How I saved up to €16,000 off a Wedding Budget for the RTE Today Show
As most of you know, I run The Wedding Expert, a wedding planning company based in Dublin, Ireland. Last week, one of our popular national TV shows RTE Today, asked me if I’d come on the show and do a segment on Wedding Budgets; specifically on how couples could save €1,000, €5,000 and €10,000 off their wedding budget. TV is always fun, but talking about how to save money off a wedding budget is a challenge in a short space of time and with 2 Presenters wanting to have the craic 🙂 !
Talking about wedding budgets and how to save money on them is a big topic, I could literally talk for hours and hours on it. For couples, deciding what to spend on a wedding budget can be a minefield.
Where do wedding budgets go wrong ?
At the start, with no research in can feel a little like plucking figures from the sky and doubling them and you might just be able to afford some baked beans when all said is done. And that really is the first problem. Couples should never set a wedding budget without first doing a little research on wedding budgets. Specifically, wedding budgets for the wedding they went, in the area they want to get married and with their priorities in mind.
There are countless options and ideas available to every couple getting married. Not every couple will need or wants all these ideas and so here is the best place to start when researching your wedding budget. First, establish what are your priorities for your wedding. In a list of hierarchy, list what are the items or areas that are most important to you and the ones that you are prepared to spend a little more on. It’s also a good time to list the areas that are not as important to you, the ones you’d be prepared to forego if the budget won’t stretch that far or if you’ve fallen in love with something that you simply have to have.
Next deciding where, what time of year and even the day of the week can have an impact on your wedding budget. Fridays & Saturdays during the Summer are the most popular months and as a result among the most expensive. So you can save yourself a great deal of money by choosing a mid-week wedding in a Spring, Autumn and Winter.
Once you’ve established what your priorities are and where and when you’d like to get married start to compile a breakdown of actual costs. Looking at average budgets, while it will give you a sense of possible costs, average budgets, are just that, average – they might not be ordered to your priorities, guest numbers or likes or dislikes. Use them as a [very] loose guide only.
Remember that products and services do exist at all varying price points and it’s up to you to decide what, if anything, you are prepared to spend – remembering that sometimes you might be faced with paying more than you expected, simply because you don’t know how much things cost.
My Top Tip for Your Wedding Budget…
To help avoid this [ overspending because you didn’t know what things cost], even with your research done I also suggest that every couple set aside a contingency fund. A sum of money that is not allocated to anything specific but that can be used if you when to splurge on something or a new idea or priority presents itself.
When making a wedding budget …
Be sure that you are comparing packages and not prices. On the face of it, one company might seem cheaper but when you look at the details you may find that for a slightly higher price you could get considerably more.
And remember to value each of your individual priorities. While you may share many of the same priorities for the day, it’s to be expected that you will each have your own too. The day is about you both – make sure have equal input.
So how to you save big on your wedding budget ?
- Watch your guest numbers… the more you invite the more you will spend. The reception will account to up to 50% of your wedding budget.
- Watch the price per head at your venue – the higher it is, the more you spend.
- Limit the size of your wedding party. In Ireland it is customary for the couple to pay for the dresses, suits and accessories for their bridal party – this can run quite costly – especially if you have 5 Bridesmaid and 5 Groomsmen.
- Make wise informed decisions. It’s very possible and very easy to spend up to €5,000 on a wedding dress. Its equally very possible and very easy to spend €500 on a wedding dress and we showed this on the RTE Today.
- You may also have to make some tough decisions like not having certain things in your wedding. If you watch RTE Today today you’ll have seen me eliminate things like
- Wedding Favors
- Transportation – to be replaced be a nice family or friends car.
- Wedding Planner
- Bands in place of an all-night DJ
- Additional Entertainment
- Decor – in place of using what is only provided by the venue.
Which when combined could give you savings that start from €6,189 – a hefty saving before you even begin I think you’ll all agree.
You can check me on RTE Today here and see what we talked about.
Check me out on the set of RTE Today 🙂
If you’re wondering where these figures are coming from, I am using WeddingsOnline.ie’s 2017 Survey as a guide. The possible costs [savings ] I have listed and talked about on the show, do exist, they are ones we would have found, secured or been offered for our clients but like with everything you have to check the specifics of what is included to be sure it’s exactly what you are looking for in terms of product or service and not just price.
Below is a handy spreadsheet of what WOL’s survey reported [but please do check out the full survey here for all the details] versus what I suggest you could consider as a budget for your wedding in order to save some money. You’ll see that in some areas you’ll have to make specific compromises and you will definitely not afford a Celebrity Make Up Artist for a Bride & 3 Bridesmaids for €250 and you are very unlikely to get anything more than a CD/ USB Photography Package for the allocated €1,200 for Photography. These [tough choices] are included to show you that if these are not a priority for you , there are other options available. And remember with Photography you can always upgrade your package closer to the wedding or have an album produced a few months after the wedding when you have more money to spare.
|WOL Average Budget||Possible cost||Saving||Featured on the RTE Today show on Table||Notes|
|159 guests @ €70.00||100 guests @ 70.00|
|Favours||€ 256.00||€ –||€ 256.00||Table 1||Don’t bother with these at all. Nobody remembers them and often they are left behind.|
|Stationery||€ 344.00||€ 165.00||€ 179.00||Table 1||Use DIY kits and options available in shops and through Stationery Companies. Here we are budgeting to buy about 65 invites|
|Car/ horse and carriage||€ 450.00||€ –||€ 450.00||Table 1||Don’t hire professional cars/ drivers, see if a family or friend has a nice car you could borrow instead.|
|Ceremony Music||€ 376.00||€ 350.00||€ 26.00||Table 1||Set yourself a strict budget and focus on soloists.|
|Bridesmaid dresses||€ 541.00||€ 450.00||€ 90.00||Table 1||Limited yourself to up to 3 bridesmaids at up to €150 per dress.|
|Table 1 Total||€ 1,967.00||€ 965.00||€ 1,001.00||Combining these 5 areas has saved us over €1,000|
|Hen and/or stag party||€ 518.00||€ 400.00||€ 118.00||Table 2||Many hens and stags are paid for for the bride and groom by those attending. Here we’ve sent you a strict ‘entertainment’ budget of €200 each|
|Videographer||€ 1,062.00||€ –||€ –||Table 2||Unfortunately a videographer is not afforded in this strict budget.|
|Suits||€ 776.00||€ 500.00||€ 276.00||Table 2||Renting the suits and only having 3 groomsmen gives you up to €125 per person [ including the groom ]|
|Rings||€ 1,529.00||€ 1,000.00||€ 529.00||Table 2||Here we’ve set a specific budget for the rings.|
|Wedding Planner||€ 1,286.00||€ –||€ 1,286.00||Table 2||A Wedding Planner is not affordable on our strict budget.|
|Band||€ 1,961.00||€ –||€ 1,779.00||Table 2||We’ve eliminated the band in favour or the cheaper option of an all night DJ.|
|DJ||€ 418.00||€ 600.00||Table 2|
|Accessories||€ 475.00||€ 420.00||€ 55.00||Table 2||Again we’ve set a strict budget so you will have to shop around and step away from the Designer Shoes.|
|Photographer||€ 1,562.00||€ 1,200.00||€ 362.00||Table 2||Focus on CD/ USD/ Image only packages. You can always upgrade after the wedding if you wish to have an album made then.|
|Decor||€ 595.00||€ –||€ 595.00||Table 2||There is no budget for decor – Strict budget decision. Use what your venue has.|
|Table 2 Total||€ 10,182.00||€ 4,120.00||€ 5,000.00||The combination of these 10 difference areas has saved and additional €5k|
|Makeup Artist||€ 344.00||€ 250.00||€ 94.00||Table 3||Here you areworking to a budget and limited number of bridesmaids|
|Cake||€ 357.00||€ 250.00||€ 107.00||Table 3||Go for simpler designed cakes andn decorate with fresh flowers or consider hiring a fake cake.|
|Entertainment||€ 740.00||€ –||€ 740.00||Table 3||On our strict budget you can’t afford any additional entertainment.|
|Wedding dress||€ 1,714.00||€ 500.00||€ 1,214.00||Table 3||Set yourself a budget and shop in the high street, sample sales and pre-loved dress boutiques.|
|Honeymoon||€ 5,357.00||€ 1,655.00||€ 3,702.00||Table 3||Postpone the honeymoon for 6-12months and go on a mini moon after the wedding. A weekend city break in Ireland or Abroad.|
|Venue||€ 11,143.00||€ 7,000.00||€ 4,143.00||Table 3||Reduce the number of guests that you invite. Here we’ve gone from 159 to 100 guests and saved over €4k|
|Table 3 Total||€ 19,655.00||€ 9,655.00||€ 10,000.00||Being strict in these 6 areas can save you a whopping €10,000|
|Flowers||€ 570.00||€ 1,100.00||-€ 530.00||Not Featured in the show||As you’ll see here I’ve actually increased the floral budget. I feel its more realistic.|
|Wedding Celebrant||€ 307.00||€ 307.00||€ –||Not Featured in the show||Depending on the type of celebrant you hire/ have this can be up to twice the average budget.|
|Cost to HSE||€ 200.00||€ 200.00||€ –||Not Featured in the show||This is a set cost forIrish Weddings not listed in the Survey – but important to note. – the amount give is an average only|
|Ceremony Hire / Donation||€ 350.00||€ 350.00||€ –||Not Featured in the show||This is a set cost for Registered Irish Weddings not listed in the Survey – but important to note.|
|Hair stylist||€ 297.00||€ 250.00||€ 47.00||Not Featured in the show||Like with the make up artist, but limited the number of bridesmaids and setting yourself a budget you can save some money.|
|Untouched Totals||€ 1,427.00||€ 2,207.00||-€ 483.00|
|Running Totals||€ 33,231.00||€ 16,947.00||€ 16,001.00||You’ll see from the average costs recorded in the survey to the suggested costs you could potentially cut you could have yourself a’half price’ wedding if you wanted !|
As you’ll see this isn’t a complete wedding budget. They can and are much much larger [ the one we use with our wedding planning clients has 105 different line items on it. Of course not every wedding will use all those line items – but it shows you the sheer amount of different consideration you can give [ which is considerable more if you are having a Marquee wedding !] ].
Strict Wedding Budgets = Difficult Decisions – FACT !
When it comes to wedding budgets, unless someone is giving it to you as a gift or you’ve won a competition you are not going to get anything for free. Good product and service costs good money. Weddings on a strict budget are possible, you will have to make compromises and put in the legwork and if you are having difficulty in finding something for the budget you have set, that might be because it does not exist [ although if you’ve done your research right, you should know what is available to your for your budget ], or it may be a case that you may have to alter your expectations. Another way of approaching this tough budget choice is to tell the wedding supplier that you have x to spend and you hope to get y… they will then be able to tell you what they can provide for your x and you can take it from there.
I hope this has helped you a little in preparing for your wedding budget. A Wedding is a big day, a big spend and so a little ‘leg’ work and research is to be expected 🙂
Can I help with your wedding budget ?
What are the big pain points you are facing with your wedding budget ? Let me know in the comments below, I might be able to help you out 🙂