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!