It’s hard to ignore the link between wedding planning and stress. According to research by Zola, 96% of newlyweds found wedding planning to be stressful. NINETY-SIX PERCENT?! And, surprise surprise, the number one contributing factor was wedding finances. I can’t profess to be an expert, but having photographed over 100 weddings to date, I definitely have some experience under my belt. If you or someone you know is getting married, buckle in.
We’re about to get real.
Here are some of Hank’s hot tips to reduce financial wedding stress.
1. Setting the budget
Ever heard of SMART goals? Well, setting your wedding budget is today’s first SMART goal. Your budget will need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
First up, it would be unwise to pick a number out of thin air. Let’s be realistic. I’ve taken the liberty of doing some research on your behalf. In 2012, research done by Moneysmart showed that the average cost of a wedding $36,200 AUD. I’ve gone ahead and adjusted that for today’s terms, which equals $41,124 AUD.
Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means an indication of what you HAVE to spend. Merely the average amount that Australian couples are spending as of 2012. I have photographed my fair share of weddings on a budget, and some of them have been extremely intimate and romantic. Likewise, I have photographed weddings with budgets well in excess of $100K. So no matter where you sit on the spectrum, it’s SMART to figure it out sooner rather than later.
Hank’s Hot Tip: Having a single figure is going to be extremely challenging to work to when considering all the purchasing options. I would recommend choosing a bracket (i.e. $40K-$45K) which gives you space to stretch if you stumble across the perrrrrfect wedding dress that is slightly beyond your initial budget.
2. Pick your top 5.
Another SMART goal (sort of). I’ve spoken about this in an earlier blog post, but the reason I mention it again is because of how effective it is. Here is how it works:
- You and your partner get together and each writes down your own “top 5” things you want for the wedding. Options could include a photographer (ding ding ding!), food, flowers, makeup, venue, cars, DJ, celebrant, cake, clothing etc.
- Then you will compare each other’s top 5, and see what you have in common. If you both wrote down flowers and a DJ, then voila! You already have two that you agree on!
- Finally, you will have a conversation about each remaining item you’ve written down until you have a happy compromise. This method will absolutely help reduce financial wedding stress by prioritising what to spend your money on.
Hank’s Hot Tip: For me, I already know that live music is at the top of my list (okay, maybe a photographer is at the top, but I’m trying not to be biased). I wrote an entire blog post about why live music is great at a wedding.
3. Ask your vendors about payment plans
So your wedding is 12 months away. Splitting up payments across 12 months is certainly an easy way to budget appropriately. Be sure to speak with your vendors about their payment terms, and ask if you can make regular payments rather than needing to pay a stack of lump sums 28 days before the wedding.
Payment plans are a win-win for both you and the business owner, as it breaks down your large expenses and it guarantees regular cash flow for the business! Cashflow baby! This is why I have made payment plans the default option for all of my new clients.
WARNING: Don’t let the lure of “Afterpay” and similar setups put your finances in a compromising position. Paying off your wedding should never be more important than rent and food on the table.
- Open bar? Consider limiting the choices of bevvys you are willing to pay for. Perhaps keep the 50-year-old Glenfiddich off the list.
- Got a lot of mouths to feed? Consider a vegetarian menu. Both your wallet and the planet will thank you for it.
- In fact, there are plenty of eco-friendly decisions you can make regarding your wedding which will also help your bottom line. Read more about how to plan an environmentally friendly wedding here.
Henry Paul is a wedding photographer based in Sydney, Australia. You can find out more about him here.