Our Budget Spreadsheet

Once upon a time, a spreadsheet was created. And on that spreadsheet was a list of every single thing I could possibly ever imagine that I could hand over money for.

There were the big things, like the venue, photographer, and food, but then there were other things that were related to it, like spray-tan trials, postage stamps, and bathroom baskets.

This list was the key to how I got the budget sorted.

Now—I read up about the budget, and the biggest thing that was shouted from the rooftops was “Set your budget first, THEN draw up your spending allocations.” But I tend to do things my own way, so I thought I’d do it a little differently.

Step one: Get that huge list into a spreadsheet.

Step two: Do some mighty research. (I found general prices on local websites, called up a few places for quotes, and sent out a few emails.)

Step three: Add quotes to budget spreadsheet.

Step four: Look at the total and cry a bit because you never really dreamt that it would really cost that much.

OK, so even with everything I wanted, our big massive total came to around £20,000. I didn’t throw in the most expensive quotes I could find, so this seemed to be a reasonably accurate number. And we’d been to see our venue and I already knew how much that was going to cost, so that was pretty good.

Some things jumped out as too expensive and not necessary. As much as I would have loved an open bar with waiters serving our guests, it was a luxury I just couldn’t justify. No wedding we’ve ever been to has had a free bar—it’s just not done in our circle—so although it would have been a great gesture, it wouldn’t be noticeably missed.

Did we really need canapés, a three-course dinner, wedding cake, AND an evening buffet all in the space of eight hours? No. No one I know eats that much food—we can have a few canapés, one course for dinner, wedding cake as dessert, and a cheese & meat platter buffet, and reduce the cost by £2,000.

Of course, this was all very well—but by this point I hadn’t had “that chat” with my parents and didn’t know if we would be footing the entire bill ourselves, or if we’d get some contributions from family. So I took that list and added a few columns. They columns were labelled “Essential,” “Want,” and “Would Like.”

The “essentials” were the venue, the church, the rings, etc. The “wants” were a hotel the night before, a car, a videographer. The “would likes” were mostly cosmetic and little things people wouldn’t notice if they weren’t there—a spray tan, a photo booth, awesome favours.

Once these things had been separated I really began to see my options. The “Essential” list came to £13,000. We could absolutely afford this ourselves with our savings, so that made my freak out less. It also meant that I could refine this list even further and get additional things for our money by cutting back on others, like the cost of my dress or our flowers.

This way of creating a budget may not be for everyone, but it definitely worked for me. I couldn’t allocate x amount to something without having any idea of what that something might actually cost, so this made the most sense for me.

In the end, we had £4,000 contributed by family, which was absolutely incredible. I got that £20,000 down to £17,000 whilst still keeping almost everything I’d originally set my heart on.

We have stuck to this budget 100% so far, and if we’ve ever gone over in one area, we’ve ensured we’ve paid less in other areas to even things out. I created a Cashflow Spreadsheet to help with the finance.

Cashflo

Personal image

It’s so amazingly helpful. The columns at the top show the savings, and then the outgoings are deducted in the month they are paid in. It meant I could keep track of how much money would be in my account, and if I could afford to pay for both the catering deposit and my dress in the same month. I kept on top of everything and so far I have used it for every single budgeting decision I have made.

If you’d like a copy, send me a PM with your email address and I’ll send it over!

Did you stick to your budget? Did you do things my way or the “standard” way? I’m a bit of a crazy organisation freak, so I find stuff like this fascinating!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Jackrabbit

Location:
Brighton, UK
Wedding Date:
September 2013
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comments

  1. Member
    chronicwhimsy 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:01 am

    Holy crap, is Support Underwear going to be £50?? Might be cheaper to just wrap myself in gaffa tape under my dress…

    That is a fantastic spreadsheet though! I worked in a similar way, getting an idea of what things cost so I knew what I was looking at as an average, then getting quotes to round down.

    I can save money on a photographer by going digital-only! And we found a bakery that does a 100-serving cake for £190 starting rate, and as we don’t want fancy decorations, just the gorgeous frosting they had on the taster cupcakes, I think that’d do us fine!

    I might take you up on the spreadsheet offer when we get to the point of actually spending money though, thanks!

  2. Member
    mkelove 666 posts, Busy bee @ 10:48 am

    Wow, what a spreadsheet. I thought mine was huge but I think yours wins :)

  3. Member
    littlemisshostess 778 posts, Busy bee @ 11:44 am

    we kind of did our budget a similar way – my sister was married just two years ago so I was pretty familiar with the basic budget items. (ie per plate cost for food, bar, band charge, photos)

    I had was a bit surprised with some of the specific costs for things we liked though… I didn’t think our taste was so fancy and extraordinaire that its always above the basic or even normal upgrade!

    we are also covering a lot of our guests expenses (over 2 days of meals and drinks – they just drive there and pay for their room) and all of those small things are really adding up

  4. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 12:10 pm

    Wait, am I stupid? Where are your budgeted amounts for each thing? Did you just put the estimates of each things in the month you think you’ll pay it? I’m so curious.
    I did it this way:

    food: Budgeted: $11,500 Actual:_______
    rings: Budgeted: $500 Actual:________

    etc

  5. Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:21 pm

    @chronicwhimsy: luckily these are all fake amounts for the purposes of this post ;) and thankfully now i have my dress there is no need for support underwear. phew! but i have seen some for £60+!

    @mkelove: haha, i have accounted for every single thing i can think of so there are so surprises!

    @littlemisshostess: i didn’t think i had expensive taste, either! amazing what it all adds up to you when you take account of everything!

    @lealorali: because I got close estimates, I based my budget around those (all costs on here are hypothetical as i didn’t want to put my actual figures online!) and we are sticking to them. however, should i change one thing (ie. cars being £600 instead of the £500 i put into the sheet) then that extra £100 would have to come out of something else – like the dress, or the band) The good thing about this is that it made me look at our budget as a whole, instead of a budget per individual item, and it also meant we could keep an eye on our bank account at the same time. I put guestimates into the appropriate months to ensure we always had enough in our account to cover the outgoings of that month. But so far, we’ve stuck to pretty much everything, or spent less.

  6. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 2:14 pm

    “Look at the total and cry a bit because you never really dreamt that it would really cost that much.”

    I felt the exact same way, ha ha!! ;) Great job with the spreadsheet!!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah brohawn, Guest @ 3:04 pm

    This is great! Will you email me the cashflo chart!!!

    sarah_brohawn@yahoo.com

  8. Member
    DBS5127 220 posts, Helper bee @ 4:27 pm

    I love this way of doing it! I put what I want by budget to be into The Knot’s budget planner and some of the amounts they gave are laughable in my area. I think that going about it this way would make it much clearer where to cut costs and where we can afford to spend.

  9. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:03 pm

    this is a really smart way to budget, so you’re aware of things before you go to vendor meetings! And also, I have to remind myself this in £’s and not dollars so I’m thinking we have pretty similar total budgets. And yes, it’s not common to have an open bar in the UK, so definitely skip it!

  10. Member
    misstiptoes 63 posts, Worker bee @ 11:13 pm

    That’s amazing. One PM and spreadsheet request coming your way!!

  11. Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:54 am

    @shaynapunim: so. much. money. hahaha

    @Sarah brohawn: sure thing!

    @DaniLyn: definitely – it’s good to know how all the little things add up, and where you can cut from the big things!

    @Miss Sword: ahhh yes! £ are less than $, so £5 would be equal to $8 i think!

  12. Member
    mrsfun 43 posts, Newbee @ 8:18 am

    I’m keeping a super detailed spreadsheet as well. EVERYTHING is tracked: envelopes, cake topper, jewelry. I’m working backwards though. From my FSIL’s weddings (we all have similar taste and I’m using almost all the same vendors as one of the girls), I knew the range I’d probably be at and set a goal to stay in the low end of it.

    Other brides keep telling me that I would probably rather not know the “real” final number, but my OCD self would rather know it. Down to the penny.

  13. Member
    jnc0821 9 posts, Newbee @ 8:25 am

    This was super helpful! It is so easy to forget the small things because you’re so worried and focused on the big ones!

    And I totally cried when i got all my original estimates and added all my costs for the first time! lol You think, “oh well WE aren’t going to go crazy like other people. Ours will be smaller and so much cheaper!” but no matter how small, man it adds up!

  14. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 10:21 am

    And I thought my budget spreadsheet was sophisticated ;) haha great job!

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Washingtonlove, Guest @ 3:18 pm

    Id love a copy of this spreadsheet!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    bambodi, Guest @ 1:16 pm

    Hope this is still available! Can I get it emailed to evansmorrisonunion@gmail.com?

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