Great! So now, you’re engaged and you’ve told your nearest and dearest, what next?
Well, setting a budget for your wedding should ideally be the first decision you and your fiancé(e) make together after becoming engaged. A wedding reception can take up between 40-60% of your budget. The less formal the wedding and or fewer the guests, the lower this percentage will be.
Here are some simple steps you can follow to get started on your budget:
- Visualise your ideal wedding and honeymoon and make brief notes. Don’t be afraid to “dream big” since this is how you can find a lot of good ideas for planning your special day. Would you like your wedding to be small and intimate? grand? formal? civil? outdoor? indoor? A private ceremony and a reception? on a cruise? in Tobago? In another country?
- Sit with your fiancé and determine how much money you are both willing to contribute to the wedding. You can also discuss this with your parents/relatives and find out how much they would be willing to contribute. It may be necessary to use some of your savings and or establish a savings plan until the wedding, 20% of your salary every month is a good average to use; however, that percentage depends on your current financial standing and other financial priorities.
- Take the major elements of your fantasy from Step 1, (e.g. the estimated number of guests invited, ceremony, reception, attire and honeymoon) and try to obtain preliminary quotations via phone/fax from suppliers. You can also ask recently married friends and relatives for practical advice and supplier recommendations. If the quotations you receive fit into your budget and your fantasy, then you are all set to go on to the next stage of booking suppliers.
However, in practice, this is rarely the case; therefore, most likely you will have to re-visit your budget and start compromising on certain elements and putting your funds into the elements which you both find most special (for e.g. a smaller reception for a longer and more expensive honeymoon). This series of compromises requires good communication between a couple. It often takes a long time for a couple to sort out, just be patient and practical and give it time. Don’t worry, it is good ground work for marriage later on!