Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Budget Revisited

About six months ago, I shared our wedding budget with you.  Jon and I would have loved to see how other couples broke down their wedding budgets as we dipped our toes into the planning process so that we had something to guide us, and I hope that our learning experience might be useful for some of you!  (If you want to see more examples, A Practical Wedding has recently begun publishing some case studies at different price points and they do seem informative, though it's too late for us to start from scratch even if we wanted to.)  As you'll see, we have made a few significant changes on our own through trial and error and good fortune since July...

The first change is that we expanded our guest list to a more inclusive number of friends and family; that's why the line for The Movable Feast has gone up.  It's actually increased more than it appears above because the cheese table was incorporated into the catering back in July but we've since separated it out into its own item.  We met with a wonderful baker, Michelle from Vanilla Patisserie, whose prices were a bit more than we had expected in part, I think, because I didn't understand what the options were outside of London.  We found our amazing designer, Caroline, on Etsy - I've written about her here and here - and we decided to work only with Pink Orchid on all of our stationery and signage rather than counting that as miscellaneous decor and using other vendors, so the budget line for that has gone up, too.  (Jon and my mother also reined in my decor fantasies, but that's a post for another time...)  Tarah Coonan, our wonderful photographer, was one of the first vendors we booked, so that hasn't changed.  Attire has increased because in September we chose JCrew gowns for Sarah and Ellie - so worth it!

Now for the biggest changes: a very generous family member has given us a phenomenal string quartet to play for our ceremony as a wedding gift, which totally shifted numbers around.  We decided that, in the end, we don't actually need any more decor than we already have with the flowers (and everything else our incredible new florist is doing - you'll hear more about the happy disaster that led us to her in the spring) and the signage that Caroline is helping us with and the natural beauty of the barn at Bruisyard Hall.  Somehow we had totally forgotten to factor the cost of our wedding rings into the budget - oops.  And, finally, our cushion has decreased a little as we've moved money around.

The exchange rate was scary for a little while back in the fall and through the winter - when we last touched base about this in July, we were at $1.55/£1, but it peaked since then at about $1.63/£1.  Thank goodness it's fallen again to $1.52/£1!  Like I said before, our budget is in dollars but most of our money is spent in pounds sterling, so it's something we have to watch.  I haven't changed the formula in our spreadsheet, though, so if the exchange rate keeps falling we might find ourselves with some money left over at the end!  (I had been factoring it out at $1.6/£1 just to be safe since the beginning.)

I know this post is a bit dry, dear readers, and I'm sorry if this has bored you or made you uncomfortable, as talking about money often can!  But budgeting is a crucial part of wedding planning and I'll be glad if even one couple finds this useful.  And, as always, do let me know if you have suggestions on how to manage all of this!  I do love my spreadsheets but I also get carried away on Pinterest, so I need all the help I can get!


  1. I was sitting here thinking "that's a lot of money for a ring cushion" because I'm a bit stupid this morning and haven't had enough coffee!
    I love spreadsheets, and I was so particular about our finances. Just don't forget to add yourselves to the guestlist so you're included in your food budget ;)

  2. ooh, cheese table!
    ...and that's about all the commentary I have to offer on this. my brain saw "cheese" and then nothing else mattered.

  3. I love that you shared this!! Mine is very similar to yours. My venue + catering is about 60%. My bridal attire/makeup/hair is 7%. My stationary is 2%. Music 7%. Cake 1%. etc. etc. However my photography was a big one at 14%!!! yikes. :) Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

  4. La Chapstick FanatiqueFebruary 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    wedding expenses can get out of control so it is good you are keeping yourself pretty much in budget! this is an awesome break down.

  5. of course - I really hope it helps other couples, even if it just reassures them that they're not being really strange in how they budget :)

  6. haha! I can just imagine the look of absolute horror and confusion if I told Jon we needed to put aside money for a ring cushion. Some things are better left out of his hands...

  7. Thank you thank you thank you. I find it so helpful when people talk about (real) wedding budgets (especially trans-currency ones!) I find it endlessly fascinating.

  8. YAY GOOD YAY! I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have via email if you want.

  9. So I read this on my phone but made sure to come back on my computer to add in my "ME TOOOOOOOO" in excitement over the cheese table. I think Kaity and I should have our own cheese get-together the same night as your wedding. You can live stream it while we eat ALL THE CHEESE! :)

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  12. Thank you for sharing this information - I actually found it really fascinating! It looks like you are "technically" underbudget right now which is wonderful. Since I am now post-wedding, maybe I will share my final numbers just to give some perspective?

  13. technically! I'm trying really hard not to throw all the little extras (a coach from the station to the venue, etc) into the cushion, so we'll see... but I'd love to hear insight from the other side of things!

  14. This is so helpful, i will show it my daughter as she is getting married next year, and she and her fiancé are funding it themselves. There is just so much to consider these days in a wedding, back in 1980, when i got married it was so much simpler, and cheaper, comparatively of course lol

    I wondered if you would like to follow each other as I thought as I had lived in the US for 10 years and I am now back home in england we may have things in common. I followed you on bloglovin but I couldn't see a GFC link, did I miss it or don't you use it?

    Angela x

  15. thanks, Angela! it's definitely a difference landscape out there. I do have a GFC link - it's the little gray "follow" button under the red "follow" heading on the sidebar - I just got rid of the numbers/names! I look forward to checking out your blog :)

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