Planning Your Budget
Planning Your Budget
It is never too soon or too late to draw up a budget for your wedding!
The fact of the matter is that you will not be able to plan your wedding without knowing how much it will cost you and how much you have available for what. Our suggestion is that once you are engaged that you should immediately start planning for your wedding and that is, amongst others, planning your budget. You can argue that you want to be engaged for at least five years but from experience I know that in many cases are the proverbial “famous last words”. Even if you do stay engaged for many years, if you completed a budget you at least have completed all the hard work and only need to determine present costs and may be fashion trends as the expense items remain mostly unchanged.
WL Wedding Photography developed a wedding budget for you and you are invited to download the file and use it to complete your budget: Click here.
By following the following simple steps you will be able to draw up a complete budget for your wedding:
1. You should start by discussing all your wedding needs for example, what kind of wedding do
you want and then what the theme should be. There are many options and it is growing by the
day. Do you want a formal wedding in a posh venue or hotel or a beach wedding? What about a
wedding in the bush or on a farm, a wedding in a marquise or in a chapel. Then the theme, decor,
colour scheme, food music clothes, etcetera. You may also find that the more you discuss your
needs the more ideas you may have. If you wait too long before you start planning you may find
yourself in a situation where you can’t make up your mind and that the time is running out. This
will put you under unnecessary stress and the most wonderful day in your life may start feeling like
2. Your next step is to compile a list of all your needs and preferences and to indicate which ones
you see as priorities. Here you should utilise the column “Initial Budget” in the Wedding Budget
that WL Wedding Photography makes available on our website while your priorities are indicated
in the column “Priority” with 1 where you should not consider any cuts on the budget for these
items, 2 where you may cut on the expenditure and 3 where you may consider substantial cuts.
You may for example decide that an excellent professional photographer is a priority and that you
should not cut the costs for a photographer. The difference between the initial and final budget
for a photographer should therefore be minimum while for an item like music you may decide to
use a DJ and not a band as initially planned allowing for a substantial cut on this budget item.
3. The third step is to calculate all the items to determine the total initial budget for your wedding.
Schedule a planning session with everyone who will make some kind of contribution towards your
wedding and establish what each set of parents is prepared to spend if anything at all. Also clarify
whether the bride’s parents will follow tradition and pay for the reception and the groom and his
parents for the beverages, flowers and honeymoon. The costs may also be split evenly between
the parents and the bridal couple. Remember not to accept any of the contributions as obvious
but to show appreciation for every bit of contribution.
4. Next you must decide on how much you are realistically prepared to spend on your wedding or
should we rather say how much do you have available to spend? Here you should be guided by
your priorities that will enable you to complete the column “Final Budget”. The total amount
minus what the parents and other family members are prepared to contribute is the amount that
you should save for your wedding. It is always a good idea to open a separate bank account into
which you will pay all the available funds toward your wedding. Bear in mind that the average
wedding in South Africa may cost between R70,000 and R80,000 for 80 to 100 people attending.
The cost per person may easily add up to between R700 and R800 per person. For the above
average wedding you should budget for between R1,500 and R2,000 per person.
5. In light of your needs and available funding you should decide when you will have sufficient
funds in your savings account to set a suitable date for your wedding. Once you have set the date
you can start planning the wedding and finalise your budget.
6. Call a few suppliers in every category and enquire about prices. This should give you a fair idea
of the cost of the items you are interested in and whether you will be able to afford them or not.
Finalise your total budget according to your priorities.
7. Your next step is to find a suitable venue that is available at your planned wedding date and that
matches your list of priorities. It is very important to exactly find out what is included and what is
excluded from the quoted rates. You may remove individual items from budget that is included
but you may also add other items that are not included.
8. Once you’ve booked the venue you can book other service providers and suppliers. It is
important to book reliable service providers and suppliers and “word-of-mouth" from satisfied
clients is usually the best. You are invited to contact any of the service providers in our WL
Wedding Photography network by “clicking” on the following icon: Click here
If you want to use a wedding coordinator you should start with scheduling an appointment with
9. It is important to obtain written quotations from all service providers and suppliers and you
must ensure that the quotations include everything you asked for. You must also read the “Terms
and Conditions”, also referred to as “The small print” very carefully before you accept the
quotation, sign the contract and pay the deposits. Most service providers and suppliers require a
50% deposit of the total quoted amount.
WL Wedding Photography suggests that you use the wedding budget available on our website. To guide you in planning your budget you could divide your budget into four main categories namely:
• The reception including the venue costs, catering and beverages. This category can easily take
up 50% of your total budget.
• Your wedding dress and accessories, photographers, music, flowers, decor each taking up
between 10 to 15% of your budget.
• The wedding cake, invitations, candles, table gifts, etcetera can each take between 2 to 5% of your
• Additional coordinator’s fee can be between 10 and 20% of your budget
The big question many couples ask is: “Who pays for what?”
There are no rules cast in stone but WL Wedding Photography can only share some of the traditional views with you.
• Wedding dress and accessories for the bride
• Invitations and all other printing
• Venue cost (rent, waitrons and overtime)
• Decor for the church and reception
• Wedding cake
• Photographer and videographer
• Music for the church and reception
• Wedding car
• Hair, make-up and beauty treatments
• Wedding ring for the groom
• Gifts for people who helped her in a particular way.
The groom and his parents
• The engagement and wedding ring for the bride
• A wedding gift for the bride
• The groom’s outfit
• All bouquets, button holes and corsages
• Flowers for the church and reception
• Gifts for the bridal retinue
• The ante nuptial contract
• Beverages and bar costs
• All costs related to the church: Minister, verger, church fees, organists, etcetera.
• All insurance for example travellers’, life, property and medical insurance
• Transport for the groom and the best man to the church and/or venue
• The honeymoon and travelling costs
It is very important that you manage your budget well. If you spend more than the amount you budgeted for you may start your married life in debt! Remember to file all the quotations, contracts, invoices and receipts. Also note the deadline in the quotations. Do not give into temptations when suppliers or service providers try to sell you more than you budgeted for, even if it looks like a bargain. All the little extras here and there can end up making a big dent in your budget.
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