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What to include in your Wedding Budget

If you've just got engaged, congratulations! But now where do you start with your wedding budget and what do you include? This post is a guide about all the things you need to budget for. I can't tell you what your budget is or exactly how much things cost (as there are multiple supplier options from cost-effective to super luxury) But let's get started on what you need to Budget for:

1. Your Wedding Venue

An obvious start but your wedding venue costs (and church fees, if applicable) will be a biggie. Depending on your venue, they may charge for dry hire, a fixed fee or include all your catering, tableware, beverages and furniture. They may also cover your accommodation if it's on-site, if not, make sure you include that cost in your budget too. Some venues may have additional charges such as extra security, stewards, extended licences, marquee hire or even additional costs for every room you use. So, do ask all these questions when you visit your venue to get an accurate price. If your reception is taking place on private land no cost there, but you will need to factor in Marquee, service tent, toilets, generators and fridge trailers.

Top Tip: Many hotel wedding venues add a service charge which will need to be included in your budget. But the big cost not to forget is VAT. If a venue gives you their costs + VAT it means you need to add 20% to your venue allowance as this will be charged to you.

2. Catering and Beverages

If this is not included in your venue you will need a separate section for Food and Beverage costs within your wedding budget. This should cover everything from canapés and wedding breakfast to late-night snacks. You'll also need to consider your drinks reception, table wines during dinner, fizz for toasts and finally, your evening bar (unless it is a cash bar for guests). Some additional questions I recommend asking: Is your menu tasting included or is this extra? You may have to pay for your supplier's meals (band, photographer etc.), so how much will that be? If you've chosen a venue where you can bring your own drinks, give yourself an allowance for this, and do note, some venues may charge corkage to supply your own, which you will also need to budget for.

4. Your Wedding Officiant

For non-religious weddings, you will need to book an officiant for your wedding ceremony. This part of your wedding budget will cover the cost of a registrar (which isn't a lot but do check with your local council) or a wedding celebrant. Usually, any religious ceremonies are covered in the fee or donations, but do check this too when looking at your ceremony venues.

5. Choosing Your Wedding Flowers

Flowers are always going to be more than you think. What many people don't realise is that larger guest numbers or a bigger bridal party will affect the cost of your wedding flowers. When it comes to florals, think about the bridal party including bouquets, buttonholes or buttonaires, and corsages for mums. As well as any ceremony flowers (entrance, aisle or alter), wedding breakfast flowers like your centrepieces, and bud vases for extra décor for your drinks reception or evening. You may also have bar arrangements, hanging installations and cake flowers. There will always be labour and transport costs to cover too.

6. Wedding Hair and Makeup Costs

You will need a section to cover hair and make up costs. Also, remember to add in your hair and makeup trial, and if you are planning to treat your bridesmaids and mums too. Factor all of these options in from the beginning to get a clear picture of these costs, especially if you have a big bridal party. Your hair and makeup artists may also need assistants and travel expenses if required, so add a little extra for that.

6. Wedding Stationery and Signage

Stationery will not only include invites which could have important information, RSVP cards and wax seals, but also any stationery (or signage) needed for the wedding day itself. We're talking place cards, menus, table plans, reserved signs, welcome signs, your order of service, and other signage such as a guest book or bar menu. This blog here can help if you are unsure of what wedding signage might be needed.

Top tip: Don't forget to budget for postage especially if you are sending invitations overseas to a lot of guests, it can quickly add up!

7. The Wedding Cake

First of all, you don't need to have a cake big enough to feed everyone if you don't want to. If dessert is included in your catering, you could have a wedding cake just for show or to serve in the evening. But this is an important decision to make as the size and design of your cake will influence the price. Not only the cost of the cake but the cake stand, cake table and cake knife. These are relevant to other non-traditional wedding desserts too, such as cheesecake, doughnut towers or a full dessert table.

8. Wedding Day Transport

The transport section of your wedding budget will need to cover the bridal party's transport (for both bride and groom) travelling to and from the ceremony. As well as any guest transport you're providing. This could be a coach or shuttle bus to and from the ceremony as well as any taxis at the end of the night to transport guests back to hotels, if you wish to cover these. If you wedding day is all in one venue, complete with accommodation you may not need this section in your budget.

9. Wedding Entertainment

Here, you will need to cover the musical entertainment for the whole day: the wedding ceremony, drinks reception and evening party. So, if you want live music, definitely factor this in, bands are always more expensive as you are paying multiple people to be there rather than one DJ. This section of your wedding allowance should also cover other forms of entertainment such as photo booths, magicians, wedding painters, kid's entertainers and any lawn games you might like.

10. Technical and Production Requirements

For your wedding day to run smoothly, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes, these costs are covered in other elements such as your venue or your band providing lighting for you. But generally, these unexpected costs are allocated to items like lighting, staging, dance floor, disco balls, lighting the dance floor (if not provided by DJ or band), confetti cannons, fairy lights, festoon lights, love letters, PA and mic for speeches, or perhaps large installations. Basically, all those lovely extras you want for your wedding day can come under this section.

11. Furniture and Styling

Again, furniture may not be needed as an extra cost and could be covered by your venue, but I always love to allow for nice chairs or lounging furniture where possible. Perhaps you'd also love to have decorative draping, neon signs, props, candles, specialist tableware or linen tablecloths. As much as we adore these finishing touches, think about who will set these up. Will it be yourself, your venue or your wedding planner, or will you hire a wedding stylist? Either way, ensure you factor in their labour and travel costs.

12. Misc Items

This is a bit of a miscellaneous section but is a valuable part of your wedding budget as this is where all those extra spendings are logged. Most commonly this would include your wedding guest book, wedding favours (if you are doing them), confetti, bridal party gifts, and gift bags for children or destination wedding guests.

13. Bridal Wear and Suits

How can we forget one of the most beautiful bits, your wedding dress? But it's not all about the dress. You'll need to budget for everything the bride will be wearing on the day: dresses, shoes, underwear, suits, accessories, jewellery, bags, and even PJs! Decide if you're paying for your bridesmaid's and groomsmen's outfits, accessories and shoes too and don't forget to allow for any alterations.

14. Important items to think about

Sometimes, something out of your control can impact your wedding day. Whether that's an illness, a supplier letting you down or extreme weather conditions. It's super important to have wedding insurance to protect you from all of these scenarios and is another cost to add in. It may be worth having a contingency (usually a small percentage of the budget) for unexpected costs too.

15. Hiring a Wedding Planner

Last but not least is money for your wedding planner or wedding day manager. This can vary depending on the service you have and who you choose to go with, but usually, a full-service wedding planner might be anything from 10-15% of your total budget with a minimum spend in place. But for complete reassurance for the perfect wedding day, it is well worth it.

I hope this helps shed some light on how to break down your wedding budget and ensures you haven't missed anything crucial to cost for. If you are looking for a wedding planner, then please get in touch here.

I can't wait to hear from you!


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