At the weekend we were lucky enough to attend a wedding - in fact it was the second wedding celebration we have been to in just a few weeks and the pure joy of seeing friends so happy and able to celebrate their love amongst friends and family was something that we have missed hugely since the pandemic hit.
This week's blog is somewhat in recognition of those weddings and all the others that have been arranged, rearranged and postponed as a result of the restrictions we have been facing. But it is also very definitely relevant to me at the moment as my daughter is planning her own wedding, having said YES a couple of months ago!
It’s summer, so that means it’s wedding season….except 2021, just like 2020 has seen thousands of weddings postponed due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. New proposals continue with brand new wedding boards being created on Pinterest in earnest. But brides-to-be are vying for wedding venues and suppliers with couples who should be celebrating their first full year of wedded bliss, and who are yet to say “ I do”, with some already having been forced into changing the date of their nuptials 2 or 3 times already.
Add to the mix that overseas travel remains uncertain, meaning a destination ceremony is still pretty much out of the question. Plus, a huge number of wedding photographers, cake makers, live bands, florists and make up artists, to mention just a few of those people who rely on weddings to make their living, now need to make up for lost earnings. You can see that the basic economic rule of supply and demand is only going to push prices one way….in the short term at least.
With the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2019 being a staggering £32,000, it’s not hard to see that post pandemic celebrations are going to be costly.
So, now that you can finally start planning your wedding with a realistic chance of it going ahead, whether at the first attempt or the 4th, how can you make sure that you don’t get caught out financially? Here are my top tips (as recent guest, and future Mother-of-the-Bride!!)
1. Get wedding insurance. We have all seen how things can go against us. Dates change, suppliers sadly go out of business and that often comes with a loss of deposit, or full payment…and the need to then pay again. These can be significant costs that you may never recover. Wedding insurance, that can start at just £50, could be your best investment for peace of mind as we continue to face uncertainty.
2. Know your budget! Whether you are using your own savings, planning on taking out a loan, or expecting financial help and gifts from relatives, knowing how much you realistically have to spend on your big day can stop you getting carried away, and finding that you’ve run out of money before you’ve even written the guest list. If you’ve been offered the gift of a wedding from relatives, be clear on how much they are willing or able to commit. This is meant to be a joyous time for all involved, so don’t risk spoiling it by putting additional pressure on yourself or others by making assumptions and avoiding the money conversation!
3. Decide your non-negotiables. There’s a good chance you’ve had a secret Pinterest wedding board since before you met your fiancé…..yes, we’ve all dreamt of our big day since we were in infant school! There will be lots of things that are nice to have, but there will be one or two that you know are going to make your day. If you’ve always wanted a tiara and full length veil, for example, make this a priority over something else when allocating your funds. If you end up without it because you spent the money on inviting 3 second cousins you’ve never met, then you’ll look at your wedding photos and Facebook memories for years to come with a pang of regret. Likewise, which means more to you….a bigger reception guest list or an extra week on honeymoon? Your memories will last forever…make them count.
4. Think outside the box! Get creative, and build a willing support network. Design your own invites, make your own props, get Auntie Vi to sew miles of bunting! If a friend offers to do your make up, then accept. If you have the chance to rent or borrow things instead of buying them, then do! Second hand wedding props can be acquired at the fraction of the cost of new….and let’s face it, they’re hardly well used, so get hunting out those selling sites and keywords!!
5. Don’t get carried away! When the world returns to weddings, so do the glossy magazines. Just because your favourite celeb is splashing pictures in Hello magazine of a £20k flower arrangement, full orchestra greeting guests and a unicorn delivering the rings whilst showering guests with glitter, doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. It’s not a competition.
6. Most importantly….remember why you’re doing this. It’s not a show of how much money you have or how big a party you can afford. It’s about declaring your love to each other in front of those who truly mean the most to you. A marriage ceremony need cost only a few hundred pounds. Everything on top of that is optional, a bonus, and doesn’t change the value of the marriage certificate in any way.
If you're planning for a wedding, or any other big financial goal, why not grab my free guide to building wealth through investment!
And if you're lucky enough to attend a wedding celebration over the coming months, don't forget the confetti, and to advance book a cab home - that way you don't have to call your daughter out to pick you up at 1.30am like I did this weekend!!!
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