Wedding Money Worries & Wobbles

money weddings

With peak wedding season now behind us and autumn setting in it’s time to share a slightly meatier wedding planning topic.  So, grab a cup of tea and blanket and let’s talk money.

Now I know this might not be the most comfortable of topics but when it comes to wedding planning, we need to get over the awkwardness and get on with the conversation.  In fact, not being frank about figures or just crossing your fingers and hoping that all will be ok is one of the quickest routes to wedding stress.

Budgeting and money management is an integral part of wedding planning so, let’s put our cards on the table and have an open and honest conversation about money worries and wobbles.

Wedding money worries and wobbles

Image via The Chicago Tribune

Before we jump right in, let me be clear – when I talk about money worries and wobbles, they’re not the same thing.  A wobble is one of those totally understandable panics that we ALL have at some point whereas a worry is a genuine concern, something that will cause you solid, concrete issues beyond that horrible feeling in your stomach or a few moments of ‘help me, I can’t do this’.

But the good news, in fact the GREAT news if you’re planning your wedding, is that wobbles and worries can all be avoided if you’re open, honest and you can take on board the advice I’m about to give you.  And advice is what you need because so many of the wobbles and the worries I’m discussing in this feature come about simply because this isn’t something you’ve ever done before.

And that’s the big issue, it’s the reason why planning a wedding is so exciting and so terrifying in equal measures.  You’ve not done this before and even if you have, everything about weddings is so bundled up with emotions and dreams and hopes for the future and all the other ‘stuff’ that we carry around with us, it’s a bit confusing at best and almost unbearably tough at worst.  I’m not here to preach, just to tell you that you can do this and here’s how…

Money Wobbles

OK, so, as I’ve mentioned, these are the sudden-onset panics that can make your heart and head feel like you’ve taken a little outing on a roller coaster.  These wobbles can hurt.  They hurt because they can happen over and over again and tend to suck the joy right out of planning a wedding.  But, take heart!  Here are the most common wobbles and my advice on how to kick them to the kerb:

  • Trying to create / set a budget without really knowing how much everything costs – Oh yes, we’ve all been there before! I absolutely understand that it can feel ridiculous sitting there trying to say how many hundreds of pounds you’ll spend on food or flowers when you’ve never planned a wedding before and you’ve got absolutely no idea how much everything costs or how realistic your figures even are.  If you find yourself in this situation then do your research, ask for advice (i.e. from friends who are also engaged or recently married) and give yourself some wiggle room.  Instead of fixing absolute figures, work to a range instead and leave yourself 10-15% contingency in your budget so there’s room if things cost a little more than expected.  This means you’re not having to continually adjust and readjust your figures.  Which leads us on to…
  • Seeing a supplier quote for the first time – This is a wobble that can definitely shake you because this is where it all becomes very real. Until the quotes come tumbling in, wedding planning is all lovely and positive and full of inspirational chats with suppliers who love your plans and are super enthusiastic about your day.  The arrival of The Quote is the point when reality hits.  But, this needn’t be a stomach sinking moment IF you’ve done the following two things first… 1. You have a realistic guideline budget already in place AND 2. You’ve contacted suppliers whose pricing fits within that budget.  If you know for example that you’ve got £1,500 maximum for a photographer, there’s really no point in contacting photographers whose websites list ‘prices from £2,000’. You can definitely avoid or at least minimise this wobble by sticking to your guidelines and keeping it real!
  • Spending more money than you’ve ever spent before – I truly think this is a good wobble to have (please bear with me on this one!) so if you start feeling a little flushed as you flex your credit card AGAIN, give yourself a pat on the back. You see, we should feel something when we spend a lot of money, it shouldn’t be something we just do on autopilot so the fact that you’re noticing how much you’re spending is a good thing.  It’s when you don’t notice that you know you’ve got a problem! This wobble can also be struck from your list of concerns IF you’ve started out on your wedding planning journey with a frank conversation about what’s affordable and what you’re happy to pay.  If you’ve agreed what’s achievable and you’re sticking within those parameters, it’s all good.
  • Building up the courage for conversations – It’s very rare to find people who actually like talking about money and finances in minute detail, especially when it comes to something as emotional and personal as your wedding. It does feel like a spreadsheet with formulae is about as far from the romantic wedding planning idyll as you can imagine.  But take heart because once you’ve done this, once you’ve had what might be a mildly uncomfortable few hours, you’re done.  You’re done and dusted and then you can relax and enjoy.  I also understand that the squirm-factor of this conversation can just about be multiplied by any number that you care to mention when parents are involved too.  But again, you need to do this.  You need to know where you stand and you need to get everyone’s agreement so that you can move forwards.  The best advice I can give you here is to rip that bandaid off NOW and embrace the full and frank conversation!
  • Not having a plan – Of course I’m a wedding planner so I’m bound to say that having a plan is essential BUT it really is! Your wedding is a big event.  It involves juggling venues, suppliers, legal requirements, large sums of money, details and design, guests, emotions and expectations and a whole host of other things on top of your existing day-to-day life and schedule.  It’s complicated at the very least so you need to have a plan and when I say a plan I mean spreadsheets, timelines, folders and working documents.  You need to know what you’re doing and when, what you’ve spent and what you have left to pay, what’s essential and what you’re happy to skip.  You need to keep good records and keep on top of things from the very outset – if you don’t then a wobble can very quickly become a worry.

So those are the wobbles. And actually, now they’re written down, they lose some of their bite, don’t they?

Money Worries

Let’s turn our attention to the worries, the genuine money related problems that can cause real issues if you don’t deal with them before they happen:

  • Losing control – Also known as chronic overspending, losing control of your budget when you’re planning your wedding is a real problem. The minute you start down this path, the problems that you’re going to encounter are only going to get bigger and bigger and the single overspend will suddenly start impacting your whole wedding.  This is why you HAVE to set your budget, you HAVE to track everything that you spend (yes, even those ‘little’ purchases all add up) and you absolutely NEED to include a contingency in your budget.  Avoid impulse online purchases (stop your online accounts storing your card details and try to avoid subscribing to online shopping newsletters) and stock up on those reserves of willpower.  You have to get a grip on your spending otherwise your spending will cause you more stress than you can imagine with the potential repressions being felt well beyond your honeymoon.
  • Booking suppliers over your budget – Now we all know that a girl can dream and of course it’s lovely to mooch around online checking out designer gowns and amazing suppliers but readers, this is where it needs to end. Don’t even tempt yourself by contacting suppliers who you know are out of your price range because you can be absolutely sure you’ll love them, you’ll want to book them and the next thing you know, you’ll have a bill that’s way over your budget.  You have to keep it real when you’re planning and that means planning a wedding to suit the budget that you have, not the budget that you wish you had.  Just remember that you’re planning YOUR wedding, not a replica of a wedding you’ve seen online.
  • Impending bills that can’t be paid – Of course, even when you’ve budgeted like a pro and been super careful about your wedding spending, other things can cause issues. Whether it’s an unexpected bill at home, a problem with work or any one of a hundred other reasons, sometimes you know a bill’s coming that you just can’t pay (if you don’t know it’s coming then head on back to the wobble section about having a plan!). If you find yourself in this situation then you absolutely have to confront the issue head on.  Speak to the supplier, explain the issue and tell them how you’re going to resolve it.  It might be that you just need a little longer to pay or you might need to split the payment over a couples of weeks or months but whatever it is, be honest and don’t keep suppliers hanging or even worse, ignore them – the sooner you take action the more chance there is of being able to come up with a solution.  So, don’t let the payment date slip by in silence, don’t wait for them to come chasing – be brave and be honest.
  • Not accounting for VAT – Ahh, VAT, that little 20% surprise that can turn a good day into a really awful one. If a supplier is VAT registered, they have to charge you VAT, it’s as simple as that. So, it’s essential that you know whether someone is VAT registered AND if their quote includes or excludes VAT from the very outset.  If it’s all included and the figure still hits your budget, you’re good to go.  If it’s not included and you’re suddenly expected to find a few more hundred or even thousands of pounds more than you expected to pay, you need to know before you sign up.  So, here’s my advice – EVERY time you ask a supplier about their prices or receive a quotation ask this very simple question… ‘is there VAT on top of that?’.  With seven simple words, you can avoid a money worry just like that.
  • Conflict – Well, I had to include this one, didn’t I? Weddings can become flashpoints, money is often a flashpoint so put the two together and it’s quite easy to see that it can all get a little fraught quite quickly.  One of the most common reasons for conflict is if you and your partner have slightly different values or styles.  Now this isn’t a reason to call a halt on the whole planning thing because really, who talks of their finer feelings about hire chairs and calligraphy before they get engaged?  But you see, the thing is, once you do get engaged, these are conversations you really need to have.  You need to find out what’s important to each other, you need to discuss what ‘a wedding’ means to you both and what comes with that package.  You need to reach compromises and you need to be honest, open and thoroughly understanding.  Don’t just talk, listen and then actually do something with the information that you have.  Don’t hide things, brush over things or ignore things because that’s really just delaying conflict or not dealing with it at all.  Be careful and be caring and you’ll be just fine.

And there you have it, my guide to money worries and wobbles and how to minimise or even avoid them.  As you’ll see, there’s a common theme about honesty that runs throughout it all.  Be honest with yourself, your partner, your suppliers and your family and money worries and wobbles won’t get in the way of you enjoying your wedding or your marriage.

Love Kat x


Katrina is a national award-winning wedding planner who specialises in beautiful, timeless and minimalist luxe weddings throughout the UK.  Katrina is a regular contributor to Love My Dress, the resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues and co-founder of Coco & Kat, a creative consultancy for wedding venues and beyond.  Visit her webpage at


Katrina View all Katrina's articles

I’m a planner, strategist, designer, thinker, doer, perfectionist, artist, creative, partner, friend, and I’m passionate about supporting the incredible community of Love My Dress readers by sharing my knowledge of weddings and wedding planning via regular, HONEST and practical planning features. As part of the Love My Dress team, I love having the opportunity to explore different aspects of wedding planning and since 2015 have covered everything from learning how to embrace imperfection to pressures, worries and wobbles. You can find out more about who I am, what I do, my style, my approach, and the wedding planning support services I offer at Katrina Otter Weddings.

One thought on “Wedding Money Worries & Wobbles

  1. Great advice! I especially like what you have said about planning a budget before you actually know what everything will cost. Couples should do a little research about costs before writing a budget for sure x

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