Thursday, April 26, 2012

The BIG question

After "will you marry me," one of the most important questions is how much is this wedding going to cost? It's not a million dollar question, or even a 64,000 pound question - or at least I hope not! But it is really, really important.

So how do you answer it? Let's be honest, no one likes talking about money. Which is why I'm so thrilled that Rogue Bride, frugal wed and 2000 dollar wedding have laid their budgets out for everyone to see. I'm going to try and do the same (although I have no idea what our parents will think)!

There is very little sensible advice out there on how to figure out your budget. There's two main schools of thought:
  1. Look at how much you have in your savings, work out how much you can save between now and the wedding, add in any parent contributions and this is the answer.
  2. Say a figure out loud and keep saying numbers until you get one that sounds right. 
To trash number two first, WHAT?! The figure that would make me not want to run away screaming would probably be about £3000. I'm naturally a conservative spender. The "average" UK wedding costs £20,000. Even though I have no intentions of having an "average" wedding, I cannot have the kind of wedding I want for £3000. End of discussion.

Number one may work for some people, but does not work for us. As a conservative spender, I am also a saver. I have spent years (since I was 16) building up my savings. I am trying to encourage Inspector Gadget to do the same. I do not want to spend them all on one day. When we get back to the UK, we want to buy a house, at least one car, a new computer (I have finally agreed to this, it really is dying) and goodness knows what else. We also have to get tickets back to the UK, and want to have a great honeymoon. Ideally, we'd like to be able to eat at the end of all this.

Lindsay has a much better approach on her blog frugal wed. A wedding is a short to medium term saving goal, and so should account for between 10 and 20% of your post tax income for the time you are planning it (e.g. a year). 

Having found most of our wedding vendors, we are on track for that budget. My slightly-less-conservative-spending dad tells me my budget is "optimistic" at £8500, but he is happy we can do it for £10,000. So I'm trying to ignore the screaming in my head go along with that.

Then he and my future in-laws threw a couple of spanners into the works. They offered us money. 

This was unexpected for several reasons that its not fair to discuss here. It means that we don't have to contribute as much of our own savings towards the wedding. When my dad told me this, he also told me that "it doesn't mean you can release the shackles." He knows me pretty well, and it was a bit of a joke as I would never be able to do that. It doesn't matter to me whose money we are spending on the wedding, we are not wasting it. Having said that, we are very, very lucky to have such awesome parents, and the contributions will be gratefully received. It means we might actually have enough money for a house deposit, so after the wedding we can start married life in our own home. Debt free. How great does that sound?

(Note: We're lucky as we earn good money, even in NZ where salaries are often lower. Circumstances - the UK property market - have conspired against us though, and even with that we are going to struggle to buy a house)


Guess who! said...

It's not a case of being a "less conservative spender" but thinking that your budget, while being realistic for the most part, is likely to be a bit optimistic in some areas.

Ainhoa @ALittleBite said...

I found you through Rogue Bride... it's awesome that you published your budget. I'm still a bit scared to do so! But once I check that everything will cost more or less what I expect (since we're self catering it's a bit hard to calculate) I'll definitely do it. Hopefully we'll spend less than half the average!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out!

My Dad decided to give us money too, and it also changed the scenario a bit. My first impulse was to not touch a cent of a it and dedicate it all towards the house deposit fund. And then he said I wasn't allowed to do that :) It's very kind of him, because without his help we would not be able to afford to have a wedding right now. The amount I'm spending on the wedding is still a bit too low for my dad to be comfortable too.

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