As you will no doubt know by now, myself and Love of my Life are spreadsheet aficionados. So it should come as no surprise that one of the first tasks we undertook when planning our wedding was to pull together our budget spreadsheet.
Geeky? Maybe. And at times it seemed useless. What was the point of having a long list of items, with their associated cost next to them, when we don’t have enough saved for even half of them. Luckily we persevered.
Our spreadsheet lists every single item or area which we’ll need to part with cash for (and in true OCD style similar items are grouped together and, er, colour coded). It was depressing and a tad worrying to see a figure of £16k sitting at the foot of the spreadsheet. Laughing at our puny bank balance in that evil, knowing way usually reserved for cartoon villains. On the plus side that included all of our proposed (pardon the pun) expenses for wedding AND honeymoon.
In my opinion plotting out what you plan on spending for all areas of the wedding is really important for a number of reasons…
1.) It makes you think about what’s really important for your big day and where you can compromise. For us the venue and food HAS to be right and we’ll pay more bucks for that, but we can compensate for that by spending less on venue decor and making stuff ourselves (do Hobbycraft do a loyalty card?!)
2.) It focuses your mind on what you need to save. Remember SMART goals? Knowing how much you need to make your dream day right for you allows you to pull into place your savings plan accordingly.
3.) It makes it easier for people who want to contribute. Family and friends are likely to want to support you on your special day, but them giving you money can be awkward. Perhaps they’re assuming you’re going to spend it on flowers but instead you opt for balloons. With a list of items to chose from they can see what you want and opt to contribute towards something tangible. Do, of course, check how much input they’re expecting on said item. If your mom offers to buy your dress you might want to check what her expectations are of the perfect gown in comparison to yours.
4.) It allows you to make rational purchases. It’s so easy to be swept along in the moment and up-sold items for your big day. You need to have an idea of what you’re prepared to pay for everything so you can decide whether to snap it up, or walk away and find if cheaper elsewhere. Hence why the £1200 gown which I tried on is not on order. Obviously there will be some occasions where you just fall in love with something and end up blowing the budget, but if you did that on every item? Eek.
5.) You get to feel super smug when you come in under budget. OK, it doesn’t happen often, but my god it’s a sweet feeling when it does.
So whilst a wedding should be a whole lotta heart, using your head for the money part could mean you start your married life, well, slightly more solvent. And who wants to be arguing over money?