How to Create a Wedding Budget

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

A friend recently told me that she wasn’t sure how to start planning her budget. She didn’t really want to start by saying she had X thousand dollars to spend & then figure out how to spend it; she wanted to work her way up and figure out what she would need. So, how do you start planning a wedding budget?

  1. Start by doing some research about the cost of weddings in your area (or the area where you want to get married). This will give you an idea of what you can expect to spend — though, of course, careful planning can save you money!
  2. Think about which expenses are fixed and which are dependent on the number of guests. For example, food is dependent on the number of guests; attire costs are not. This will help you decide how much you will need to limit your guest list.
  3. Consider the costs. The items below give you a general idea of the expenses you’ll face. The (f) next to the item means it’s a fixed cost, independent of the number of guests.
  •  
    • Attire (f)
    • Rings (f)
    • Paper: STDs, Invitations, Program, Menu, Thank you cards, Guest book
    • Ceremony venue & officiant (f)
    • Reception venue & catering: Food, Drinks, Alcohol
    • Wedding cake
    • Photographer/videographer (f)
    • Decorations: Flowers, Centerpieces
    • Entertainment (f)
    • Transportation
    • Gifts: Wedding party, Favors (optional)
    • Tips & service charges

 4.   Think about the percentages that things cost. For example, the reception can cost between 35 – 50% of your total expenses because it includes food and drinks! Here’s a quick break down of costs…. Keep in mind, there are things that should also fall within these categories, such as hair & makeup, dress alterations, jewelry, dry cleaning. Oh, and the marriage license! 🙂

  •  
    • Attire (f) – 5%
    • Rings (f) – 15%
    • Paper: STDs, Invitations, Program, Menu, Thank you cards, Guest book (and stamps!) – 5%
    • Ceremony venue & officiant (f) – 1%
    • Reception venue & catering: Food, Drinks, Alcohol – 35%
    • Wedding cake – 3%
    • Photographer/videographer (f) – 10%
    • Decorations: Flowers, Centerpieces – 10%
    • Entertainment: DJ, band (f) – 4%
    • Transportation – 3%
    • Gifts: Wedding party, Favors (optional) – 2%
    • Other expenses: rehearsal dinner, after party (optional) – 2%
    • Tips & service charges – 5% (10-15% tips based on the charge)

5.   Decide which parts of the planning are the most important to you. You might decide that you would rather spend more on the food and drinks and less on the decorations; or you’d rather donate to a cause than give out favors. If you’re way over budget, think about what you can do without — and consider some the wedding tips that help you save money!

This should at least get you started on what you need to do to start planning your budget. Do you have any other tips or ideas? Let us know!

~ Natasha

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5 Responses

  1. […] have to spend money on and deciding how much you can dedicate to each portion. Check out our Guide to Creating a Wedding Budget – which specifies which costs are fixed and which depend on the number of […]

  2. […] Anyway, the point is that the white wedding dress is not at all what I thought it was. It has nothing to do with virtue and a long, deep-seated history. It’s all relatively recent and has more to do with showing off money than anything else. Interesting, right? Especially since even today the wedding attire is “supposed to be” at least 5% of the total wedding budget. […]

  3. […] Explain to your friend that you really need to work out a budget for everything. Some people think this means sitting down and deciding how much they have to spend on each thing. And that’s fine! But it’s a good idea to know what may be expected. So start by checking out our guide to create a wedding budget. […]

  4. […] Explain to your friend that you really need to work out a budget for everything. Some people think this means sitting down and deciding how much they have to spend on each thing. And that’s fine! But it’s a good idea to know what may be expected. So start by checking out our guide to create a wedding budget. […]

  5. […] Anyway, the point is that the white wedding dress is not at all what I thought it was. It has nothing to do with virtue and a long, deep-seated history. It’s all relatively recent and has more to do with showing off money than anything else. Interesting, right? Especially since even today the wedding attire is “supposed to be” at least 5% of the total wedding budget. […]

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