An exquisite wedding is entirely possible no matter what your budget and you don’t want to go into debt just because you want your wedding to be the most Instagrammable day of your life. Here are our tips to help you manage your matrimonial money matters!

Create a budget – and stick to it

Before you start planning, you and your partner need to decide how much you are prepared to spend on your wedding and establish who else is contributing. Although it may be an awkward topic to broach, the conversation needs to happen. Bear in mind that whilst your parents may wish to contribute, they may be out of touch with current wedding costs.  Be open and transparent about your anticipated expenses so that all parties are on the same page.

Start saving straight away

While tradition dictates that the bride’s parents pay for most of the wedding, this is not always possible and these days, many couples foot the bill themselves. As soon as you get engaged, open a savings account and deposit 10-20% of each salary into this account. If you want to up the ante, analyse your monthly expenses and see what luxuries you can cut back on to help you save more. These changes will have little effect on your day-to-day, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some awesome wedding essentials.  Saving for your wedding together gets you into good habits for your marriage.

Pick your priorities

You and your fiancé should discuss what is most important to each of you. If you are a foodie, for example, you may want to splash out on a meal that your guests will be raving about for years to come. Your partner might want a smaller wedding with just your inner circle so that you can spend more on your photographer and videographer. You will both need to compromise on some things, as wedding costs tend to get out of hand quickly. On average, couples tend to spend 10-15% more than originally planned, so set your total budget below what you really can afford.

Be savvy

There are heaps of creative ways to reduce your spend if you are willing to invest a little energy and creativity! Do your research and shop around to make sure you get the best bang for your buck! Plan ahead and take advantage of special offers when they present themselves. Be clever about your décor and bulk up displays with less expensive greenery and non-floral items that are more cost-effective. Get crafty (or enlist the services of the DIY divas in your bride tribe) and make your own guest gifts instead of buying them. Choose a dual-purpose venue that can host both the ceremony and reception.

How much to allocate to each category

Here is a very general guideline to get you started.  Chat about what is important to each of you and if you want to spend more in one area, you will need to reduce expenses elsewhere:

45-50 %                Venue and Catering (including cake)
10-12 %                Photo and Video
8-10 %                  Wedding Planner and Miscellaneous.
8-10 %                  Décor and Flowers
8-10 %                  Bridal Wear and Suits
6-8 %                     Music and Entertainment
4-6 %                     Hair & Makeup
2-3 %                     Stationery
2-3 %                     Gifts and Favours
2-3 %                     Ceremony

Try to earmark 5% for unexpected expenses and if you’re paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.

How to stick to your budget:

You need to have a system to track your spending and Marriage Meander has created a useful tool to help you do this. Download our free ‘WedPlan’ App on Apple or Android devices and use the Budget Tool as soon as you start planning.  Revisit your spending plan on a regular basis and adjust if needed. Make wise decisions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your wedding which may lead to overspending. With each financial decision, ask yourself, “Is this the wise thing to do?”

Setting – and sticking to – your wedding budget will feel like a huge accomplishment and eliminate much of the stress surrounding your special day.


By Jacqui Cochran
Marriage Meander