by Doctors.
Warning: balloons should never be given to small children who are not well supervised and no-one should put a balloon near anyone’s face – there are people injured frequently, especially when a balloon breaks and a piece lodges in their eye. If a piece gets into a child’s throat, it can be fatal.
Dress up your simple and inexpensive decorations with a monogram using the bride and groom’s names or initials.
Select the lettering and font on your word processor, choose a large size and just print an outline on thin card. Then, cut out the letters to make your stencil(s).
If you have a lot of items to decorate, put some adhesive plastic, usually used to protect school book covers, over the cardboard before you cut out your stencils so that they will last the whole job.
Also, make some extra stencils so that you have enough without having to set up the computer again.
Ideas by Maureen Parnell