Draw up a Wedding Savings Timeline

Whether you are planning your wedding in 3, 6, or 12-odd months, you will need to set yourself a budget and stick to it. That also means unless you are being given money from your parents for the entire wedding or you already have savings set aside for this purpose, you will need to start saving toot de suite!

Image by Andrea Sproxton Photography for The Bride’s Tree Magazine Volume 10. 


Set a budget

You won’t have to pay for everything straight up, so you have some time to get your finances in order. There are a few rules you will have to set yourself from the get-go.

  1. When you know the final amount, stick to it and don’t try to add more – alter your choices instead.
  2. If, once you have set your budget using our Budget Calculator, you decide you simply must spend more on a particular part of the wedding, know that amount then has to come off somewhere else and figure that out, reconciling your overall budget, before you sign on for anything outside the original plan.
  3. Set yourself and your partner an amount to save each pay. Don’t deviate from that amount. Make sure it is realistic for you in the first place.


Drawing up a timeline

First, start at the end and work your way back. Work out when final balances need to be paid, and when deposits need to be paid.

If you are working to a really strict budget, simply start by paying only the minimum deposit up front, and bank as much savings as you can. Let it sit there earning interest and leave paying the balance until the very day it is due if you know you won’t be tempted to spend and if you know you have a good system to help you keep track of what’s due when. 

Keep a strict diary, and set yourself reminders in your phone or email system if you know these work better for you. Some vendors and suppliers have a waiting list and will let your booking go the very next day if you miss your final payment, so don’t miss out simply because of forgetfulness!

Try to organise your balances to be due at different times so you are not overloaded with all of your final payments at once. If you communicate with your vendors and suppliers, they may be flexible with due dates, or even arrange for smaller instalments to be made along the way if that is going to work better with your savings timeline.

If you think you will be tempted to dip into your wedding savings for other purposes, do the opposite and pay off different components of the wedding as soon as you can.

Know how much you’re going to need when, and up your savings any way you can if you need to in order to make your payments on time. 


Don’t lose your deposits! 

It’s important to be really sure you’re happy with your suppliers and their prices before you lock them in. Many wedding vendors when taking your booking reserve the entire day for you, leaving them unable to be available to other potential business. Some businesses reserve even more in preparation time for you. So if you decide to cancel, don’t be surprised if you discover that deposit you were told is non-refundable really isn’t going to be returned to you.

So is it fair to hold a deposit for work that isn’t completed? The simple answer is yes, but let me explain. When a  vendor books your wedding, they will typically continue to get enquiries for your wedding date, which they will be forced to turn down so they can focus solely on your wedding that week or day or portion of the day. If you cancel, depending on how much lead time you have given, that vendor may or may not have the opportunity to book other business for that day, which can affect their livelihood, or in the case of a larger business, their ability to provide work for their staff. 

Look at it this way – if your boss walked in and announced you were unexpectedly being sent on a week of compulsory unpaid leave, would that seem unfair to you? Would it put a dent in your finances? Would losing that income you were relying on affect you and your partner or family negatively? If you answered yes to any or all of the above, I think you see my point. 

Don’t be indecisive when it comes to booking professionals. Once you have made your choice and agreed to a quote, stick to it. Follow your savings timeline and your lush wedding will be at your fingertips before you know it! 

Check out our Savings Timeline and Budget Calculator printable planning tools

Find more helpful planning articles in our resource guide


Hi, I’m Sally, Founder and Editor of The Bride’s Tree. Over the past 13 years I’ve written thousands of articles about all things wedding from tips and trends to etiquette and ideas. On this blog I bring you the best of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane weddings.