Before you spend a single penny on your wedding, a budget should be set. While this may be the least glamorous part of wedding planning and you might be tempted to skip it, it is extremely important. But I’m sure you’re wondering, how to create a wedding budget, right?! Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Wedding budgets come in all shapes and ranges, so there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s true.
This is probably the most overwhelming part of the wedding planning process. You don’t know how much you should be spending on what. Who should be paying for this and who should be paying for that. It’s enough to make you want to go cry in the corner. In a nutshell, it will all come down to what’s most important to you and your partner, as well as the financial resources that are available.
Wedding budgets come in all shapes and ranges, so there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
You may not know this but my wedding for 75+ people was planned for less than $1,000 and we did it in 3-weeks! Mind you, I had to get REALLY creative when it came to finding ways to save money. With that being said, the average wedding costs are in the $20-$25,000 range according to certain magazines and websites in the wedding industry. As you can imagine, there is a vast difference between a $1,000 and a $20,000 wedding budget, but here are some tips & insights to keep in mind so that you can create a wedding budget that works for you!
SO FAR, IN THE HOW TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING SERIES, I’VE GONE OVER…
- How to Make a Wedding Guest List
- Choosing the Right Wedding Vendors
- How to Decide When & Where to Get Married
- Hiring a Wedding Planner vs. Doing it Yourself
What’s next is determining how to create a wedding budget that works for you!
HOW TO CREATE A WEDDING BUDGET
Where is the money coming from?
Will you and your partner be paying for the wedding on your own? Are there any savings between the two of you that can be used? Or do you have parents that are willing and able to help you pay for all or part of the wedding? These are some of the difficult questions that should be answered before you start spending money on a wedding dress or decor or whatever.
Once you know where the money is coming from and how much you’ll have to work with you can get a clearer picture of how that may impact what you envision for your wedding day. Now, you can start thinking about what your top priorities are and figure out what areas you’re willing to spend less on. The FREE Wedding Vision Planner printable I shared in a previous post may help you clarify your vision.
Meris Gantt, owner and wedding planner, with The Whole Shebang says, ‘To stay within your wedding budget, pretend that you have 20% less money than you actually have!’
Do some research to determine what different services will cost in your area. Contact venues to see what their fees are. Get in touch with caterers to find out the cost per head for the meal you want to provide your guests. It will take some leg work but once you have an idea, it’ll be less challenging to create a realistic budget since you’ll know the true cost of things. This will vary depending on where you’re getting married, but once you have some actual numbers you’ll be better equipped to tackle the task of creating a wedding budget.
To give you an example, let’s say that you’re only budgeting $1,500-2,000 for your wedding photographer but then you find out after contacting a few of your favorites that packages are in the $3,500-$5,000 range for what you’re looking for. Personally, I like to share pricing on my website because I want couples to at least have a starting point before they get in touch. It saves valuable time, however, not all vendors will be able to do so. You won’t truly know until you contact them and get details. Of course, you can find wedding photographers, or any wedding vendors for that matter, at many different price points but it all depends on what you and your partner want and what’s important to you. Just be realistic!
Break it Down
Once you know YOUR number the easiest approach would be to break down your budget based on percentages of your total budget. There are no hard and fast rules about how much certain things will cost, which is why I recommended that you do some research. Every wedding is different depending on what you want and how much money you have to spend, but here are some sample percentages for the major areas of your budget.
Keep in mind, that these sample items/percentages are merely starting points and they may not include every item or expense that will be involved in some cases.
These averages were captured from a variety of survey results from wedding magazines and blogs.
Reception – Venue and Food – 45%
Photography and Videography – 15%
Florals and Decor – 10%
Planner – 10%
Entertainment – 4%
Attire & Accessories – 4%
Transportation – 3%
Gift & Favors – 3%
Health & Beauty – 2%
Invitations & Stationery – 2%
Miscellaneous – 2%
Having a budget in place before you get started makes things so much easier for everyone involved. Once you have this figured out, you can make adjustments to the percentages that will suit your needs based on what’s most important to you and your partner. Priorities are vastly different from couple to couple. Some couples may want to focus on having unforgettable food and an incredible wedding venue but save money by DIY-ing their decor and wedding flowers. While another couple may want to get married in the backyard of the home where the bride grew up which would save on venue costs and splurge on entertainment and an open bar.
Give and take in some areas until you find the balance that is right for you and the wedding day you envision. Having a guideline helps you in the long run so you stay within budget.
My mission with this post was to share my approach on how to create a wedding budget that works for you! If you have any specific questions about this blog post or wedding budget tips of your own, please let me know. Just leave a comment below or send me an email!
Other parts of the HOW TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING SERIES that I’ve already shared on the blog are: How to Decide When & Where to Get Married, Choosing the Right Wedding Vendors, Hiring a Wedding Planner vs. Doing it Yourself, and How to Make a Wedding Guest List.
HOMEWORK: Create a Wedding Budget
- Take a few hours to work on the details of your wedding budget by finding out where the money will be coming from and how much you’ll have to spend. Once you have your total budget figured out you’ll be able to determine how much you want to allocate to each category.
As I mentioned earlier, there are no set rules because it all depends on what you want and can afford.
- Download these FREE printable “Wedding Budget Planner” worksheets to help jumpstart this part of the process. One of the sheets has the sample budget percentages while the other is left blank so you can enter your own numbers. Click on the images below to download the worksheets and then click on view full size.
- You’ll also want to grab a copy of my FREE printable 12-Month Wedding Planning Checklist (details below worksheets). This checklist will give you an overview of everything that will need your attention during the wedding planning process. It includes hundreds of items to help keep you organized!
DOWNLOAD A FREE 12-MONTH WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST WHEN YOU JOIN THE TRIBE!
It’s a free gift when you sign up for weekly emails from me (your adventurous ally). Once you become part of the tribe and are subscribed to the Weekly Wander, you will automatically receive a download link to the printable wedding planner in a welcome email! Click the image below OR sign up here!