Money worries are real, and never more than when you decide to throw an all-inclusive party for 100 people. Of course, weddings in 2023 aren’t cookie cutter (REJOICE) which means you can choose what you want and how much you’re willing to spend, but nevertheless, anything to do with finances should come with a warning sign.
Money talks – so why do I hate doing the same?
Why? Because the numbers suggest many of us are in debt, and even those who are in the black have an aversion to talking money.
If your parents didn’t openly chat about finances, or discussions were strained, financial silence will have become a learnt behaviour.
There is also those 12 years in an education system that teaches you how to use a soldering iron and order a sandwich in three European languages, but nothing about money or financial vocabulary.
So it’s no surprise that when it comes to thinking or dealing with cash, especially navigating decisions with the input of a significant other, stress follows.
The debt Charity StepChange has revealed that over 70% of its clients reported having low energy and insomnia. Those with money worries don’t just lose sleep over their finances, but cite physical symptoms, too – 65% reported headaches and 42% described feeling aches and pains.
And for those who are planning for an event with a deadline but shying away from the numbers side, such as the wedding budget? ‘Procrastinating over something that needs your full attention leads to stress, which can manifest in the form of chronic headaches, weight gain and acne,’ says Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, consumer psychologist at UCL.
Set your wedding budget early
A simple way to summarise my thoughts of spending a shitload of money on a wedding is to reference that Friends episode where Chandler pushes back when Monica demands they spend his life savings on a ‘party’. Are you kidding, you self-obsessed high-maintenance wench?! Want to go large? You should have saved your OWN money, Geller.
And so it was with this attitude that my partner and I began talking. We didn’t set a wedding budget per se or an itemised breakdown of what we’d spend on what - though there were multiple times where we both agree in hindsight it would have been helpful to do that so you know exactly where you’re at.
During wedding planning there are times when you want to buy without necessarily telling the other how much you’ve spent/what you’ve bought - it can tricky. However, we agreed that we’d be willing to spend a percentage of our shared savings, plus whatever we could save in the ten months of planning.
Looking back, I think it was a winner decision, because not only did it mean we discussed what we were willing to spend on the day, but it encouraged us to think how much money we’d ideally have in a pot to start our married life together. Which, in my opinion, is far more important than choosing whether to serve the pork or beef.
Creating a wedding budget spreadsheet/notebook
I have never been an Excel girl – Word will forever be my jam – but I am now a formulaic, colour-coding goddess. And I’m certain if I hadn’t made the transition, I’d have had a meltdown.
You need to see figures written down, whether it’s in a spreadsheet, app or wedding scrapbook you’ve had since you were eight. There’s too much other stuff flying around your brain for it to be responsible for mathematical equations.
It’s also worth making sure, whatever amount you decide and however you format your budget, make it work for you. I had a few friends forward over their own planners when I got engaged and it just didn’t work – their itemised priorities were not mine.
Start from scratch and keep it between you and your partner, or perhaps a parent or sibling if they’re heavily involved in the planning process.
Little tweaks to a wedding budget can make a big difference
Once you’ve worked out what you can afford to put aside, set up a standing order to move that amount into a savings account as soon as you’ve been paid. ‘If you keep it sloshing around in your current account, you’ll just be tempted to spend it,’ says Clare Francis, director of savings and investments at Barclays.
Tech can also be your friend: Moneybox is a micro-investing app that rounds up purchases (like your £1.80 morning coffee) to the nearest pound, then invests the extra change in stocks and shares. On average, users put aside £8.40 a week – or a cushy £440 a year. (moneyboxapp.com).
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