Today is all about sharing a few top budget tips to help make your budget go further without making any significant compromises.
It doesn’t matter if your budget is £100,000 or £10,000, we all want the best for our budget without compromising on quality. When you hire a wedding planner, we get to know you as couple and what is important to you both. We know where things need to be the best no matter what, and where changes could be made to still deliver the quality you expect but not stretching the budget as much.
There are venues for all budgets and styles. Even if you are looking for a marquee or outdoor structure, there are plenty of options. The key is to understand your budget, know the approx. number of guests and the style you want.
Do your research and make a few calls before arranging any visits. The last thing you want to do is visit somewhere, fall in love with it and then find it’s not suitable or outside your budget. Here are a couple of points to consider:
- Make sure you look at photographs that are taken by others and not for the purpose of showing the venue wherever possible. You could use Trip Adviser, visit Instagram and look where the venue has been tagged, check out Google pictures. The photographs on the website are not always a true reflection of the venue. In most cases they are. However, for some, the photographs do not do the venue justice and for others, they were taken after a refurbishment years ago when the place still looked brand new.
- Ask the venue what wedding style is the most popular there.
- Enquire to if they can offer venue hire only or bespoke packages.
- Understand your options when it comes to suppliers for that venue. Is it your choice or do you have to pick from a list?
Although they may not be top of your list, there are some beautiful town halls across the country. Not only are these great value, some have the option of you choosing your own caterer.
Food and Caterers
Budget doesn’t need to mean buffet (unless that’s what you want). When it comes to food, there are plenty of options when you are trying to keep costs down; especially if you don’t want a more formal experience. Here are a few choices:
- Consider having your canapes as the starter, your wedding cake as the dessert or both.
- Sharing platters are a great way to offer guests choice to what they want on their plate without having to pay for several different options on a set menu.
- Go for seasonal local food. If it’s in season, the cost will be at its best. Seasonal local food tends to taste a lot better and helps out local businesses too.
- Consider food vans or large pan dishes (like paella). This go down well with guests and keep costs down.
- Buffets and grazing tables are also an option to check out. Things have moved on from buffets being the basics to something more enticing and exciting.
- If you want a three, five or seven course sit down meal, why not consider having it later on and saying no to evening food? If you are not having extra evening guests, this can be a great option. Just make sure you have plenty of canapes and understand any health needs (i.e. diabetics that need food at set times).
Finding the best caterer for you is key. Make sure you have a tasting before booking and that they can cater for any specific needs you or your guests may have. If you are booking a venue that has a restaurant, go to that before making any enquiries. When you go for a tasting, they go out their way to make you feel loved (as you would expect). By going to the restaurant as a normal customer, you will get to see what the normal service and food is like on a busy day.
As you would expect, the more day guests, the more the cost. Review your guest list and make sure you are only inviting the people you want there for the day. Adding extra evening guests is a fraction of the cost of day guests (if you are not having a sit-down meal and dancing in the evening) so keep the day guests to close family and friends. If the budget is tight, think about not adding ‘plus one’ on the invitations. Do you know those plus ones? Would you day be complete without them? Remember, it is your wedding, your choice. A couple of good questions to ask yourself if you are unsure are:
- Where do I see the relationship in five years?
- When was the last time we spoke?
- Have I met this person?
- How disappointed would I be if they couldn’t attend?
- Do I want to include children?
- Do we both know this person or just one of us?
Time of Year
The date is an important factor and can play a big part in the cost of your wedding. Getting married on significant days (valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, World Cup Final, Christmas Day, etc.) all increase the cost. If you are happy to plan your wedding on short notice, there are some great late deals available at venues you may not normally be able to afford. I planned my wedding in six weeks, from deciding to get married to saying I do, so it is possible without having to make too many compromises (just consider your guests carefully as some may not be available on short notice).
Peak wedding season is more expensive as you would expect. They also get booked up years in advance For most venues, peak is between May and September along with December but do check as they can vary.
Mid-week weddings can be cheaper and give you a better choice of suppliers (the best ones can get booked up quickly for weekend weddings). If you go for this, be careful with the date. If most guests are parents with children at school, a school night is not always the best option.
The last item is something people don’t really think about and that is timelines. Although you may think that planning your wedding for 2-3 years means you have time to save up your money, in reality it gives you more opportunity to keep adding things that you may not have thought about.
If you want a ‘trendy’ wedding, trends change at least yearly so changes your ideas can occur more costs. Especially around decor and styles of suppliers.
It is better to sit to 12-18 months max. If the venue you want gets booked up quickly and well in advance, you can book this but let them know you are not starting the planning process until X date. Just be sure you will not change your mind on the venue.
Use the extra time to save a bit more money and enjoy your engagement. Have fun before the hard work starts.
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a few other top tips to help you along the way.
- If you want to hire a planner, get them started from the beginning. You will get more value and expertise if they are.
- Make sure you understand your budget. Work out what you can afford and are prepared to spend on your day.
- Know what your must haves are and the key elements that need to be perfect. Yes, we want everything to be perfect, but if you need to make decisions, this will help you decide.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The last thing you want is to put strain on your relationship. Your engagement should be a happy time, including the run up to the wedding.
In the Planning Heaven Program, we focus on the must knows for planning your wedding so you can enjoy your wedding and reduce the stress. Take a look here at Planning Heaven and the other consultancy services I offer.
Having a budget and sticking to it when you want the perfect day, is hard. Sometimes you will feel overwhelmed and stressed. It’s all normal but you can reduce the impact and stress levels by having a professional on your side and understanding the different elements.
I have won various awards, receive exceptional reviews, have over five years’ experience and trained, so you are in safe hands. Oh, and if you didn’t noticed, I have been featured across the world for my work and been on BBC. Client experience is my top priority.