The last year has certainly been stressful for those who were planning their wedding. Covid-19 restrictions meant guest numbers had to be reduced, venues were changed – often at the last minute – and honeymoons were paired back. But if you’re planning your wedding post the pandemic then now could be a good time to start planning and saving for your special occasion.
It's one of the most important and joyful days of your life. A celebration with your nearest and dearest, which means it can also be one of the more expensive days you’ll share as a couple.
So, how can you avoid being overwhelmed by it all? It’s quite simple really. Once you have said ‘I do’ (or even before, if you know it’s coming), commit to a solid savings plan.
After you’ve laid out your plan you can focus on what’s truly important; a special day to remember with your family and friends.
How much will it cost?
First things first, you need to decide how much you’ll need. The dress, the flowers, the photographer, the hen, the stag, the venue, the food, the band, the list seems endless. And of course, it all needs to be paid for!
It’s easy to get bogged down in the detail at this point, so… don’t. Be realistic about what you can afford. According to weddingsonline.ie survey, the average cost of a wedding in Ireland comes is approximately €25,000 (honeymoon included). You will need to sit down together and decide what it is you want. Get quotes from suppliers so that your savings goal will be accurate.
Now, with an exact figure of how much the special day will cost, write it down. Put it on the fridge. Put it on your screensaver. Put it on a post-it at your desk. Having an exact amount to aim for will make this whole process easier. The key to the exercise is: be specific.
An important note here, make sure you budget for extra expenses. 50% of couples spend more on a wedding than they had planned, according to weddingsonline.ie. Having a little extra on the run up to the big day will make the world of difference to your stress levels and ensure you don’t blow a hole in your budget.
Now that you know how much everything will cost and you have itemised your budget, here comes the tricky part: you need to stick to it.
Yes, the flower displays with orchids from Peru on the TV last night are gorgeous but they’re not in the budget. A trip to Spain for the hen would absolutely be a blast, but that wasn’t in the budget either. Anyway, the weekend in Killarney that you have budgeted for will be even better craic!
Saving means money
For better or worse, the money has to come from somewhere. It can be hard to see where you can make savings to fund your big day. While it may not be the most exciting way to spend an evening, spend an hour or two each week with your spouse-to-be reviewing your budget. Share a takeaway and a bottle of wine. Make a date of it.
First things first, record your cash flow. Each week make a note of everything you spend. Try and find some outgoings that you can reclassify as unnecessary expenses - that coffee and bagel every morning (€5 x 5 days a week x 4 weeks a month = €100 per month). Reducing a few of these will get you well on the way to hitting your target.
It’s also a great opportunity to get a handle on your finances in general. Using our budget calculator, you’ll quickly realise that saving for your wedding can be done with no debt, no stress and still having something nice on a Saturday night.
The bigger non-essential purchases are also worth looking at. That city break to London can be postponed, Madrid isn’t going anywhere, and do you really need that new 60-inch TV? These small sacrifices all add up and some of them could potentially make their way to your wedding present list. The point is to focus on the future and how wonderful your big day will be.
You don’t have to DO the saving
Reducing your spending can be hard. Saving on the other hand is something that can be done relatively easily. Sure, the first few months will be a pain. Your goal may seem like a tall order. Once you start saving two things will happen.
Firstly, after a month or so you won’t even miss the direct debit going out of your bank account. It will be as if you never had the money in the first place.
Instead of saving from what’s left over at the end of the month, set aside your savings first. Automate it. It’s all about peace of mind. If you’ve already put aside your set amount, then you don’t have to stress for a whole month trying to save for it. It’s that old adage of ‘cutting your cloth according to your means’.
Set up a direct debit and pay into your savings account at the start of the month, then forget about it.
As the savings plan becomes part of your routine, the psychology of saving changes from trying not to spend, to spending what you have more wisely. No hassle or stress and less temptation to spend on things that ultimately will give you far less joy than your perfect wedding day.
More than 60 percent of couples rely on savings to pay for their wedding, so using a savings plan will be a massive help in reaching your goal (weddingsonline.ie survey).
Secondly, because you are saving regularly you will begin to see progress toward your goal. The key word here is ‘regularly’.
Another massive benefit to this approach is the creation a new habit, the habit of saving money.
Ideally, this should become a long-term habit. Once the wedding is paid for the savings will continue automatically towards your first house, the upgrade to the family home, renovating your current home and all the other life events that are waiting in your future.
Saving can be fun
Share your successes together. By using a savings plan you can check your progress online or through an app. Seeing how much you’ve managed to save over several months will really help motivate you.
When you hit the halfway point, celebrate. Treat yourselves to a dinner out or a night away. This is a great saving opportunity to learn how to save as a couple. You’ll both be more prepared when it comes time to save for bigger purchases in your new life together.
Before the beef or salmon hits the table, set up a savings plan to make your wedding day a stress-free celebration. It doesn’t have to be a slog, it just takes a little bit of planning.