Despite what you may have been told dont be tempted to jump ahead and book a venue for your reception or put down a deposit. You will need a budget first and know how many guests you intend inviting.
Preparing a budget
Your first task is to draw up a budget.
Here are some suggestions on how to approach this:
Divide your budget into three main categories.
1. Wedding ceremony
Under these main categories you will have sub-categories such as flowers, transport, entertainment etc.
Under each category itemise everything line by line. Next to each item put the approximate cost. This can be the amount you wish to spend. Later you will have to get quotes in order to get a more realistic figure.
Itemising your budget is important because later on you may want to reduce the budget and by looking at every item you can decide which items you can cut or trim.
Decide on your budget
The wedding reception, for example, will be your most costly item and the cost will depend on how many guests you are going to invite and how much you want to spend per head.
The main costs will include the venue, food and drink and entertainment. There will also be other costs such as decorations, flowers and a wedding cake. Look at the details and ask yourself, for example, will you want table service or a buffet, as the cost will vary depending on which you choose.
Think of the type of reception you want. Theme receptions are popular and you can have a lot of fun with these, but remember they will add to the cost of your reception.
When you have decided go out and visit different venues and ask them to give you a quote.
If this sounds daunting, dont worry. You may have friends who have been married recently. Talk to them and they will be able to give you an idea of costs.
Tips for saving money
Weddings are big business and there are many companies supplying everything you can possibly need for your dream wedding. Shop around and dont be afraid to ask lots of questions and get quotes.
If at all possible avoid getting married in busy wedding periods such as the spring and summer, as you will have more chance to bargain and get better deals if you get married in the off-season. Also you are more likely to get the venue of your choice in this period.
Buy items in bulk. For small weddings this may be difficult but for weddings of 100 guests and more buying in bulk is a good way of saving money. Companies will offer discounts if you buy in bulk. However, always remember to ask as not all companies are forthcoming in this way.
Hiring a Wedding planer may also save you money. Although you will have to pay them a fee they can save you a lot of time and money as they will know where to go for everything you need and be able to get it at the best price as they are dealing with these companies all the time.
Further more, their advice will be invaluable, as they will come up with ideas and give you options you may not have thought of.