How to set your wedding budget

Tips, Weddings

January 4, 2024

Before you start booking any of your wedding vendors it is important to have a budget. I know I know, this is the not-so-fun part about wedding planning. You just want to try on dresses and go to cake tastings. Wedding expenses can add up quickly, but having a wedding budget will help you stay on track and out of debt. Read on for my tips on creating your own budget.

Create an overall budget

This is the total amount you want to spend on the day. Consider the following:

  1. How much will you and your fiance contribute through savings?
  2. How much will family members be contributing? Maybe your parents are eager to contribute. Or grandma has her heart set on buying your dress. Find out how much they are able to contribute.
  3. Above your savings and what others are contributing, how much can you realistically and comfortably afford to spend with your current financial situation?

Money conversations can be a little awkward and uncomfortable, I totally get it! But hear me out, you’ll be setting yourselves up to start your marriage on the right foot, rather than drowning in wedding debt. Add up these three items and you have your overall budget!

Make a list of your top priorities

Make a list of your top three priorities for the wedding, aka non-negotiables. These priorities are where you are willing to spend more money. Consider both your and your fiance’s priorities. You may have to compromise somewhere so that both of your priorities are considered. (Start the marriage off right!)

Ask yourself:

– Where do you want to spend more money?

– What will have the most impact?

– What am I okay not spending as much on?

For example, your top three priorities could be:

1. Food and drinks to create a fun experience for your guests.

2. Flowers, because you just love floral arrangements and want the most beautiful bouquet.

3. Photography because you want your best memories captured so you can cherish them for a lifetime.

Break it down

Now that you have your priorities and overall budget, you’ll want to break down your budget by specific categories. Having a more specific budget will allow you to better track your spending.

It’s the same as an everyday budget. You wouldn’t just say I have $5,000 per month to spend. That would likely lead to failing to pay some bills! Instead, you break down your budget based on wants & needs and further to mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, gas, etc., etc. You get my drift! You should apply these same ideas to your wedding budget.

Have your three priorities top of mind, knowing you want to splurge on these three. The other categories are where you may want to save, do a few things yourself, or even exclude completely.

Do your research too! Having an idea of what each item will cost will help you realistically budget. There may be some hidden costs you may not have considered, so give yourself some flexibility.

Some categories to consider are:

– Wedding planner

– Venue, linens, rentals

– Catering including food and drink

– Attire for bride and groom, plus alterations

– Wedding rings

– Hair and makeup

– Photography

– Videography

– Florals

– Stationary including invitations, save the dates, menus, programs

– DJ and/or band

– Officiant

– Decor including signage and centerpieces (if not provided by florist)

– Click here for a great comprehensive Budget Checklist

Having an emergency fund is a great idea also. Unexpected costs are bound to occur so give yourself a cushion in your budget to account for these.

Once you have everything broken down, add it up! Make sure the total of all categories adds up to your overall budget. I love spreadsheets (you can thank my accounting life for that!) so I would recommend putting this all in a Google sheet. That way you can share with everyone involved in paying for the wedding and update for spending as you book your vendors.

Remember, at the end of the day it is not about how much you spend for your wedding day. Your guests love YOU and want to celebrate YOU! So don’t go into debt for your wedding and do budget accordingly!

If you are a couple reading this, I’d love to chat about your wedding day! Please feel free to reach out. Now booking for 2024 and 2025.

Nicole Simensky Photography is a wedding photographer for the kind hearted, sophisticated couple with an edge. Here to put you at ease, have you laughing, and capture timeless photos for you to enjoy for a lifetime. Nicole Simensky Photography serves Towson, Baltimore, Maryland and beyond.

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