How to make sure you stick to a wedding budget, according to a financial planner

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  • It's easy to spend more on your wedding than you'd planned.
  • It's important to know your financial limits and to stick to them.
  • Financial planner Adele Martin has tips to help you stick to a budget.

Planning a wedding is a tricky task, and it's easy to end up spending more than you'd originally planned to.

Whether it's a low-key ceremony and reception with family and friends or large and lavish affair, it's important to know your financial limits and to stick to them - but as I've found out, that's harder than it seems.Advertisement

Here's what certified financial planner and money mentor at Firefly Wealth, Adele Martin, had to advise on how to get creative to stop blowing out the wedding budget:

Create a realistic budget

Martin says in order to do this, first think about the future, post-celebration.

"Are you willing to delay starting your family for another year in order to have a full-blown traditional wedding with all the trimmings?" Martin says.

"Or would you prefer not to completely drain your savings, so your post-wedding life isn't spent worrying about how you'll afford your next trip, house or child?"

Plan the must-haves

"When planning your nuptials, it's important to list what you and your partner consider must-haves," Martin says.There are many elements to a wedding to consider, including reception venue, ceremony venue, celebrant, flowers, food and beverage - the list goes on.Advertisement

The key is to figure out which is most important to you, and how the spend will spread over the other elements.

Here are some things you may want to consider:

Choose a venue wisely

"Consider venues that can host both the ceremony and reception in one place," Martin says.Advertisement

Also consider a destination wedding. The overall cost per person may actually work out less than a wedding at home, depending on where you go.

One thing to be wary of with destination weddings is that it may be difficult to alter options within the packages they offer without the cost blowing out, so check carefully if the package offers everything you want.

As for decoration and decor, the venue may be able to supply them, or you could be crafty and make some yourself.Advertisement

Ask someone strong to carry the flowers from the ceremony to the reception. There's no need to buy completely new flowers for each.

Consider ways to cut down on food and beverage prices

"If you both don't particularly love alcohol, you may choose to stick to serving only beer and premium wine over top-shelf wines, spirits and cocktails," says Martin.

Likewise, if you're not a foodie, and would prefer to mingle with guests, a cocktail reception is a much cheaper option than a traditional sit-down 3-course dinner.Advertisement

Jump on the latest food truck trend, and save money by providing your guests with one type of food.

Wedding table dinner plates flowers white roses

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Wedding Paper Divas

It may be worth thinking about whether you really need to splash out on a traditional sit-down 3-course dinner.

Also consider whether you really need to provide wedding favours.Advertisement

Are you, or someone you know a great baker who could whip up a wedding cake instead?

Wedding cake alternatives like cupcakes or donuts are a cheaper way of providing dessert, especially if you don't mention to the supplier that it's for a wedding.

Find the perfect dress on sale

"Think about buying a second-hand wedding dress, or look for sales," Martin says.Advertisement

If you have a lot of bridesmaids, you could get in touch with the store for a discount if you're buying the same type of dress.

You can even rent wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, which would also save on dry-cleaning costs.

Think about alternative entertainment

A live band, string quartet or DJ is a nice option, but can get expensive.Advertisement

Think about plugging in an iPod with a killer Spotify playlist.

You can even ask guests to add their favourite songs to a specially-created wedding playlist ahead of time.

Get your guests to post photos on social media

Everyone with a smartphone can be an amateur photographer, so if you prefer to live in the moment, you might be able to create a hashtag and encourage guests to post to social media with it.Advertisement

Wedding dresses

Carl Court/Getty Images

Martin says it might be worth considering buying a wedding dress in the sales.

You could also pass around a Polaroid camera to take candid happy snaps. A photobooth is also another money-saving option.

Go with e-invites instead of paper invitations

It's easier and cheaper to invite guests via Facebook, email or by asking them face-to-face, rather than printing out expensive save-the-date cards and wedding invitations.Advertisement

If there are guests who aren't on social media, print invites for them only.

Consider the cheaper off-season time of year

If the time of the year you get married isn't really that important to you, "consider having an off-season or mid-week wedding," says Martin.

Many venues put on winter specials.Advertisement

Skip the stag and hen parties

Ask yourself if you really need to throw an engagement party, bridal shower, a hen party, and a stag party. It could be enough just to throw one party that covers all of these, or forego some that aren't important to you.

A modern option could be a combined hen and stag party.

hen party bender shutterstock bedya


Ask yourself if you really need to throw an engagement party, bridal shower, a hen party, and a stag party.


Honeymoon where you have your wedding

A destination wedding could combine a honeymoon with the wedding.

Make sure you tell your accommodation that it's a honeymoon, as they usually provide an upgrade or send complimentary treats.

Be upfront with suppliers

"When gathering quotes for your expenses, don't be afraid to be upfront with the supplier," Martin says.Advertisement

"For instance, if you're trialling bakers for your wedding cake, let them know exactly how much you're willing to spend and what you'd like for the price.

"Be open to compromise, but don't let vendors talk you into blowing your budget. You can do this with various vendors until you receive an offer you're happy with."

Get help from the family

"If your parents are able to help fund your wedding, lucky you! Find out how much they're willing to contribute in the early days of planning, so you can figure out how much you need to save to make up the difference," Martin says.Advertisement

Have a safety net

Finally, have a contingency plan if something goes wrong and you need to spend a little more than what you first planned.

"Having anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 in your contingency will allow you to cover last-minute or hidden costs without blowing out your budget," Martin says.