Some key things to remember throughout your wedding planning process is that no two weddings are alike. This means that your budget and your priorities for your wedding day are unique to you and are very likely to change or be adjusted throughout the planning process. Even though every wedding is unique there are some guidelines or steps that can help you to create your wedding budget. That’s what I’m going to share with you today!
I assume you’ve never planned a wedding before, so it makes absolute sense that you do a little research about weddings beforehand. This makes it easier to create your budget when you know what to expect and you’re prepared from the start. While you’re researching you’ll invest time in meeting with all kinds of wedding experts and professionals, and getting their price lists. This results in knowing the approximates for what everything costs. Once you have this information then you can look at the numbers to figure out what will work for you and create your ideal wedding budget.
One of the most important things when it comes to a wedding budget is making sure you’re on the same page as your spouse-to-be. This may be the least favourite thing to do throughout the whole wedding planning process, but it needs to be done. Make sure to talk about everything from how many people you want to invite, to centerpieces you want. Having all this information written down will help you to keep on track so you don’t get distracted while you’re shopping later. You want to dream and envision your wedding as a couple so that when you start involving others in the wedding planing process you’ll still stick to what you and your fiancé want.
Another important discussion to have is about money. A key point there is to determine who will be contributing to your wedding. Is it just going to be you and your fiancé paying for everything? Or just your parents? Or a combination of you, your parents and your fiancés parents? Every wedding and every family is different, so the only way to figure this out is to talk about it with everyone involved (although it doesn’t have to be done all together, it’s suggested to talk to each family separately). There isn’t a right or wrong way in deciding who contributes to your wedding budget, it just comes down to what you, your fiancé, and your families are comfortable with. Once it’s clear who will be contributing and how much everyone can contribute, you can add it all together to create your wedding budget.
Also, you can personally start saving early for your wedding. As soon as you’re engaged, start saving a portion of your income for your wedding. The longer you’re engaged, the more time you’ll have to save but every penny counts when it comes to your wedding budget.
While you’re discussing with your fiancé make sure to prioritize the parts of your wedding that are the most important to you and to your fiancé; this helps when it comes to setting the budget. If amazing food is a major priority to you and your fiancé, you want to make sure you have a great budget for that. When you’re prioritizing be prepared to make cuts to other areas in your budget so that you can accommodate those areas you want to prioritize.
A good suggestion to help prioritize is to have both you and your fiancé each pick your top three priorities for the wedding day. This short list helps to keep things simple and is easier so you can focus more time, money, or energy on what matters to you two. Your priorities could range from sweet music, an open bar, the photographer your cousin had at their wedding, a stunning five tier cake, an amazing dance party, or just about anything else you can think of. Make these lists separately (to ensure no one is swayed by their partner) so that you have an honest list of your priorities. From there you have a combination of what’s important to you as a couple and can create the perfect wedding within your budget.
Just before you can set your budget there’s one last number you need to know: your guest count. How many guests you’re going to have at your wedding is in direct correlation with the size of your budget. Large guest lists typically means for a larger budget, while a smaller guest list lends for a smaller budget. More guests mean more food, drinks, tables, linens, centerpieces, and the list goes on! This is something you can easily control to stay within your budget. So, sit down with your fiancé and create your guest list. Parents or others contributing to your wedding budget may help with your guest list as well. Once you have your list finalized you can consider this to be your maximum guest list. On average 20-30% of guests will RSVP no to a wedding, so you can consider your guest count to be 20-30% less from your maximum guest list. From there start whittling your list down to people you would absolutely HAVE to have at your wedding and who you don’t. This will help to get your guest count down as well if you are concerned about budget.
Now that you know how much you can spend on your wedding, what your priorities are, and your guest count you can set your actual budget. Below are recommended budget percentages based from my own research from other wedding experts and professionals. This may be a good place to start and adjust for your own priorities and tastes. This is also the time where you realize if your dreams and priorities fit within your budget, so this step in the process will take the most time and finessing.
- Reception: 48%-50%
- Ceremony: 2%-3%
- Attire: 8%-10%
- Flowers: 8%-10%
- Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
- Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
- Stationery: 2%-3%
- Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
- Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
- Gifts: 2%-3%
- Miscellaneous: 8%
To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund.
If you plan on sticking to the budget you just created, then you need to stay organized to ensure you are not overspending. Whether you’re a techie person or a pen and paper person, you need something that works for you to track your budgets, prices from wedding professionals, deposits, and payments throughout the wedding planning process.
Remember your wedding budget is the base of your whole wedding. Good things come from having a budget in place for your wedding!