When it comes to planning your wedding, the very FIRST thing you should be thinking about is your budget. Too often we find couples losing sight of the bigger picture and throwing themselves into the planning process without a clear budget in mind. But, with the average Indian wedding now costing in excess of £60,000, it’s important to ensure every pound goes as far as possible.
In order to stop you making any rash decisions we’ve put together a list of the top 10 mistakes couples are likely to make when it comes to budgeting for their big day. We’re not saying you have to spend lots of money, we’re just saying you need to be realistic and well prepared for whatever is heading your way.
Not setting a budget from the get go
The biggest mistake you can make is not setting a budget from the moment you start planning. You need to have some sort of realistic figure in mind which matches your wedding concept. Think about the number of guests, number of events, type of food, venue and overall decor. If you’re not sure how much things will cost then do some quick research by contacting suppliers, or better yet, hire yourself a wedding planner who will tell you if you’re being a realist, or if you’re away with the fairies.
Not being in sync with your other half and/or family
You may find that you and your partner have very different thoughts about your special day. So you may want to talk through these before you start meeting suppliers, and definitely before you start booking any. But when it comes to Indian families, it’s not just your partner that you need to consider. Chances are, EVERYONE in your family will have an opinion and you need to keep everyone from your mum to your mother-in-law sweet. Call a big family meeting if you have to, but it’s best to iron out any issues in private so that you’re on the same page.
Overspending on the venue
When it comes to venues there is such a thing as love at first sight. You know when you’ve found the one and sometimes you’re so besotted that you go ahead and sign on the doted line and hand over a deposit cheque without so much as blinking. However, a few weeks later you may come across another venue for a fraction of the cost, and worse still, it could be more suited to your requirements. What to do? Well, nothing. Make sure you’ve viewed a minimum of three venues before you make any decision so you can do a comparison and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Remember to ask key questions about; access times, function room capacities, any restrictions, the use of outside catering, and a full breakdown of what is included within your package.
Top Tip: Do your research and take time to investigate potential venues. Put together a spreadsheet with details of cost, services and extras for every venue you visit along with the pros and cons. The venue may be stunning but not practical for how you want the day to flow – think about the whole day when you are on a visit.
Underestimating cost of flowers
If there’s one thing we love about planning a client’s big day, it’s getting the chance to be surrounded by beautiful flowers. But remember, fresh flowers will cost you A LOT. Before you set your sights on a 10ft flower wall or elaborate floral table centres, be realistic about what you can afford. Floral arrangements tend to start from around £35 per table (depending on size and style), so if you do not want to compromise on the overall look, make sure you brief your florist about your budget from the very start. If you have limited funds, then look to purchase silk flowers from your decor company. Good quality ones will not only look good, but won’t end up breaking the bank either.
Underspending or overspending on finer details
It’s easy to get consumed by everything that’s around you during wedding planning. You’ll attend a number of fayres where you’ll be surrounded by special offers from suppliers that can make it difficult to say ‘no’. Or, you’ll find yourself getting carried away on Pinterest, falling in love with everything in sight. The key is to know where to stop. Be clear about your theme and be clear about your style. Don’t make impulsive purchases or make any rash decisions and remember, less is always more.
On the other hand, there are also those couples who forget about the finer details that are essential to tie everything together. You will need to think about the individual place cards and favours or how to personalise your guest book table and how enhance the room layout. These smaller details can often get overlooked, which is sad, considering it is these items that will make your celebrations truly stand out.
Top Tip: Make a clear list of what you NEED and what you WANT to avoid any impulsive spending.
As amazing as flashing lights and haze machines can be, excessive AV can be expensive and unnecessary if your budget doesn’t allow for it. You may feel like you have to have a LED dancefloor, big screens and up-lighters all around your venue because that’s the trend but please don’t be pressurised into following the crowd. Be original and set your own trend. There’s nothing wrong with having the DJ tucked away or using simple candles to light up the room.
Underestimating catering budget
The biggest percentage of your overall budget should be kept aside for your catering. This is what your guests will be looking most forward to and is also what they’ll be most critical about, so try not to cut any corners. Not only do you need to ensure that the food is of the highest quality, but the serving staff and presentation all need to be spot on. When you’re spending so much money on your wedding, the last thing you want is to be let down by a rude waiter or unclean crockery.
Top Tip: Watch out for ridiculously cheap quotes as more often than not, price will reflect quality. If you’re not sure about a caterer ask to see them in action and ALWAYS do a menu tasting to get a good understanding of the way the food tastes and the way it will be presented.
Failing to keep guest numbers low
Bear in mind the number of guests you invite to your wedding celebrations will have a direct impact on your budget. The more guests you have the more your spend will increase and while this is true for all events, costs per head at a reception are generally the highest so try and keep your numbers to a minimum. It’s not just the catering though, you’ll be paying more for your venue (in some cases), more for decor and drinks etc.
Not documenting spend
Excel should be your best friend from the moment you start wedding planning. Make a note of what you are willing to spend and allocate an amount for every aspect of your celebrations. Once you start to book suppliers, update this spreadsheet with how much you are actually spending and how much you have left. This is something we always do for our clients and will allow you to keep a track of any savings and overspends, enabling you to adjust your budget accordingly.
Top Tip: Keep aside at least 6% of your overall budget as a cushion, just in case you need to find some extra funds.
Not reading the small print
Remember to read all supplier contracts before you sign ANYTHING. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask them, no matter how trivial they may seem, to avoid any nasty surprises later down the line. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will act as bad cop for you, but if you’re on your own, then you may want to decide between yourselves who’s playing good cop and who’s playing the bad!
If you need a helping hand with your wedding budget get in touch with a member of our team who will be more than happy to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org