Quite a contradiction in terms, right! Well it is; it’s the kind of thing that can bring both blues or bliss (personally I would opt for the bliss, as I think most couples would!) but to achieve this we must be realistic every step of the way. There is nothing wrong with having a “dream wedding” providing it is within your budget. 
After meeting with a couple and discussing their “perfect day” I am often the one who has to bring the subject of money up and it’s quite funny to me that as a planner this is the part of the wedding planning process that we tend to lose the “bride to be” for a while, it begins with the rolling of the eyes, the heavy sighing and the automatic flipping of “another” bridal/wedding magazine that has mysteriously appeared! However it is the “groom to be” who becomes attentive and is quite astonished as to what things actually cost when it comes to all things weddings, the furrowing of the brow becomes more visible particularly if he/they are shouldering the the entire bill or at least quite a big chunk of it. 

I really try to tackle this subject very tactfully as people tend to get quite defensive when discussing money, and let’s face it ~ it’s never really the right time to bring it up! My approach is to be non partial and make sure they get “the best value” for money and hopefully have some money left over for the honeymoon! It’s all about being creative and making that hard working dollar stretch as far as it can go as well as trying not to lose the style and class that is synonymous with hiring me as their planner. 

Ideas of a fantasy wedding are often brought down to earth by the issue of money so it is important to discuss this pretty much after the engagement; because as any bride to be would know as soon as you get engaged on come the blinkers and its “wedding mode” all the way till you walk down the aisle. Setting a budget for your wedding is the second thing you need to do after the engagement. Your budget will be determined by the style of your wedding, number of guests and the type of reception you are wanting to have. Everything you do from now on will affect your wedding budget. By keeping accurate records/receipts of wedding expenses as you go along it will help you stay within your budget.

As part of the many services my company provides budget preparation is fast becoming one of the things I assist couples with the most, aside from on the day coordination etc. I suggest to my couples that you both discuss what is important to each of you separately and try to find common ground  and then to decide what will be the area that you wish to spend a higher % of the budget on. The reception generally takes 40 -50% of the budget with the remainder of the funds being allocated to your priorities.

Un-budgeted costs an result in unexpected higher wedding bills and being aware of the “details” will help avoid any hidden costs. Things to keep in mind are: corkage fees cakeage fee (fee for cutting and serving cake at the venue), any late fees to suppliers, church/celebrant fees and parking costs associated with guests attending your wedding etc.

Today there are no rules about who pays for what. Times have changed and what it really comes down to is the financial ability of the bride & groom and their families.Don’t be afraid to discuss money so early in the planning process as this will hold you in good stead when dealing with financial issues in married life (and boy there are plenty!) Establish good communication with your partner and family if they are contributing to the wedding and always be truthful about your financial situation. Often couples find it difficult to discuss money with their parents, however in the long run if they are willing to contribute it’s best to know up front so everyone is on the same page.

My aim for writing this blog was so that all couples can enjoy the wedding planning process, open the lines of communication when it comes to finances and by discussing this “taboo” subject of a “wedding budget” we can avoid the pitfalls of the “wedding budget blues” and have “wedding budget bliss” instead ;)

Happy planning………..Natalie

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