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Planning a DIY Wedding - What to include in your wedding budget when planning your own wedding?

Planning your own wedding is a task of its own, now throw in a wedding budget, and then it becomes something more serious than you ever imagined. So, if you are tackling your wedding planning DIY style then you will want to save this blog for when you come to set your wedding budget.

1. You want to consider proportioning a large part of your budget for Venue & Catering

When planning your own wedding sometimes we can get a little carried away with the final vision. So we may consider starting with more aesthetically pleasing parts of the planning process. However, sitting down with your fiancé and anyone else who may be contributing to your budget is a great way to start as planning your own wedding can be stressful when the word budget comes up. Venues and catering in London are not the cheapest and so prepare for this to be the two largest parts of your budget. Unless you are considering a smaller wedding, together they usually total to 50% of your budget spend. But of course, it does not have to be your main priority when hosting your wedding, so it does not have to account for this high if you do not wish for it too.

2. There are so many options when you start factoring your stationery choices

You can spend months on end looking at these when planning your own wedding. Firstly, consider the type of couple you are, and determine whether you will be modern and break the rules by sending online invites (which can be free) or are you traditional and know that your family and loved ones will accept nothing but a handwritten invite in the post – this tends to be the more costly option but if you are planning your own wedding you can determine this priority within your budget.   

3. This tends to be one of the last supplier sourcing couples do when planning your own wedding, but I cannot let you forget about your choice of entertainment.

It is so easily done, don’t worry! There are so many elements to consider before focusing on choosing your entertainment – but it doesn’t mean keeping it in the dark on your budget. If hiring a live R’n’B band has been top of your list for years, then add it into your budget as a priority. That way you can reserve this amount for when the time comes without you feeling guilty (as genuinely this tends to be one of the last parts of your supplier finding that you do and then compromising happens – and we do not want that).

4. When you start planning your own wedding the flower & decoration elements tend to be the most expensive without even thinking about it yet.

This is because we have always dreamt about our wedding day and now throw all the beautiful inspiration from previous and styled weddings who can be blamed. So my advice, keep it simple and then add a statement decoration or floral piece that can double up as a photo backdrop like I always do with my clients that way you can make an impact and wow your guests even if you have limited your budget.  

5. Will you be planning your own wedding away from your home location? If so, it is time to add to your transport and accommodation.

This is normally another forgotten factor until the last minute. It is so important to consider how you expect you, your fiancé, your wedding party, and your guests will get to your venue locations. Will you be having a private wedding car; will it be the same transport to your ceremony and your reception from home? You should also consider if your ceremony will be different to your reception venue and the distance in between. If you factor this into your budget from the beginning, you will have a smooth ride (pun intended).

6. The rule of thumb: you generally pay for what you get when you choose a wedding -photographer and videographer.

Well, 98% of the time anyway. Sometimes you may get an introductory offer from a brilliant supplier who has more passion and skill than the rest. My best tip: how important is it for you to have memories you can look back on forever? When the time comes, you will need to distinguish if you have a favored editing style, if you wish for a photo album or would you prefer it all via online transfer. There are many factors that will differentiate the price quotes you receive.

7. What’s a wedding without a bit of cake?

Or a lot of it in my case! I went cake crazy. And so, might you! I paid £1450 for my cake. This may sound ludicrous to you, but imagine a 5-tier cake, 7 flavors, and a beautifully delicate, replication of my wedding dress with the train flowing down all tiers. Yep, that is what my cake was worth! So, if you love cake like me, then average between £600 - £1800 of your budget to cake (after all, isn’t this what the guests look forward to most after the best man’s speech?).

8. The dress looks nice on you.

This was my 2nd biggest spend besides my venue and catering, so please converse with your partner about how you both plan on showing up in style. Are you both high street lovers or bespoke fashionistas, ultimately it doesn’t matter as long as there are no surprise price tags which means the other may have to compromise further? Under this category when planning your own wedding, it is worth also thinking about hair, make-up, and beauty treatments, and yes this includes both partners.

9. Marriage fees blah, blah, and more blah…

But, it is so easily forgotten, and trust me it can really add up once you start thinking about this bit. Now, it may not cost you this much but I always advise my clients to budget a minimum £600 to cover all relevant parts:

  • Serving notice

  • Marriage certificates

  • Registrar/officiant

  • Venue/Church

And you may even want a celebrant led ceremony instead. Think about it!

10. And those are a few of my favourite things… Your favours & gifts!

When you choose to plan your own wedding, it may be hard to establish if your budget is tight. If you think it is, skip this bit. However, if this has always been a part you have been looking forward to, then add it in. Create a budget per person and stick to it, as this is usually the last on the list to purchase and then we run out of money and stress. My number 1 tip is, consider who you will be gifting and when.

11. Wedding Bands to seal the deal.

Last but not definitely not least, your wedding bands. Start doing some research, visit some shops, and try rings on. Get an idea of how much wedding bands can cost, as it all depends on the style you like (like most things). Most bands need 6 to 8 weeks to be ordered in the least common sizes, or if you plan to have your band customised with diamonds or engravings. So, it is worth discussing this first with jewelers so you have a good idea early on.

I hope you found the introduction to planning your own wedding budget useful and helps you create your own. Remember, when setting your budget, it is not set in stone and can be amended whenever you feel suits. But, always go back and review at the end of each month with your partner to ensure you are fail-proofing your wedding day plans.

Do not forget if you are feeling the unnecessary pressure of planning your own wedding than I do offer an Introduction to Wedding Planning if you plan to champion wedding planning alone but would love some personal support here and there.

Akilah x

Photography credits to Lauren Henson Photography one of my trusted suppliers x

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