There are so many articles showing you how to hold your dream wedding on a budget. Pinterest is a frugal wedding rabbit hole and it is amazing how these resources support those planning a wedding on a budget.
The other extreme is large budget weddings that, if not for a wealthy family footing the bill, often end up on credit.
Let me open with this: we shouldn't shame people for wanting a wedding that costs £500 or £50,000. Your wedding budget is your choice. What you do need to ask yourself is: (A) Can you fund that budget in cash with no credit? (B) Can you easily hit your life goals whilst diverting money to the wedding budget? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then I believe you should bring the budget down to the point at which you can say yes to those questions.
So how can you actually pay for a luxury wedding in cash?
1. Sit down with your partner and discuss your life goals for the next 1-5 years.
Do you need to save for a home deposit, house renovation or house move?
Do you have travel goals?
Will you be needing money for study or education?
If you have any debt, what money do you need to become debt free?
Do you plan to start a business, change careers or reduce working hours?
Do you need to save for any hopeful maternity or paternity leave, or IVF treatment?
When you have these goals, and the money that it will take to achieve them over the next 5 years, it gives you more of an idea about how this should influence your wedding budget. Remember, you don't want the cost of a one-day event to impact the success of your combined life goals. The success of the marriage can't be at the expense of the success of a party!
2. Then, discuss what you want from an ideal wedding.
For example, my husband and I agreed that we would like the following as part of our ideal wedding:
Sunshine and travel, as its important to us
Immediate family and as many close friends as was possible
A large villa with breath-taking views (we holiday in large villas often and are more comfortable in that setting than a hotel)
Amazing food and complimentary drinks, especially as people had incurred cost coming all that way
Things that then weren't important:
- A band - we really aren't big music people so a DJ was fine
- A cake - we had a birthday cake instead for our youngest and we didn't even have any of that, so was a good choice!
- A make-up artist - I instead invested in a lesson at Charlotte Tilbury and was able to instead buy products that I can still use today.
- A brand new dress - my dress was a sample (I'd left it too late anyway for a new dress) and I was so glad, you literally couldn't tell).
- Favours / Candy Bars / general things that people say you must have at a wedding.
3. This then helped to form our list of wants.
We built the budget up from there to see what it would cost to get our "ideal" wedding. Inclusive of the cost of the travel and week's holiday after the wedding in Portugal, this took us to approximately £25k.
4. We then reviewed how long it would take us to pull together £25k.
This is at the same time being on maternity leave and saving for a house purchase.
Now, we had already painstakingly saved £12k for maternity leave as moving from two incomes to one was about to really hit our househould. During that time, we then worked really hard to not touch the £12k - it was like a self-discipline goal to not touch it. So we knew we already had £12k saved, and then had to roughly save up £1200 a month from the time of engagement to the time everything would need to be paid for - and so we did! Every single month, we put a small amount aside for our wider life goal - buying and renovating our home together - but more per month was put into the wedding fund.
If we hadn't had the £12k pot, we either would have (a) set the wedding date in 18 months-2 years (no longer), or (b) had a lower house deposit/renovation fund.
Hitting our goal, hosting our family and friends at the ideal wedding for us, all paid for in cash, was an incredible feeling.
We started married life debt free and with no regrets on anything we chose to have. 6 months before the wedding, we purchased our home and renovated it in phases over the past year - ensuring our life goals ticked over while we enjoyed the luxury wedding we wanted.
Pick the wedding you want, and can reasonably afford - anything else is no one's business but yours. This means agreeing what is important and what isn't.
Ensure the wedding budget doesn't impact important life goals - the wedding is not as important as the marriage.
Always request pool towels for your guests - so glad I did - I knew everyone would end up in the pool.