Nine wedding financial mistakes to avoid

It was a great moment for me when I realised my dressmaking and other craft skills come in really handy for our DIY wedding. We decided that we weren’t going to spend too much money on our big day, so being able to quite a lot of things ourselves was a real bonus. I’ve got an exciting DIY project coming up for our 2015 wedding that I will post very soon!

It’s no secret that over the years, the amount of money spent on weddings has increased exponentially. The average cost spent on weddings in 2013 in the US was US$29,858 – in the UK, this was £24,716 according to Bride magazine!

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Source: Brymore Academy

For those of us who don’t (nor want to!) have such a big budget for the big day, fret not! It’s possible to have a budget-conscious wedding. After all, it’s a day to celebrate your union with your significant other; it’s not necessary to impress guests with how much you spent on decorations and the cake. After the event, ten years from now not everyone will remember what the centrepiece was on the table, the specific details of your dress or cake, or even what chair covers looked like.

No matter your budget, I recently read this article on Madame Noire about wedding financial mistakes to avoid which will help every bride and groom (regardless of budget). I’ve made comments below on 9 financial pointers from the article that you might want to take into account when considering what to spend money on and how to keep within your set wedding budget.

1) Respect your prospective fiancé’s budget
Keep your expectations about what engagement ring you want realistic. Everyone dreams of the big princess cut engagement ring, but is it worth having your fiancé save up a year or more for a ring he can’t afford? In today’s society, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is about 3 months of the prospective groom’s salary, but it’s best if you also think about whether you would feel comfortable wearing a really expensive ring.

I remember walking past this Victorian looking jewellery shop one day and I stopped at the window to look at the display. The ring that caught my attention was a lovely strong pink sapphire with a diamond halo and a thin band. I thought it was the perfect ring…until I saw the price tag. After much discussion with the OH, I’m happy that we found the perfect custom design engagement ring from Lilia Nash. Have a look at her website for eco-friendly and affordable engagement rings!

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The ring is a symbol of your upcoming nuptials, but is bigger really better? Or is it just set to impress your friends and family? Source: Brides

2) Think about how many bridesmaids you really need “While you might think having an army of bridesmaids won’t cost you because they pay for their own dress, you are sadly mistaken. In addition to their meals at reception, brides traditionally cover the bridal party’s bouquet and gift for being in your wedding.”

When I was younger I used to dream about a big fairytale wedding with a church covered in beautiful flowers, with a fancy wedding dress and everybody I knew attending –think Jessica Simpson’s wedding to Nick Lachey. Now that it’s finally happening next year, my priorities have changed. With our incorporating some Chinese traditions into the wedding as well, the cost of even the small things like offering each of our friends a lai see (red money packet) for helping us making our wedding day such a success, I’ve realised that the most important people I really want to make our special day meaningful is really my one of my closest friends and my sister.

3) Don’t forget any additional costs!
It might not seem like such a concern, but sometimes it’s the smaller details that really add up! We decided to forego the seat covers for our wedding, even the recommended supplier for our venue charges £5 per seat cover for the night…for 50 guests, that’s already £250! Some venues include napkins and cutlery etc, but only if you’ve met their minimum guest requirements.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you’ll need to take into consideration table, chairs, chair covers and marquee hire too.

4) Think about how much you’re willing to spend for that perfect dress

“This is your wedding and you will hopefully only do this once. So why dish out $10,000 for a dress you are only going to wear once?”

It’s the most important part of your big day, but you’re also only going to wear it once. It will most likely hang in your closet for years to come, so why spend so much money on a dress you might not look at again until your daughter gets married and wants to wear your dress? Have a look at wedding dress rentals or bridal shops that are having sales. It’s an idea to save money on the dress so that you’ve got more room in your budget to spend on other details!

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Marchesa wedding dress – pretty, but not every one of us has the bank account of a celebrity. Source: Brides

5) Find out from your hotel whether you will be held responsible for block booking
When we checked with our wedding venue, prices we were quoted for the wedding party was more than if guests were to reserve rooms on their own. We weren’t aware at the time of the possibility of block booking charges if the rooms weren’t filled, but given that most guests will most likely book their own accommodation with the wide range of choices where we are, we’re not as concerned about this. You may want to check with your hotel or Wedding Co-ordinator to make sure you’re not hit with a big bill after you’ve had your first breakfast as husband and wife.

6) If it’s not exactly how you wanted it, it’s still okay
You might find that sometimes things end up costing more than you imagined. I pass by shops for professional cake decorators in Edinburgh all the time and they’re all nicely decorated. I’ve had a look around at prices though and found the normal price for a simply decorated cake for 30 guests alone is already approximately £350. See how everything adds up quickly if you’re trying to keep within budget?

Think about where you can save money to pay for the more important extravagances and compromise. We’re lucky in that quite a lot of our own wedding will be done ourselves: I’ll be making my wedding dresses as well as the bridesmaid dresses and we’re also making our own wedding cakes, favours and guestbook too.

7) Consider a cash bar or meet in the middle when it comes to drinks the bar
Having a cash bar (where each guest pays for their own drinks) is quite common here in Scotland. Luckily with our package wedding, each guest receives a drink with their wedding breakfast meal and reception, after that they’re to get their own drinks. There’s no need to pay for everyone’s shots of whiskey or premium champagne for the whole day. You can ask about offering all guests a drink on the tab and having them pay for any further drinks from there. Most guests would be happy to pay for their own drinks when the number of guests are taken into account.

8) Check with your venue when the reception should end
In your wedding contract with your chosen venue, there’s normally a time stipulated when your reception is to end and any bands are to have packed up and left. If you go over this time, you might end up paying a late fee…per person. Usually this is because hotel staff still have to clear away dishes and clean the room for the next day, so to avoid paying this, make sure you know the full details!

9) Don’t use your credit card for your honeymoon unless you can afford it
It’s lovely to go abroad to a tropical sunny island, but the main point of a honeymoon is to relax after a stressful period of planning and to spend some quality time alone with your new spouse. Travelling at certain times of the year (especially peak periods) can mean higher costs for hotels and flights and you might end up pulling out your credit card. After paying any extra costs for the wedding day, do you really want to be hit with a bigger bill for your honeymoon too?

Have a look online at destinations in your country. You’d be surprised to find that some less well known parts are also quite exotic, like in the Highlands here in Scotland!

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Try looking at local areas you can still spend time at a place that suits your ideals for a less extravagant bill. Source: MykonosBlu

Are there any other helpful tips from any couples that are getting (or already) married you would like to share?

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