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Create a Budget for Your Wedding

How to Create a Budget for Your Wedding

by Sally Kelsies

Your wedding day should certainly be special. Many people dream of their wedding years and even decades before it happens. However, with this celebration can come some very large bills. These days, more often than not, the bridge and groom are left with the invoice. This has led to couples looking for ways to downsize their wedding and save money. Here we will talk about what you need to consider when it comes time to create a budget for your wedding.

Weddings are expensive!

When you add everything up, a wedding can cost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. Just think about everything that goes into a wedding. First, you have an engagement ring and wedding bands. Then you have wedding specific items like save the date mailers and actual invites. Oh, you can’t forget the cost of the wedding dress and the tux for the groom. We haven’t even mentioned renting your venue, paying for food, paying for transportation, and all the small things like flowers and wedding favors, or the cake!

Wow! There is so much. If you want the best of everything, then expect to pay a pretty penny.

One of the worst things a newly married couple can do is ruin their personal finances by taking out debt for a wedding. It is even worse to drain your emergency fund to pay for a wedding. Afterall, that money is for emergencies! If you downsize your wedding, and make sure you create a budget for your wedding, you can save a ton of money. This money can then be spent on a honeymoon, or you can use it for a down payment on your new place.

That being said, here are some things to consider when you need to create a budget for your wedding.

What type of wedding do you want?

Before you can state the process to create a budget for your wedding, you need to get a high level idea of what you want your wedding to be like. This will help you down the line determine the actual budget.

Do you want to do something low key with just family members? Maybe you want to have over 200 people there. Do you want to have a destination wedding in the tropics? How does it sound renting out a castle to have your wedding at?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself and discuss with your partner. Going through a lot of financial related stress before you get married can start things off rocky. You want to avoid this at all costs.

When determining the type of wedding you want, be conscious of how much money you are willing to spend. You may have family members help you out, and you can probably use some gift money to pay the bills. But you never want to make any assumptions.

What is your current budget?

When you create a budget for your wedding, you probably have a ballpark number you want to stick to. Maybe this estimate is $5,000, or maybe it is $20,000. Everyone’s financial situation is different. The first step you should take if you create a budget for your wedding is estimate a ballpark figure.

You can do this by getting a list of all your expenses, as well as how much money you have to spend on your wedding day. Another thing you can do is determine how much money you can save up before you have to start paying the wedding bills. After you chose your wedding date, you can figure out how much time you have to save up what you think your wedding will cost. You should start saving right after you engagement.

Look at every expense.

Have any detailed oriented friends? This is when you might want to give them a call to help plan your wedding budget. Now is the time to think about every single wedding related expense you will have. You can break these expenses down in several main categories. Also, think about some of the associated costs with the wedding – like price of the rings – and not just wedding related items.

  • Clothing – bridal party dresses, wedding dress, groom’s tux, groomsmen attire. Many times the wedding party themselves will pay for, or help pay for, their attire for the wedding.
  • Makeup/Hair – You will want your hair to look extra good on your wedding day. So you are most likely going to need to hire a makeup artist or artists to beautify yourself and the bridal party. They can hep out with makeup and hair.
  • Rings – you can’t have a wedding without a ring. Think about how much wedding bands will cost.
  • Cake – wedding cakes are not cheap!
  • Venue – some venue related items include price of a church or the place you want the ceremony at. You may have to pay a priest or at least give them a small gift for the service. You will also have to pay for the actual venue itself which can cost thousands and thousands of dollars.
  • Food – food items that you need to consider when you create a budget for you wedding is cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, dinner, as well as dessert besides the cake.
  • Drinks – many weddings offer drinks, either a cash bar or an open bar. An open bar can cost upwards of $4,000. If you have a cash bar, you can offset some of this expense.
  • Decorations – if the venue is not supplying décor, you will have to worry about it. Décor can include flowers, and more.
  • Stationary – you can’t forget to include the price of save the date mailers, wedding invites, table name cards, as well as thank you cards.
  • Photographer/Videographer – the last item on this list is the price of a photographer and videographer. You are going to want to spend money one of these so they can make your special day last a lifetime.
  • Transportation – you will probably want to rent a limo or party bus for the wedding party. Also, if your ceremony and the venue are at different locations, you may have to hire a coach bus or two to drive people back and forth, or back to the hotels they are staying at. If you are offering alcohol at your party, be responsible and hire a bus or car service for your guests – they will thank you and have an even better time!

Ways to Lower Your Costs

There are so many expenses that you will realize when you create a budget for your wedding. Now that you have the big picture of what things can cost, focus on minimizing these expenses.

First, get rid of the items you can do without. You may want to skip the caviar and crème brûlèe.

Next, think about ways that you can reduce these expenses:

  • Hold your ceremony and reception in one place. Maybe this is also a resort so your guests can stay there as well. This will remove the need to worry about transportation.
  • Look into unconventional places to hold your wedding. Maybe you know someone that has a big field that you can put up a big tent in to save thousands of dollars.
  • Choose meaningful wedding favors that may not cost a ton.
  • Send out e-invitations instead of a wedding invite or save the date. (You should still send physical thank you notes though).
  • If you are having a ceremony at a venue, think about holding it on a Friday, Sunday, or possibly a holiday.
  • Book everything in advance as much as you can. You don’t want to have to pay any surcharges.
  • Look into suit rentals and dress rentals for the wedding party, or have them foot the bill.
  • Skip the destination wedding. If you hold the wedding somewhere that more people can get to for free, the more people you can invite which means the more money you can get as gifts. (You may however want a destination wedding to limit the number of attendees to save money in the end though. Also, if you have a local wedding and invite more people, other expenses like food and drinks will increase too.)

Hire a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner can definitely save you money on your actual wedding. Many times a wedding planner has connections and contacts and can get better rates on the venue, or caterers. Wedding planners also have a ton of experience and have probably planned a bunch of weddings with a wide variety of budgets. They will be able to tell you what items are must haves on your wedding day, and what are the things you can skip.

While hiring a wedding planner has its many advantages, a wedding planner costs money. Sometimes their fees outweigh any possible savings they can offer by getting discounts. Instead of hiring a full out wedding planner, you may want to consider looking into a wedding consultant or wedding coordinator.

Creating a Budget for Your Wedding – Summary

There is just so much to consider when you go through the process to create a budget for your wedding. First, take a look at your current financial position to see how much you can spend. Then, calculate how much you may be able to save between now and your wedding day. Next, itemize each cost, get an estimate on the cost, and then tally this up. If the estimate is not in your budget, start removing some items.

Lastly, you can consider hiring a wedding planner. Although they do cost money, they may be able to save you some in the long run.

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