How to Figure Out Your Wedding Budget

How to Create YOUR Perfect Budget

First comes love then comes marriage!

First comes the engagement then comes, er…… the budget for the wedding.

Oh the dreaded B word.

Trust us, no one likes to talk about budgets.  Well, someone probably does, but the majority of us tend to find it awkward and uncomfortable

This is the least fun part of wedding planning that you’ll encounter, but getting it set up right from the start is going to save you loads of time and headaches later on.  It is by far  one of the most important aspects of your dream wedding.

The average wedding price in the US is upwards of $25,000 and that’s a lot of money to spend on one day.  Planning and budgeting are going to be the key to hosting the wedding of your dreams without the nightmare of letting costs spiral out of control.

Don’t worry, we’re here to hold your hand and give you a few tips on how to make the most of this step so you can move onto the more fun parts – like tasting cake!

Make Sure You’re on the Same Page

Like it or not money and budget will be topics of conversation for the rest of your lives together.  Money talk can be stressful so you need to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page from the start.

This is the time to talk about what your dream wedding looks like.  Are you hoping for a huge party with everyone you’ve ever met or a tiny ceremony with only your closest family and friends?

It’s a great idea to have a vision of your dream wedding so that you both agree on which things are most important to you.  Which parts of your day will make you feel the most special and what areas are you not as worried about?  Talking about your dream wedding will help you prioritize your budget categories during the planning.

Now that you know what your dream wedding looks like, you need to gather up all your money.

Know Where the Money is Coming From

It used to be common for the bride’s parents to be expected to pay for everything but that’s just not the case anymore.  Almost half of all couples pay for their wedding themselves, and at least 1/4 of couples pay a portion of their expenses.

Before you can figure out a wedding budget you’ll need to know where all the money is coming from and who’s planning to contribute.

Have your parents been saving for your wedding or have you?  Are his parents planning to help out with expenses?  Do you have other family members that want to contribute to your special day?

If it’s just the two of you budgeting and planning then you’ll be ready to move on to actually forming your budget.  If there are other family members contributing, now’s the time to schedule conversations with them.

Some important things to learn are whether they are offering a lump sum toward your wedding, or they’re planning to pay for one aspect of it.  Say mom buys the wedding dress, his parents pay for all the flowers, Aunt Susie pays the deejay.

Whatever way you all agree on is going to be great, just be sure to talk about expectations and timing so that there’s no confusion further into the process.  Be gracious to those who are able to help and understanding to those who aren’t.

Decide How Much You Can Save

Are there places in your budget where you can put money aside to contribute to your big day?  Do you already have savings that you want to allocate?

Make sure you’re realistic about how much you’ll be able to save between now and the wedding.  And be sure that you’re not using all of your savings either.  You’ve still got a big life after your big day.

Maybe making that coffee run once a week instead of everyday will put a little extra change in your pocket.  And brown bagging those lunches can go a long way toward saving money.  It’s worth pointing out that starting to save now is a great habit to carry into your future together.

Add Up the Figures

Once you know what other people are contributing, you can add these to your savings and contributions and you’ll have your budget number.  This is your maximum budget and it’s the number that you’ll use to guide you throughout all of your wedding planning.

Remember that you can have a memorable wedding on any budget, but you first have to establish a budget.

Set Your Priorities

Remember at the first when we said to get on the same page?  Well this is where that comes into play.  You need to prioritize how you use your budget.

Pick the area that’s most important to you both and allocate money there first.  If having a great dance party is the most important then be sure that the band or deejay has priority.  If you are set on serving your signature cocktail then be sure that your bar budget has priority.

By choosing the area that’s most important to you and directing the most money there you’re going to have a fantastic wedding day.

Know the Percentages

While the numbers and percentages will change according to so many factors – your location, time of year and above all your tastes and priorities, there are some standard percentages that will help you get started on planning.

You’ll adjust these in your budget moving ahead, but everyone has to start with some idea of what it’s going to cost, so this gives you an idea of where the money goes.

  • Venue and Rentals, Food and Cake – 50%
  • Photography/Videography – 12%
  • Attire and Hair – 9%
  • Flowers, Lights, Decor – 8%
  • Music 7%
  • Planner 3%
  • Stationary – 3%
  • Officiant – 2%
  • Transportation – 2%
  • Rings – 2%
  • Favors and Gifts – 2%

Remember that no two weddings are going to be exactly the same so no two budgets are going to be exactly the same.  Your wedding budget will change according to the priorities that you’ve set as a couple.

Do your research and be sure to keep track of all the little “hidden costs” that are involved in a wedding.  Tips, cutting fees, additional expenses at your venue, all these little things can add up quickly.

Avoid Debt

If it won’t fit into your budget then you probably don’t need it.

It won’t be any fun to start your marriage drowning in debt, and that’s our little PSA.  There is no reason to go into debt for your wedding, this is one day in your life together, and you’ll have precious memories regardless of how much money you spend.

There’s a wedding for every budget and when the day is done it doesn’t matter how much money you spent, it only matters that your are joyful and excited about your future together!

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