One thing I was very lucky with when it came to my own wedding was the fact that my now husband planned it for the most part. I can honestly say though that if we had been on don’t tell the bride ratings would have plummeted because he got everything right, all the way down to the last little detail.

That doesn’t mean however that I don’t know what went in to planning it and what to look out for when planning your own wedding, there were several things we learnt along the way and many of these were little obstacles we had to overcome in either the very early or very late stages of planning.

In my 12 things to do now you’re engaged post I mentioned that one of the first things you should do is to plan a budget, I also said to get your guest list in order  and start considering vendors for your big day. To help you out with this I have created this spreadsheet (with the help of Numbers by Apple) which includes tabs for your budget, savings, guest list, vendors and to do list.

In this I have tried to cover everything you need to think of in your budget. We forgot to factor in several things when we were planning our budget, things like your hotel the night before our wedding, dress alterations and wedding lingerie (let’s face it we are so caught up in the dress we don’t even think of it).

Below are some of the main things to think about, there are so many though that I will go over each of them in more detail separately.


Your wedding venue

Your wedding venue will be one of the biggest spends of your wedding day and this is where I think you need to take most notice when it comes to your budget. There are certain things you need to consider, what is the maximum capacity for the venue – does this tally with your guest list, does the venue provide it’s own caterers? if so do you have to use them or can you outsource this to someone else, do they provide anything else such as a DJ or venue styling? if so is this to your taste? can you bring your own alcohol? if so what is the corkage charge (make sure to check that if there is no corkage charge that there is also no cost for this through the caterers so you don’t get caught out). These little things will make a big difference to your end budget, especially if you fork out for a venue that includes in their cost a DJ or decor but you decide you don’t like it – what a waste of money.

Amanda Forman Photography - Wedding Budget


Your flowers and venue decor

This is something to take some time to think about. Whilst you can have a look at different florists and wedding stylists you should have a think about the type of wedding you are going for. Do you want flowers everywhere or are you going for something with a more rustic feel and less of the massive floral displays. This will really make a difference when it comes to planning how much to set aside in your budget. If big floral displays are your thing but you are trying to stick within a certain budget why not consider having the flowers from your ceremony moved over to your reception venue? Another thing to consider is that some wedding stylists will have good contacts with florists and may even be able to do the flowers themselves so if you know you are going to need some help with styling your venue it is always good to connect with the stylist first. Check out Ellene from Stylenvy on my little white book page.


Your wedding stationery

Once you have chosen your venue and have the date and guest list sorted you need to get inviting those guests. If your wedding is over a year away it is worth sending out save the dates to your guest list – be careful though – make sure you stress test the list – if you think there is even the smallest chance you won’t be in touch with that person in a year then should you really be inviting them to the wedding? A save the date with no invite to follow could be embarrassing. Your save the date should just show the date of the wedding and the location so people can plan if they need to travel, no need to worry about timings, your main invite will cover all of that. For the rest of the wedding you will need things like table numbers, place names (it is a good idea to add peoples menu choices on to the back of these so there are no questions on the day as to what people have ordered) and of course not forgetting the table plan. We used Eaton stationery for our wedding invites and this is a supplier that I thoroughly recommend. They were beyond helpful to us.

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning


Your wedding dress and his wedding suit

Now – THE DRESS – If you are anything like me then this is something you will have daydreamed about since you were little. Your ideas for what you want will have been constantly changing and to be honest, until you have been and tried on several different dresses your ideas will continue to change. Your budget for your dress, as much as you can try and keep it to a certain amount is going to change if you fall in love with a certain dress so my advice is, if you really cant afford the extra £500 or £1000 for the dress you are about to try on then don’t – because once you love it there is no going back.

The Bridesmaid dresses, think about how many bridesmaids you want, and at the same time take in to consideration wether or not you are paying for their dresses – this could end up being very costly.

The Groom and his groomsmen. Often the guys end up getting their suit as a rental and hire them from the same place. The groom should always stand out though so encourage your groom to choose a different cravat colour and pocket square, or even a completely different suit to the groomsmen – I recently shot a wedding where the groom wore tweed – it was fantastic. Again, when budgeting you need to consider if you will be paying for the suits for the groomsmen (hint – this is usually the done thing)


Your photographer

Other than your venue, your photographer is one of the first things you should book. We book at least a year in advance and dates from April through to September are our busiest times. I would always suggest to meet your photographer in person, or at the very least by Skype prior to booking. It is so important that you get along and that your photographer understands what you are looking for.

At the end of the day, after your wedding, the food is eaten, the vows have been made, the decorations cleared and the first dance danced. The only lasting thing that can be passed down from generation to generation is your wedding album. This is why it is so important to choose the right photographer for you, and to get your photos printed and displayed in a beautiful album.

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
Amanda Forman Photography - Magician
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning


Your entertainment

Entertainment is a perfect addition to any wedding and it really gives your wedding the wow factor but what should you choose? There are so many options.

  • A magician will delight your guests and leave them talking about his tricks all evening (see my magician recommendation here)
  • Or you could opt for a caricaturist, we had one at our wedding and our guest loved it, they were able to take their images with them straight away and we got ours sent in the post after the wedding.
  • Musicians, you can opt for a harpist or violinists to play you down the aisle for that extra special addition. For the evening a band always goes down well. I have shot so many weddings where a band has been booked and can honestly say that those weddings have had the liveliest dance floors.

These are all additional items in your budget of course but they are all worth thinking about and will really add that something extra to your special day

I am going to leave this here for now. I will talk about each item on the wedding budget in so much more detail in separate blog posts but now of course for the bit you have been waiting for – the wedding budget planner itself. I have opted against adding any figures in to this – I don’t know your circumstances or the type of wedding you are looking for and if you have 50 people to your wedding your budget will usually differ greatly to a wedding having to cater for 100 plus people.

I have however added in all of the formulas so you just need to add in your numbers and it will work it all out for you. I have added everything you need to think about in your budget and if you don’t plan on having some of these in your wedding you can simply delete them. You will also find a tab for working out your savings so you can plan how much you need to save and when to make sure you are ready, a guest list tab and I have added a checklist for things you need to do in the run up to the wedding.

You can download the spreadsheet using one of the links below. Please enjoy and feel free to share this post with your fellow brides and grooms. xx

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning

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