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November 3, 2021

Wedding Budget Tips for a Stress-Free Planning

Wedding Decor

Hosting a wedding can be hard work! And crafting an appropriate wedding budget that satisfies the venue, guest lists, meal options, attires, flowers, and more can be even trickier! 

With all of that to juggle, allocating the wedding budget can be a struggle. Luckily, it need not be because we’ve got a thorough breakdown of the potential costs right here!

The Most Effective Wedding Budget Breakdown

The Venue, Catering, Cake, and Decor/Rentals (50%)

The first items on the list are, of course, the most important! 

Think about: 

  • The costs of the venue in terms of catering
  • Venue size to accompany all your guests
  • Site options for different weather situations
  • And a venue that fits the style and tone you’re looking for 

Photography & Videography (15%)

Your wedding photographer is your trusty companion that captures all the joyous moments of your wedding forever. So it pays to find one with a friendly personality and captivating portfolio which fits the style of photography you’re looking for. 

Do note, the cost should cover editing and touch-ups as well.

Flowers (7%)

If you wish to stock up on beautiful blossoms, you should know the cost to process, produce, supply, and deliver them.

Wedding Planner (7%)

We’ve all heard the saying, “it pays to save”. And it really pays when you save money on your wedding — which you can do with a stellar wedding planner. Hiring one will pay off in spades due to their domain knowledge and connections in the industry. So you can sit back and relax (resulting in money and time saved).

Music & Entertainment (6%)

The right type of music at your wedding can make it a dance with the stars or break the fun completely. Whether you want to hire a live band or a DJ on the records to remix the music, the choice is up to you — and so is the cost.

Wedding Attire, Hair, Makeup (5%)

Now’s not the time to blow all your money on a single purchase. There are beautiful wedding gowns and suits at affordable prices. In addition, be on the lookout for a professional makeup artist that’s sure to glow you up on your special day.

Stationary (3%)

If you wish to forsake digital contact and focus more on traditional ways, you’ll have to produce printed products for your wedding, including invitations, ceremony programs, thank you cards, postage, and much more.

Wedding Rings (3%)

These are the symbols of marriage you and your partner will wear for the rest of your lives, so get a pair that fits with your personalities and styles.

Transportation (2%)

You might have to bring your guests and family to the wedding somehow and how you’ll do it if at all, depends on your budget. Maybe you’re looking for something on the fancier side with a limo or just a taxi to help out-of-town guests find their way. Or perhaps you’re wedding is in another location that requires a flight — the choice is up to you.

Officiant (1%)

Ah, yes, the officiant! This is the person responsible for legally wedding you and your partner. Be aware that there’s a bunch of prep work involved in having them attend.

Favors and Gifts (1%)

Who doesn’t love gifts? Edible or keepsakes, it matters none! They’re nice gestures your guests and family will appreciate!

5 Steps to Create a Perfect Wedding Budget 

Photography by Kristen Perala, Creative

1. Think About the Kind of Wedding You Want to Have 

Are you out for a dreamy picnic? Or something more akin to the mansion in the Cinderella story? Regardless, you need to describe the vibe you want for your wedding. Think about the style, the emotions. Find the elements that induced these feelings in the weddings you’ve already attended.

2. Count Your Cash

Individual savings

Now’s the time to sit with your partner and decide how much you’re both willing to spend and how. Will others contribute? If so, how much? At the end of the day, it’s better to ask than to miss out and regret not asking.

Set aside a set amount from your current income

As a general rule of thumb, you can set your wedding budget with this calculation: multiply your annual post-tax salary by 40%. This provides a 20% monthly savings for 2 years from your engagement until the wedding. Then, if you get money from family, you may add it on top. Make sure to factor in the guest count as well!

Contributions from parents or loved ones

A simple message you can send to your loved ones and friends for help could be something like this:

“Hey [Dad/Mom], _____ and I have been engaged for a few months now, and we’d like to plan for our wedding. I’m not sure if you’ve thought about it, but I was wondering whether you and Mom are willing to help out? Anything would be beyond helpful!”

3. Prioritize

Pick 3 non-negotiables that you’ve absolutely gotta nail on the big day. Whether it’s hiring incredible musical talent, assembling the perfect bar, ensuring excellent photography, or just a ton of flowers — focus more time and money on these first.

4. Charge Responsibly

With your predicted guest numbers, the money you’re willing to spend, and the vibe of the wedding you’re shooting for, check out if it’s feasible. Research other couples who’ve had weddings like yours and understand how they compromised to reach their goals.

5. Re-Assess, Estimate, and Formulate

You’ll soon find your original plans might not align with reality, and that’s ok! Take a step back, and ask yourself if you’re willing to spend more money or other ways to save money.

Change venue locations

One way to cut costs could be to change venue locations, the type of venue, and its elements (amenities).

Edit the # of guests allowed

Cut down on the guest list by disallowing dates and colleagues from work (if you’re not that close). Identify guests who can bring +1’s and inform others politely that the invitation is exclusively for them. 

Don’t settle for “Typical” Wedding Dates

Maybe have a winter wedding? In most parts of the country, the deep winter months (January, February, and March) are the least popular for weddings. In fact, only 7% of weddings occur at that time, so you bet the costs will be less!

Save Money by Hiring a Resident DJ vs. a Live Band

It’s true you can’t beat the look, sound, and feel of live music, but reducing their playtime, hiring a DJ, or using music from a speaker might be more suited to your budget.

Big Wedding Budget Mistakes to Avoid

Photography by Jaqueline Marie Photography / Editing by Kristen Perala, Creative

Not Determining Who’s Paying for What

Traditionally, the bride’s family fronts the wedding costs. But in today’s day and age, you can assume your partner’s family will chip in too. Ask if they’d like to support you and your partner’s wedding and get a specific dollar amount they’d like to contribute. 

Not Allocating Funds Correctly

Figure how much you need to spend to get the wedding of your dreams and start saving for it. It’s a good rule of thumb to save 20% of your monthly income to reach your target budget. Keep in mind the average cost of a wedding is $33,000.

Forgetting to Keep Track of Your Expenses

Use a system to keep track of how much money is leaving your pockets. You can track payments and due dates with a simple spreadsheet and make sure to keep on top of hidden costs like overtime and extra decorations. 

Not Saving Where You Can

Cut down to your top 3 priorities if you have to. Save money by simplifying the guest lists, gifts, transport, the menu, and even the flower bouquet. 

Not Being Realistic

Be realistic about what each aspect of the wedding should cost and allocate funds based on that.

Planning Your Wedding Has Never Been Easier!

Having a wedding budget is not only helpful but essential. At the end of the day, what’s more important is that you and your partner end up together and commit to each other in front of the people you love the most in the world.

Want to make planning your wedding easier? Check out our Vendor Directory for access to fantastic wedding vendors to fulfill your wedding needs! And for even more helpful tips and tricks, subscribe below to receive valuable resources regularly delivered right to your inbox!

Wedding Decor

Hosting a wedding can be hard work! And crafting an appropriate wedding budget that satisfies the venue, guest lists, meal options, attires, flowers, and more can be even trickier! 

With all of that to juggle, allocating the wedding budget can be a struggle. Luckily, it need not be because we’ve got a thorough breakdown of the potential costs right here!

The Most Effective Wedding Budget Breakdown

The Venue, Catering, Cake, and Decor/Rentals (50%)

The first items on the list are, of course, the most important! 

Think about: 

  • The costs of the venue in terms of catering
  • Venue size to accompany all your guests
  • Site options for different weather situations
  • And a venue that fits the style and tone you’re looking for 

Photography & Videography (15%)

Your wedding photographer is your trusty companion that captures all the joyous moments of your wedding forever. So it pays to find one with a friendly personality and captivating portfolio which fits the style of photography you’re looking for. 

Do note, the cost should cover editing and touch-ups as well.

Flowers (7%)

If you wish to stock up on beautiful blossoms, you should know the cost to process, produce, supply, and deliver them.

Wedding Planner (7%)

We’ve all heard the saying, “it pays to save”. And it really pays when you save money on your wedding — which you can do with a stellar wedding planner. Hiring one will pay off in spades due to their domain knowledge and connections in the industry. So you can sit back and relax (resulting in money and time saved).

Music & Entertainment (6%)

The right type of music at your wedding can make it a dance with the stars or break the fun completely. Whether you want to hire a live band or a DJ on the records to remix the music, the choice is up to you — and so is the cost.

Wedding Attire, Hair, Makeup (5%)

Now’s not the time to blow all your money on a single purchase. There are beautiful wedding gowns and suits at affordable prices. In addition, be on the lookout for a professional makeup artist that’s sure to glow you up on your special day.

Stationary (3%)

If you wish to forsake digital contact and focus more on traditional ways, you’ll have to produce printed products for your wedding, including invitations, ceremony programs, thank you cards, postage, and much more.

Wedding Rings (3%)

These are the symbols of marriage you and your partner will wear for the rest of your lives, so get a pair that fits with your personalities and styles.

Transportation (2%)

You might have to bring your guests and family to the wedding somehow and how you’ll do it if at all, depends on your budget. Maybe you’re looking for something on the fancier side with a limo or just a taxi to help out-of-town guests find their way. Or perhaps you’re wedding is in another location that requires a flight — the choice is up to you.

Officiant (1%)

Ah, yes, the officiant! This is the person responsible for legally wedding you and your partner. Be aware that there’s a bunch of prep work involved in having them attend.

Favors and Gifts (1%)

Who doesn’t love gifts? Edible or keepsakes, it matters none! They’re nice gestures your guests and family will appreciate!

5 Steps to Create a Perfect Wedding Budget 

Photography by Kristen Perala, Creative

1. Think About the Kind of Wedding You Want to Have 

Are you out for a dreamy picnic? Or something more akin to the mansion in the Cinderella story? Regardless, you need to describe the vibe you want for your wedding. Think about the style, the emotions. Find the elements that induced these feelings in the weddings you’ve already attended.

2. Count Your Cash

Individual savings

Now’s the time to sit with your partner and decide how much you’re both willing to spend and how. Will others contribute? If so, how much? At the end of the day, it’s better to ask than to miss out and regret not asking.

Set aside a set amount from your current income

As a general rule of thumb, you can set your wedding budget with this calculation: multiply your annual post-tax salary by 40%. This provides a 20% monthly savings for 2 years from your engagement until the wedding. Then, if you get money from family, you may add it on top. Make sure to factor in the guest count as well!

Contributions from parents or loved ones

A simple message you can send to your loved ones and friends for help could be something like this:

“Hey [Dad/Mom], _____ and I have been engaged for a few months now, and we’d like to plan for our wedding. I’m not sure if you’ve thought about it, but I was wondering whether you and Mom are willing to help out? Anything would be beyond helpful!”

3. Prioritize

Pick 3 non-negotiables that you’ve absolutely gotta nail on the big day. Whether it’s hiring incredible musical talent, assembling the perfect bar, ensuring excellent photography, or just a ton of flowers — focus more time and money on these first.

4. Charge Responsibly

With your predicted guest numbers, the money you’re willing to spend, and the vibe of the wedding you’re shooting for, check out if it’s feasible. Research other couples who’ve had weddings like yours and understand how they compromised to reach their goals.

5. Re-Assess, Estimate, and Formulate

You’ll soon find your original plans might not align with reality, and that’s ok! Take a step back, and ask yourself if you’re willing to spend more money or other ways to save money.

Change venue locations

One way to cut costs could be to change venue locations, the type of venue, and its elements (amenities).

Edit the # of guests allowed

Cut down on the guest list by disallowing dates and colleagues from work (if you’re not that close). Identify guests who can bring +1’s and inform others politely that the invitation is exclusively for them. 

Don’t settle for “Typical” Wedding Dates

Maybe have a winter wedding? In most parts of the country, the deep winter months (January, February, and March) are the least popular for weddings. In fact, only 7% of weddings occur at that time, so you bet the costs will be less!

Save Money by Hiring a Resident DJ vs. a Live Band

It’s true you can’t beat the look, sound, and feel of live music, but reducing their playtime, hiring a DJ, or using music from a speaker might be more suited to your budget.

Big Wedding Budget Mistakes to Avoid

Photography by Jaqueline Marie Photography / Editing by Kristen Perala, Creative

Not Determining Who’s Paying for What

Traditionally, the bride’s family fronts the wedding costs. But in today’s day and age, you can assume your partner’s family will chip in too. Ask if they’d like to support you and your partner’s wedding and get a specific dollar amount they’d like to contribute. 

Not Allocating Funds Correctly

Figure how much you need to spend to get the wedding of your dreams and start saving for it. It’s a good rule of thumb to save 20% of your monthly income to reach your target budget. Keep in mind the average cost of a wedding is $33,000.

Forgetting to Keep Track of Your Expenses

Use a system to keep track of how much money is leaving your pockets. You can track payments and due dates with a simple spreadsheet and make sure to keep on top of hidden costs like overtime and extra decorations. 

Not Saving Where You Can

Cut down to your top 3 priorities if you have to. Save money by simplifying the guest lists, gifts, transport, the menu, and even the flower bouquet. 

Not Being Realistic

Be realistic about what each aspect of the wedding should cost and allocate funds based on that.

Planning Your Wedding Has Never Been Easier!

Having a wedding budget is not only helpful but essential. At the end of the day, what’s more important is that you and your partner end up together and commit to each other in front of the people you love the most in the world.

Want to make planning your wedding easier? Check out our Vendor Directory for access to fantastic wedding vendors to fulfill your wedding needs! And for even more helpful tips and tricks, subscribe below to receive valuable resources regularly delivered right to your inbox!

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