Whether you’re going the religious route or not, these wedding budget sins should be avoided (lest your wedding be cursed with a plague of locusts… or something) to keep money stress at bay, writes Aisling Keenan
- Thou shalt not lose the run of thyself
Be realistic. Sit down with your other half after all the engagement Prosecco has left your system and decide what kind of wedding you both want. If it’s a ten-course tasting menu for 300 people in a castle, you’re going to need serious dollar. If it’s an intimate dinner for 20 pals out your back garden, you’ll need slightly less. Be honest with yourselves about what you can achieve in terms of saving too.
- Thou shall prioritise like a pro
Heather got married recently and put her money where her heart was: “We put wine and music above all else. We didn't bother with candy carts, selfie mirrors etc and they weren't missed.” So, taking Heather’s advice, if music is super important to you, invest in the band you want. If your friends and family are hardcore foodies, opt for a venue with a spectacular rep for delish dinner. Put less in your wedding budget for the bits that don’t matter.
- Honour thy father and thy mother…
…Especially if they’re helping to pay for your big day. Family members may offer to help you and your fiancé/e pay for things, so ascertain as early as you can who would like to pay for what. A polite way to do it is to say “We’re putting together our wedding budget this week so let us know what you’re thinking of contributing”, and that way you don’t put pressure on for a specific figure.
- Thou shalt not splurge unnecessarily
Just because every bride you know of has spent hundreds on a pair of designer shoes doesn’t mean you have to. And just because every wedding has a band and then a DJ doesn’t mean yours has to too. Don’t succumb to pressure to spend where you really don’t want to. If you’re wearing a full length dress, no one will see those €500 heels. And sure your feet will probably be killing you in them anyway.
- Remember the sabbath day…
Or at least bear in mind that your budget can be greatly helped by going off-peak on your choice of wedding date. Opting for an October to March date (bar those few days around Christmas and New Years that everyone wants!) can reduce your venue cost significantly, as can opting to get married midweek. “We got married on a Monday, and while a few had to miss it because of work, all the important people made it and it was just as special,” says Karen, 34, who got married in 2015.
- Thou shalt embrace thy spreadsheet
Get on board with organisation or you will very quickly lose track of where your money is going. Even if you have a wedding-only bank account, it’s so easy to forget a couple of hundred euro here and there when you’re paying so many different vendors and have so many varied overheads. Small things like buying six matching ties for the groomsmen, or paying a €50 deposit on a shuttle bus for guests will need to be added to your bottom line. The only way forward is strict record keeping. Yay, marriage!
- Thou shalt not fill
If you are footing the entire wedding bill, the day should be enjoyed by those closest to you rather than filler guests. If cutting out all plus one invites makes the day more affordable for you, make it a rule and stick to it. Don’t want to pay €85 a head for 16 four-year-olds to have chicken nuggets and chips? Make a ‘no children’ stance and own it. And if you have a million cousins you never see? Don’t see them on your wedding day. If it ain’t broke…
- Thou shalt not take the name of thy Credit Union in vain
Keep your local bank or Credit Union on side and in the black. Just in case in the last month before the big day you’re hit with an unforeseen expense, which is almost always the case. In lieu of panicking and getting a loan, when you draft up your wedding budget at the start, add on a “just in case” fund of about 5% of your overall budget, just for those sneaky added extras that inevitably crop up.
- Bear honest witness to thy skillset
Do not, please, do not commit to making your own homemade invitations if the last thing you made was an unholy mess in your Junior Cert pottery exam. If arts and crafts aren’t your usual thing, don’t assume you’ll turn into a Blue Peter presenter just because you’re betrothed. DIY doesn’t always equal cheap, either. Sometimes it’s cheaper (and much, much easier) to let the pros do things for you.
- Thou shalt chill thy beans towards the end…
…and remember that your guests won’t care if the ranunculus in your bouquet cost €15 a stem. No one cares about those things, and as 2016 bride Alison says: “People will remember the experience more than the details!” Once you’ve kept everyone fed and watered, and you’re in flying form, your wedding will be a hit. And no amount of cash can buy craic!