Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Updated Wedding Savings Plan

Around Valentines Day this year I set out my plan to save for a ring and ultimately marriage.  I had heard how much marriage costs and I didn't want to have any sort of bill shock when the inevitable expenses actually came around so I decided to spread some of the expenditure associated with marriage.

My original plan called for $60,000 in total savings:
  • $10,000 for the engagement ring and proposal
  • $30,000 for the wedding itself
  • $20,000 for the honeymoon
I'm glad to say that the first part is done and dusted.  I bought the engagement ring (for $10,000), got the GST back on the ring when I went overseas (-$909) and then spent about $1,500 on the proposal itself.  I was about $600 over budget but in the grand scheme of things I'm not too worried about that.

However, being proposed and being able to talk about the wedding with my fiancée has helped clarify what we want to spend and how much we're probably going to need for the wedding.

The new budget is $10,000 higher than the old budget...and the timeline is shorter

Spreading expenses over a particular time requires you to know 2 variables:
  1. How much are you going to spend?
  2. When are you going to need to spend it?
I had originally forecast $30,000 for an August wedding in 2015 however once my fiancée and I sat down and did the numbers we realised that we would probably need to spend more and save it in less time.

The wedding is going to be ~$10,000 more than I originally forecast...

The wedding is going to be more expensive than I originally forecast for 2 reasons
  1. I under-estimated how many people we had to invite.
    • I originally did the calculations on a wedding for ~120 people however when we actually listed how many people we wanted to invite the list turned out to be more like 150
  2. There are some significant costs I didn't originally think about
    • When I first budgeted for the wedding I thought about the costs that most people incur such as the reception, outfits, church, flowers etc. etc. and I gained these lists of expenses from online forums and calculators
    • However there are some costs which you will incur that are specific to your wedding.  In our case we are going to have to pay for the flights and accommodation of some very close family members that we want to be at the wedding but who genuinely can't afford to be there if we didn't help them out.  I am more than happy to spend this money but it does add up very quickly

...and is also likely to be a month earlier than forecast

I had originally forecast an August wedding and had set my savings plan up accordingly.  However when we worked out when we actually wanted to get married we realised that we were actually looking at early July (due to my work commitments in August).

This effectively reduced our time to save for the wedding by 2 months.  This may not seem like a bit reduction however a few factors meant that it has having a far larger impact than I first imagined:
  • I had originally structured my savings plan so that I was paying more the closer I got to the wedding
    • Originally I was paying a certain amount towards the wedding every month which increased in increments of $100 per month
    • By losing the two final months of my original savings plan also meant that I was losing the two months where I was going to be saving the most
    • In these two months I was going to be saving $2,800 and $2,900 ($5,700) which I then needed to spread across the remaining months
  • We are having the wedding reasonably quickly so this $5,700 is spread across a shorter time frame
    • The longer you have to save the less a blow out hurts you because you can then incrementally save a little more each month
    • The increased budget and shorter time frame means I am having to save 50% more than I had originally forecast.

However working with my fiancée has had unexpected benefits

I had done the original savings plan and wedding budget on my own.  Getting my fiancée involved did make me realise that I had under-budgeted and we are getting married faster than I originally planned however there were also unexpected benefits that came from getting her involved.

She is saving far more than I had originally forecast

My fiancée earns less than me and I had made a very conservative guess about what she could save for the wedding.  However she views this saving goal as a team effort (which is awesome) and she is saving far more than I had originally imagined.  In fact, I think that the absolute amount that I have to save is not going to change that much because she is covering a lot more than I thought she would

She is far more sensible about the whole wedding thing than I originally imagined

Working with my fiancee on the wedding budget has been great because she is not focussed on making the wedding "the perfect day" but rather on being sensible and having a fun occasion which doesn't set us back too far.  What does this involve?
  • She has no objection to a winter wedding which savings you thousands of dollars on everything from reception venues to photographers
  • She is talking about getting a second hand wedding dress and then getting it tailored.  I didn't see this one coming but she points out that she doesn't need a dress that costs many thousands of dollars
There are a heap of other examples where I thought she would want 'the perfect outcome' but where she is more than happy to compromise.  We are not going to skimp on our wedding but it just may not be as glamorous as the magazines may suggest.

New updates coming soon

Weddings are huge financial commitments and as this is a finance blog I'm going to keep you updated on how the spending, saving and planning for it is going.  Hopefully I can save some money along the way and share some tips too.

I'm also going to keep a savings tracker and calculator going until the big day to help me keep focused and under budget.

Total wedding and honeymoon budget (excluding proposal): $60,000
Savings to date: $27,000
Amount spent to date: $0
Months until wedding: 7

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  1. Awesome to hear all sounds to be going well!
    I know you'll keep us posted but all the best with it all..
    Must admit that will come round very quickly for you both :)

    1. Thanks Jef - I don't want the wedding stuff to take over the blog but there will be posts here and there on it.

      I made a list of things recently which I had to do before the wedding and it was mind boggling. I think I'm going to simplify the whole thing if I can. I'm not that focussed on the 'one perfect day' so hopefully it means I'll wont have to spend days researching every little point.