This is a guest post by Alex Boucher
It’s very easy to get carried away when planning your wedding (it’s all part of the fun after all!). Pinterest boards, blogs, magazines and Instagram accounts are full of ideas you hadn’t even realised you liked; photos of celebrity weddings showing just what a huge budget can buy you.
Setting a budget may not be the most thrilling part of the planning process, but it still beats the panic of overspending! The simple truth is that weddings cost money, and depending on exactly what you want, that could be a sizeable sum. But while there are plenty of articles out there on how to plan your budget, there are not that many on how to stick to it — at least not without losing any panache. So how do you keep your big day classy whilst sticking to that all important figure?
1 . Think carefully about your guest numbers
A brief mention of the budget basics before we start chatting about the details. Firstly, you need to look at the amount that you can honestly afford. With that done you need to prioritise elements of the day eg. if you have a particular venue in mind, or know you want a designer dress. If you haven’t thought about venues yet then I always suggest writing a rough guest list. Sure it won’t be close to the final cut, but it should give you an idea of numbers.
Now, I am aware that Jewish weddings are often quite large affairs, but this trend is slowly changing and while perhaps still a little controversial (especially with more traditional family members), one of the best ways to stick to a budget without losing class is trim your guest numbers to only people that really mean something special to you; the atmosphere will be more intimate and it will cut the costs dramatically. When you know roughly who you want to invite you can start looking for venues that suit.
2. Consider venues that don’t need much in the way of decor
Now, here we go with a few little ideas for you to consider when you are thinking about a venue. When you have visited a couple of venues you can see how much they charge so that you can budget accordingly… but it’s a good time to get a little savvy. A dramatic venue (such as the beautiful Kensington Roof Gardens in London) needs very little in the way of embellishment. Sure the initial outlay may be a little more than a blank canvas of a venue, but the saving on decor may actually weigh things out. When looking at a venue don’t just look around starry eyed — think carefully about how much it would take to make the place look how you would like it and if it has all the basics. A marquee or tipi can be wonderful, but not all that cheap when you add on the cost of things like toilet hire. (Ps you need toilets, no negotiation here!)
Table setting from Missy & Yoni’s Jew-ish wedding (image: Babb Photo)
3. Enlist talented friends and family
For many, help from others is a way to stretch the budget. You may have family and friends desperate to help with any aspect of the day — from baking your cake to creating your invitations to help save the pennies…. and keen not to hurt feelings as well as watch the cash flow you find yourself agreeing to something that is decidedly more amateur than you would have liked. This is a sticky situation. Certainly accept their kind offer if they can bake like Mary Berry, or have the craft skills of Kirstie Allsopp; however don’t be shy about saying no. If the cake is inedible you will be disappointed — better to buy a decent wedding cake and decorate it inexpensively — and helping to decorate is something that your nearest and dearest can definitely get involved with. I had some cake at a wedding once that looked incredible… but tasted as though it was baked a month ago. Lovely!
4. Consider DIY projects carefully!
While there are whole blogs dedicated to how to guides for everything from save the dates to napkin holders, it is worth considering a few things before you plunge in. How crafty are you really? If you struggle to tie a ribbon on a present you may have an issue – what can look really simple can actually be quite tricky. Will you get bored after the first 20 invites (and have another 50 to go)? Do you honestly have the time to do what you are planning? Finally, with all the practice runs and the materials you require is your project actually going to end up costing you about the same?
While I have mentioned DIY in a negative light there are many ways that you could do-it-yourself when it comes to simple things that can add wow — such as your table plan for example (I love this article on unique plans on Bespoke Bride). There are some great places to find ideas for projects you can try, but my tip would be to just be realistic with what you want to achieve. Anyone can do DIY, but if a polished finish is what you are after it may not be for you.
DIY ‘flower bib’ bridesmaids necklaces from Melody & Michael’s Jewish wedding (image: Chrisman Studios)
5. Quality over quantity
My next point would be that you do, in general, tend to get what you pay for. Costs can be high for weddings because of the level of skill and time involved in anything from flowers to photography — so don’t be surprised at a good few hundred quid for a cake for example (for a great article on costs I loved this post). It would be very easy to baulk at these prices and go for a far cheaper option, but if sophistication is what you are aiming for, choose quality over quantity. I don’t say don’t find the very best price for something, but don’t be tempted to settle for a second best that you might regret (I still wish that I hadn’t chosen the shoes I did and had prioritised and budgeted for what I actually wanted — they kept slipping off and negotiating stairs was akin to a game from The Cube).
6. Be true to yourself
Trends are great to keep up with, but don’t feel as if you have to be drawn in by them. Your wedding should reflect you as a couple — having something completely random is the quickest way to go from classy to confusing. If a current trend (or trends!) fit either of you then by all means indulge; but if that trend is (for example) a street style food and both of you love fancy restaurants, your guests might be left wondering just whose wedding they are actually attending! Kim Kardashian style flower wall and your other half is a known hay fever sufferer?! I think you see where i’m going with this…
Creative food design at Olya + Yossi’s Jewish wedding (image: Irina Yakobson)
7. Avoid ‘shoulds’
Panic buying or last minute rushed purchases can be a disaster to both budget and style. Forgotten to buy favours with two weeks to go? Forget them. Don’t waste your cash on whatever you can find because you feel you should have something. Spend it on ensuring your guests are happy – if you think about your guests’ needs throughout then the wedding will be remembered as one of the best. Simple. A draughty ceremony location can be countered with blankets; umbrellas provided can stop soggy guests being uncomfortable through the breakfast.
Food is another example; don’t feel as though you must have a three course sit-down meal if it’s not your bag. I love some of the quirky ideas you can get these days… from a pizza oven horsebox to street style vendors to a vintage van serving gourmet burgers. Fun and fabulous! There are so many great ways of feeding guests informally and for less of that budget.
8. Go bespoke
Finally, I am a huge advocate of handmade. Personal and unique dà©cor can take a wedding from nice to special. Purchases from the big wedding stores have their place, but if you buy every item from a catalogue your day may well end up looking, well, catalogue-y (note — not the same as glossy magazine you know!) There are plenty of ways to save money — from choosing a mid-week wedding, avoiding a formal sit down breakfast to buying a high street wedding dress (loads of beauties about at the moment for example); but don’t scrimp on making it your own (the dress might cost £100, but I would always recommend fabulous underwear, professional tailoring to make the dress a perfect fit and accessorising to make it unique). Oh and in my opinion don’t scrimp on the photos… good pictures are memories that you can share, and are far more worthy of a slice of your budget than shoes that look pretty but don’t fit – I promise!
Happy planning xx
About the author
Alex Boucher is a wedding blogger and freelance writer living in Lincolnshire with her family. She has run her own blog, The Great British Wedding, for the last two years and while the site is currently having a little down time due to family commitments, Alex is enjoying guest writing for some of the blogs she loves the most. Being ex-military, Alex loves organising and has an eye for detail, and as a qualified wedding planner she loves helping others plan their big day — and particularly enjoys finding the little details that make a wedding unique.
A very meaningful chuppah from Cheryl & Ernest’s Jewish wedding (image: Daniel C. Photography)
Top image: David Bastianoni (see the full Jewish wedding here)
Pin for later: