How to Budget For a Luxury Wedding

Advice

Planning a beautiful luxury wedding is challenging to say the least and without a carefully planned and well-structured budget, your wedding costs will quickly spiral out of control, leaving you with an extravagant bill and a less than satisfactory outcome. In the worst case scenario you’ll find that you’ve overspent in the wrong areas and your wedding looks very different to the vision you had in your mind. This will leave you feeling hugely disappointed, stressed and upset. 

Luxury wedding planning requires a huge amount of planning, impeccable attention to detail, an unwavering commitment to excellence and the ability to see a vision through from inception to completion. This is why, when it comes to planning a luxury wedding, budgeting is of paramount importance. 

A well-thought-out budget helps you to prioritise your spending, ensuring that you allocate your resources efficiently to achieve the desired result. By adopting a strict and well-planned approach to budgeting, you can create a luxurious wedding that is not only memorable but also financially viable. So, if you’re planning a luxury wedding, don’t overlook the importance of budgeting because it will make all the difference between a mediocre event and a truly spectacular one.

What is a Luxury Wedding? 

Before we get into the details of budgeting for your luxurious wedding, let’s understand what makes such an extravagant event.

With our years of experience planning luxury weddings, there is one thing we have noticed which makes a wedding truly luxurious and that is the level of detail, personalisation and the quality of services. No matter how grand or intimate the event is, it has to truly reflect the couple in every way and everything has to be of the highest quality to create an experience like no other. 

These weddings require meticulous planning and execution, focusing on detailed elements, a series of entertaining events, exclusive locations, adorned with elaborate high-end designs, filled with top-quality food and dedicated staff ready to meet every need.

The goal is to turn your celebration into an extraordinary event which makes you and your guests feel like they’ve left the constraints of reality and stepped into a world of perfection where everything is there to delight, excite and entertain them. 

Understanding Your Vision to Determine Your Budget 

Understanding your vision is crucial when planning a wedding budget, as it forms the foundation for every decision you’ll make. Your vision serves as a guiding light, shaping the atmosphere, style, and overall experience of your special day. Knowing what aspects of the wedding are most important to you both as a couple, makes it easier to allocate funds accordingly.

It will also prevent you from getting sidetracked by unnecessary expenses that don’t fit into your dream celebration. So how do you decide on the perfect vision for your luxury wedding? 

  • Reflect on your personal style – consider your personal taste and the atmosphere you want to create. Do you love traditional romantic styles or do you prefer events with a modern, quirky edge? 
  • Get inspired – head over to Instagram or Pinterest and search for terms such as  ‘luxury weddings’ ‘luxury destination wedding’ ‘garden weddings’. This will give you a clear idea of what you do and do not like. 
  • Prioritise what’s important -iIdentify the aspects of the wedding which are most important to you as this will help you prioritise your budget in the areas which matter most. Whether it’s the venue, the cuisine, the entertainment, or the decor.
  • Create a vision board or collect images that resonate with your ideal wedding vision. This should include colours, themes, and specific details that appeal to you. Vision boards are so helpful not only for guiding your vision but also to give you something to refer back to when you are feeling a little lost or overwhelmed. 

Determining The Budget

Determining how much you want to spend on your wedding is a very personal decision which will hugely vary from person to person. The best advice we can give you is to be realistic when it comes to deciding on the type of wedding you want to host. 

Few things are more disheartening than envisioning a dream celebration that proves to be too difficult to achieve within the constraints of your budget. The key to a truly gratifying wedding planning experience lies in aligning your vision with the budget which you have available. 

Below is a list of average spends aligned with the varying types of weddings. 

Standard Wedding Budgets – £30,000 – £60,000

Premium Wedding Budgets – £60,000 – £100,000

Luxury Wedding Budgets – £100,000 and upwards

Ultra Luxury Wedding Budgets – £1 Million and upwards

When deciding on your wedding budget we always advise couples to go in with an approximate target range rather than a set amount. Because there are so many moving parts when planning a wedding it can be nearly impossible to stick to an exact number so working with a target range works much more effectively. 

We’d also suggest putting 10% of your budget aside to cover unforeseen expenses, such as unexpected venue fees, last-minute adjustments, or any surprise circumstances that may arise during the planning process. This financial cushion ensures that you have the flexibility to address unexpected costs without compromising the overall quality and vision of your wedding.

How Should You Allocate Your Budget 

If you’re not going to seek the help of a professional luxury wedding planner we’d recommend embracing the 40/30/20/10 rule as a generic rule. 

This is a strategic allocation approach that guides the distribution of your luxury wedding budget. Here’s how it works;

  • Dedicate 40% to essential elements like venue, catering, and design, the backbone of a luxurious celebration. 
  • Allocate 30% to enhance the guest experience and capture the moments with elements such as entertainment and photography/videography. 
  • Allocate 20% for elements such as beauty, attire and other ‘getting ready’ essentials. 
  • Reserve 10% for any unforeseen expenses.  

Prioritise Key Elements To Break Your Budget Down Even Further 

Identify the aspects of your wedding that hold the utmost importance to you and your partner. Whether it’s a lavish venue, world-class catering, or captivating entertainment, assigning priorities allows you to break funds down even further and get more detailed with your financial planning. 

This considered approach allows you to craft an event that resonates with the essence of your dream celebration. For example, most luxury wedding photographers charge anywhere between £10,000 upwards, so being aware of these costs and prioritising your wedding list will most definitely help you avoid any surprises. 

We’d advise creating a list of dream suppliers and having consultation calls with them to discover their pricing, then you can refine your list down from there. 

Create a Detailed Spreadsheet

Whether you love them or loathe them, a spreadsheet is essential to help you see exactly where your cash is being spent. It works effectively to keep your spending in check and ensures you get everything you’ve dreamed of for your special day.

Follow the steps below when creating your wedding finance spreadsheet 

Set Up Categories

Organise your budget into major categories and create a column for each category, along with a row for each subcategory or specific expense within those categories. For example, the “venue” category could be further divided into subcategories like rental fees, accomodation for guests, set up costs and any additional services, allowing for a detailed breakdown that facilitates precise financial tracking and planning.

Example categories you’ll want to include will be; 

Welcome Party

Rehearsal Dinner

Venue

Hair & Makeup

Attire and Alterations

Beverage/Bar

Cake

Catering

Décor and Styling

Entertainment

Equipment and Rentals

Favors & Gifts

Florals

Lighting & Production

Officiant

Photography

Reception Venue

Stationery

Transportation

Videography

After-Wedding Celebrations or events 

Allocate Budget Amounts

In the adjoining column, assign a designated budget for every category and corresponding subcategory. This allocation should be derived from the predetermined percentages you established for each category.

If it looks too busy with all of the separate categories visible on one page, we’d recommend having them on a separate tab which you can easily switch between. 

Track Your Expenses 

Establish an additional column dedicated to monitoring real-time expenditures as payments are made or invoices are received from vendors. Regularly refresh this column to maintain accuracy on your financial outlays.

Include Payment Due Dates

Add a column for payment due dates. This will help you prioritise expenses and ensure timely payments. We’d also advise you to add reminders on your desktop calendar or phone so that you don’t forget to pay them. Nothing ruins financial planning more than an inaccurate spreadsheet and missed payments. 

Calculate Differences

Create columns to calculate the differences between the budgeted amount and the actual expenses. This will give you a clear view of where you stand financially in each category allowing you to adjust and reallocate resources as needed to stay on course with your financial goals. 

You can automate that figure by setting up a rule which subtracts the budgeted amount from the final amount for each row. 

Add Notes

Include a notes column where you can add details related to each expense. Because luxury weddings involve numerous moving parts due to the diverse range of elements that contribute to the overall celebration. It’s essential to keep on top of everything with updated notes. If you don’t you’ll find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the amount of information you’re trying to retain in your mind. 

Stay Organised

Our final piece of advice for handling the budget of an expansive luxury wedding is to stay organised. 

Keep receipts, contracts, and all financial documentation by either storing them in a designated physical folder or utilising a cloud-based file storage system. 

This practice is so important because if you don’t, retrieving crucial information may become difficult, potentially leading to oversights, misunderstandings, and challenges in financial management. The last thing you want to be doing is having an argument with your caterer because they decided to change the price last minute but you can’t find the contract to prove your agreement with them. 

Work With The UK’s Leading Luxury Wedding And Event Planner

Have you just got engaged or are you in the midst of planning your wedding and are finding it all a little overwhelming? 

Şenel Besim is the UK’s leading luxury wedding planner with over 20 years of experience planning weddings at some of the most esteemed luxury wedding venues in the UK. 

Şenel and her team specialise in thoughtfully planned weddings where the vision you hold close to your heart guides every last intricate detail to ensure your special day is everything you imagined it to be, and more.

Get in touch for a consultation where Şenel can guide you on the steps you need to take to plan a wedding that your guests will talk about for years to come. 

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