How to get the most from your wedding budget and keep smiling... Let’s not beat around the bush; wedding planning can be bloody hard work, and the budgeting can seem like a monumental task. It can seem a bit like a round of the Crystal Maze that if you were watching in the comfort of your home, you’d scream at the TV about how challenging and unfair it was on the poor contestants, apart from you are the contestants and suddenly you have to make your dreams come true out of x thousand pounds. Part of what I love about being a wedding photographer is that I can help you with advice about the general running of the day – I’ve seen a fair few now! – and this certainly includes the budgeting beforehand too. If you’re looking for a how to make the budget stretch to every last piece article, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for friendly advice from your local Kent documentary wedding photographer on how to maximise your wedding budget and minimise your budget stress – you’re in for a treat! Work out your priorities First and foremost, sit down with your fiancé(e) and discuss what’s most important to you both. You may find that you’re both pretty much aligned with what you want and that making decisions is going to be a breeze, but prepare yourself for some areas of disagreement. Make sure you’re candid with each other about what you care about, and make it seem less scary by treating it as an excuse for a nice date night. Get rid of unnecessary elements Weddings are about as old as time itself, so there’s a lot of literature out there on what you must have or what you should include – ignore these. Bar a legal ceremony (and a great natural documentary photographer…) there’s nothing else you simply have to include to make it a wedding, so do it your way. This includes well-meaning advice from family and friends! Allow margins in your wedding budget The appealing thing to do is budget down to the last penny from the very start, but unless you’re confident you’ve allowed for everything down to 70 first class stamps (which are 67p now, don’t you know) slightly overcalculate how much things are to give yourself some cushioning. You’ll be glad of it when things do inevitably run over, and if they don’t you’ve suddenly given yourself an extra pot of money for some last minute bits. That can never be a bad thing! Get creative with your wedding budget and get crafty If you have a creative tendency, or know people who do, unleash this beast for your wedding. Homemaking things can save you money but it also makes for great quality time together – why not gather all your pals round for a day of DIY? If you think they’d be up for it, ask friends and family to join the cause and keep an eye out for any knick knacks you may be in need of. Just be aware that DIY takes time – that’s why it costs more to get it from professionals, who are pricing their time into it too. Make sure you’ve got capable manpower to do it in a realistic timeframe, and you can shave some dollar off.* Less can be more with styling It can be tempting to stockpile loads and loads of tiny things to fill your venue to the brim, but this can actually be counterproductive, ads they can often get lost in the bigger space whilst staying unnoticed and underappreciated by your guests. Instead, think about one big, eye-catching focal piece . Not only is it a great styling tip, but it usually means you’ll save money in the long run. Combine things Why not try and plan your elements so they can tick two boxes at once? Have a cocktail making station to combine an interactive element, décor and drinks, or make the favours decorative boxes for the cakes they can take home later. * A bonus round – don’t believe the Wedding myth And just a quick note on what I call the W-word, a conspiracy theory often bandied about that I’m sure you’ll have heard so far in your wedding planning journey. It’s the idea that suppliers suddenly arbitrarily whack on extra hundreds as soon as you mention the word wedding, just because they can. The only suppliers that do that are, frankly, the terrible ones, the ones that you should avoid at ALL costs. Wedding suppliers and supplies can cost a bit more than their celebratory event counterparts, yes, but this isn’t because your honeymoon period and joint bank account are being taken advantage of. You want suppliers who will treat your wedding with care and consideration, and who’ll treat it as importantly as you are. Because weddings are important, pivotal events, there’s an extra level of care that they require, and this is why they can be more expensive than the events that seem most comparable. Most suppliers wouldn’t treat a wedding the same as they would a baby shower, for example, and that’s because they’re nowhere near the same thing. Which makes sense, really.