I got engaged on an amazing beach in Australia in 2007. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Within seconds we were calling our parents back home and texting our friends to share our exciting news. The next day, flying home, I went to the newsagent at the airport and spent the equivalent of €20 on wedding magazines to entertain me on the 19 hour journey home. From the moment I opened the first page, I knew our wedding would go over budget.
We had discussed getting married beforehand and we knew it would be expensive. I have a huge family and my now husband has a taste for fine wines, but little did we know just how much a wedding would cost and how much choice there was! From canapés to centrepieces and cars to cakes the choices available were incredible. I had no idea where to begin, but one thing I did know was that I wanted something different to any other wedding I’d been to before, and that was going to cost us.
It’s not easy keeping track of things when you’re working with 20 different suppliers and are often shocked when you get an invoice for something with added VAT that you hadn’t accounted for. That’s an extra 23% that instantly comes out of your budget!
That’s why budget trackers are essential. Your costs are ever changing and when you’re saving money by negotiating a good deal with your caterer, no doubt you will go and spend the savings on getting a better package with your photographer. It’s just impossible to keep track! Your wedding day is the most special day of your life and with everyone telling you that it’s YOUR day and you should do it the way YOU want to, naturally you want things to be perfect and you want only the best so it’s inevitable that you may end up going over your original budget, especially as you become exposed to the real cost of weddings. A standard bouquet from a florist may usually cost you €35, but the moment you say the word “wedding” the bouquet will magically turn itself into something that costs €60. The same applies to hairdressers, venues and lots of other wedding related businesses.
Fortunately for me, my fab fiancé was an accountant. A real spread sheet monster that was more than happy to devise our own budget tracker and tell me exactly what we could and couldn’t afford to have. This was before the days of wedding websites and free wedding tools online. I’m sure I would have taken a lot more interest in the numbers side of things had these fun and useful websites been around then.
A budget tracker will help you record all of your costs in one place, whether you’re planning on being flamboyant or frugal. With these you can tally everything from license fees to lingerie and they even recommend how much you should spend on each item based on other Irish couples and will break things down for you according to your actual budget. You can move costs around if you know you’re planning to spend more or less on certain things and you can even add in extra items that may not be listed. Who says you can’t have personalised love tattoos built into your budget!? You can even create multiple budgets to keep track of several events such as stag/hen dos, honeymoons and pre wedding dinners.
If the thought of numbers and budgets is still too daunting, then you could always just get yourself a wedding planner, or like me… an accountant as a fiancé!