COMMON BUDGET MISTAKES (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)
Too many brides fall into these traps – we won’t let you be one of them.
Don't fall into these traps
THE TRAP: Making a ‘vague’ budget
“Lots of couples come to me with a budget they picked out of the air,” says wedding planner Becks Murray from Envy Events (envyevents.co.nz). “Without fail, all of them end up spending more.” There are so many budget breakdowns online, Becks explains, (spend 20 per cent on your ceremony, 10 per cent on your photography – you’ve seen the ones). “You need to dig deeper than this, as there are too many variables with wedding planning,” she explains. For instance, that budget breakdown you found might be based on a guest count of 150 – if you’ve only got 80 guests, the breakdown’s recommended spend could be overkill. Keep your estimates accurate by getting real quotes from suppliers you would seriously consider using – and get them before setting your budget, suggests Becks.
THE TRAP: Rushing decisions
The more time you leave yourself to plan, the more time you’ll have to shop around, compare prices, and bargain with suppliers, says Abid Al-Atafi of Auckland’s North Shore Budget Services (nsbudget.co.nz). If you’re forced into making quick decisions, there’s a bigger chance you’ll change your mind and end up backtracking, or overspend when you could have found a better deal elsewhere.
THE TRAP: Swiping the wrong card
If you’re going to be making wedding purchases on a credit card, it needs to be one that is giving you the best deal. Take a close look at the interest rates, and consider seeking out an option that offers zero interest on big payments as part of its sign up package. It means you can get those hefty purchases sorted, then give yourself a more flexible pay- off period, explains a spokesperson from Gem Visa (gemvisa.co.nz). Just be sure to keep track of your balance and repayments to avoid unnecessary fees. Sign up to electronic statements so you’ll get this information in your inbox once a month, and make sure you have a solid idea of how much money you have available to spend before you make any unaffordable commitments, adds Abid. You need a good idea of what you are spending in everyday life so you can accurately ascertain what you can realistically afford to spend on a wedding.
THE TRAP: Choosing to skimp on the wrong things
The best budget is one that enables you to save money without compromising on the amount of enjoyment you get out of your day. Focus on elements that will create lasting memories, recommends Becks. “In short, try not to compromise on food, entertainment and reception décor,” she recommends. “A beautiful room, great food and a fun atmosphere will leave everyone with a lasting impression.” Conversely, skimp ruthlessly on aspects that are not deal breakers. Becks’ top recommendation? Ceremony décor. “You’ll spend the least amount of time at the ceremony, and the sole focus of photos will be
on the two of you,” she explains. She also recommends favours as the first things to be ditched: “Not only can they add up to be quite an expense, but they are often overlooked by guests and end up getting left behind.”
THE TRAP: Creating an overly simplistic breakdown
So you’ve budgeted $2000 for a dress – have you factored in how much alterations might cost? What about shoes? Will you need to invest in some special underwear for that strapless dress you had in mind? Are you buying a new hair piece? Without getting overwhelmed, it’s important to consider the specifics of each component of your big day – and it’s crucial to budget accordingly. It’s all too easy to assign a generic budget for one component – such as “attire” – and get caught up in spending the entire amount on your dress, not realising that all these little extras could add hundreds to your final bill.
THE TRAP: Slacking with your tracking
“Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets!” Enforces wedding planner Emma Newman (enweddings.co.nz). “In order to keep your budget on track, organisation is key,” she explains. “With each contract or invoice you receive, punch the dollar amount you are spending into your spreadsheet, so you have a constant running total.” As busy as you will get while planning your wedding – amid maintaining a social life and work commitments as everyday life marches on – it’s key that you don’t drop the habit of tracking your wedding spend. With so many balls in the air, you’ll be surprised at how much can slip from your mind. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise later down the track.
THE TRAP: Falling for false economies
It’s easy to assume DIY options will automatically be cheaper, but this isn’t always the case, warns Emma. While the hireage price of an all-inclusive venue might send you reeling, it’s important you consider the cost of creating an equivalent setting yourself. Hiring a marquee is always going to be cheaper than hiring a full-service venue – but what about table hireage? What about knives, forks, cutlery, sound systems, and everything else you’ll have to source? There are less extreme examples too: Venue A might feature stunning sea views, Tuscan-style courtyards, ornate chandeliers and lush greenery, but yes, it’s expensive – so Venue B, with its plainer courtyard and bare function room might seem more appealing. All you’ll need to do is hire a fairy light ceiling, rustic linen table cloths, and get your florist to create some additional floral décor such as centrepieces, right? Wrong, says Emma. “Before you look at the short-term, look first at the long term and suss how much extra money you’re going to need to spend to achieve a similar effect,” she advises.
Track your wedding spend! With so many balls in the air, you’ll be surprised at how much can slip your mind.