Thursday, October 4, 2012

The budget: from estimated to actual

I started with an estimated (some might say idealistic or even naive) budget of £8500. My dad convinced me this was optimistic at best, but I couldn't work out where to allocate extra money. I ended up with a working budget of £10,000; £8500 allocated and £1500 contingency.

Now we have most of the numbers, we can turn this estimated budget into a real life costing. Our venue has finalised their prices for next year, we have a fairly good idea of guest numbers and all the other big items have been confirmed. As my dad predicted, we are going to go over my initial number, but it looks like we will stay within budget overall.

There are a few costs that remain unknown. We may have to pay extra to heat the church (I find this quite funny, but that's beside the point), and I don't know how much the hairdressers will be. There is still some slack in the budget, but not a huge amount. This, I imagine, is the point where couples lose sight of costs and end up going over budget.

I think it is the myriad of small things that push the budget boundaries, rather than the more obvious big costs. I am trying hard to enter every single cost onto the spreadsheet to ensure this doesn't happen. This includes items like socks (£3) and craft templates (£5). However, not everyone (for that read no one!) shares my precision, and I keep having to remind my mum to keep track of what she's spending. I think she's having too much fun to think about budgeting - probably a common theme with weddings!

The bulk of our money is going towards the items we prioritised early on in the process. The food and wine total is just over half of the total cost, and comes wrapped in a venue full of character. The photography, ceremony and disco make up 20%. The fun elements haven't cost very much, and have probably allowed us to save money, so the bulk of the remaining money has gone on what everyone is wearing (17%).

The realities of the costs leave me in two minds. I feel pleased that we will be spending less than half the national average on our wedding, but annoyed that one day costs so much money. Still, eloping was never an option and if we can have an awesome day for all our friends and family, it will be worth every penny. Hopefully!

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