|Heels or flats? Professional or DIY pedicure? Maybe a spray tan? All the decision...|
Recently, a newly engaged girl asked me for tips for their wedding. I had no idea what to say to that, and in my mind I was thinking: Tips for what? Dresses? Flowers? Style? Colors?
There are a thousand tips to give and take, but after a few days it came to me that setting a budget might be my best tip so far. I love lists and budgets and saving, so luckily this comes quite easy to me. I can get quite excited for every time I am under budget,
Wedding budgeting in 5 steps
1. Figure out how much you can and want to spend.
A wedding might be one of the costliest things you do, so be wise! Discuss who will pay (the couple, parents, others) and how much you can save before the big day. Even if you have a lot of money, you might not want to spend it all on a party. Are you saving for a house for example? Or perhaps you want a dream honeymoon?
2. Do some research
What are the prices for things like flowers and catering?? There is a lot of research to be done to be able to make a realistic budget, and it depends a lot on the style of celebration you want and where you live. This step will require research, take a long time and can be very frustrating, but also fun. I was surprised at how much things cost, and have revised our budget more than once.
Also, decide on the size of your guest list. Your budget can really depend on this factor, but a small wedding can still be an expensive affair.
3. Think of all the costs, down to the details.
Here are the most common categories for a Norwegian wedding, with an American twist. I don´t have all of these things, and you probably won´t either. It might not be natural to include the expenses of f.ex rings and honeymoon in your wedding budget, but it can help you get an idea of the total costs.
- Paper goods for save the dates, invitations etc. Don´t forget the stamps.
- Wedding website
- Pre-marital counseling, books etc
- Bridal magazines
- A wedding planner/coordinator
- Paper work and applications
- Travel costs if you plan a destination wedding and need to visit beforehand.
- Outfit for the bride, including dress, veil, shoes, underwear, jewelry. Remember to add costs of dress alterations.
- Outfit for the groom: buying or renting suit/tux, shoes, shirt, tie, cufflinks, socks
- Outfit for flower girls, ring bearer and other attendants. The customs vary a lot here.
- Rings: Engagement ring(s) and/or wedding bands.
- Hair and make-up
- Manicures and other beauty treatments
- Church/ceremony site. In Norway, if you get married in your own kommune, this is free, if not, the price is around 4000 kr for a church including organ player. Costs for the priest comes in addition.
- Music for the ceremony
- Bouquets for the bride (and bridesmaids/flower girls) and boutonnieres for the groom, best man and others
- Flowers for the church and reception
- Decor, including place cards, napkins, candles etc
- Renting reception venue. You might need to rent tables, chairs, linen or perhaps a tent in addition. Check out what is included in the reception fee before you book.
- Catering/kitchen staff
- Wedding cake and desserts
- Favors for guests
- Music/DJ/Band for the reception
- Rehearsal dinner
- Car/transport the day of the wedding
- Photographer and videographer
- Hotel rooms/sleeping arrangements for the days before and after the wedding for yourself or guests
- Gifts for attendants and people who help out
- Thank you cards. Remember postage here as well.
- Consider unexpected expenses and have part of your budget be a back up for that, 5-10% of your total budget is recommended for this.
I use excel for our budget, but templates for Norwegian wedding budget can be found on f.ex. Mitt Bryllup and there are plenty of others as well.
3. Cutting costs.
A wedding can cost a lot, Norwegian couples spend an average of 100.000 kr, and typically the reception with the food and drinks is a large chunk of it. For us it looks like almost half our budget will be spent on the reception.
If you have limited funds, some ways of saving money can be to skip a band and use your ipod with a play list, cut the guest list, have friends/family help out with flowers, baking or hair and make-up. Maybe you can borrow some things like decor, or veil from friends. If you are crafty you can save a lot on making things like your veil, invitations or other decor yourself. The wedding dresses can cost a lot too, but you dont have to choose a 20.000 kr dress to look pretty. I have written another post about wedding dresses here.
It is important to decide what you want to prioritize. We are paying more for the venue because I didn´t want to have the party in a church building, even though that would have been the cheapest option.
There are a lot more tips on reducing costs online, so if high cost is an issue, look out for good deals and tips.
4. Stick to your budget!
It can be tempting to use a little extra here and there because you found the perfect shoes, but this will quickly add up. If you want to spend more in one category, make sure you take it out of another.
There you go - 5 easy steps to your wedding budget. Good luck!
Any other advice from brides or brides to be out there?
PS. Our real wedding budget here.