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How to Budget for a Wedding

how to budget for a wedding

Budgeting for your wedding is definitely not an easy step in the planning process. It can be challenging to nail down and more importantly stick to your exact budget, especially since it should be determined early on, often before the bride and groom have been able to do much research. Creating and sticking to a wedding budget is hard work. And sometimes, your dream wedding vision does not align with what you can afford, and that is almost certainly causing budget distress. Budgeting is hard work but it’s well worth the time and energy to ensure that you are planning a cost-effective big day.

Determine the people that will contribute to your wedding.

The first step in budgeting is to determine the people who will contribute funds to your wedding. In old traditions, the bride's parents were the one who covered the whole bill, but today, both families are often included, and sometimes the bride and groom themselves choose to cover the entire cost or to contribute a significant portion. 

Set a wedding budget.

Start making a budget before you start shopping and avoid the common peril of falling in love with a pricey wedding dress, an extravagant venue, or an over-the-top cake before you talk numbers. With a price range in mind, then begin exploring vendors. If you are finding your budget and wedding plans are completely misaligned, you will need to reconcile this divide before being able to successfully move forward with planning.

Categorize your wedding budget by importance.

This is the time where you take a macro look at each part of your wedding. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to how much money you should spend on each element of your wedding, but determining levels of importance will help you allocate funds where they will be most impactful to you and your fiance. This is your day, after all.

You should be aware of some hidden wedding costs.

It is wise to allocate 5% of your overall budget to act as your fund for miscellaneous expenses that pop up - because they most certainly will! There are plenty of costs that are not often considered ahead of time, such as beauty treatments, marriage license, hotel rooms for the night before the wedding, vendor meals, welcome bags, and overtime costs.

One of the most oft-forgotten expenses during budget planning is vendor tips. While many monetary benefits are built into contracts, gratuities for vendors are typically not. That is why you should consider this carefully and be prepared to tip everyone.

Negotiate with wedding vendors.

Remember that everything is negotiable. Many vendors will be willing to work with you to create a customized package that suits your budget. If you want something for your wedding that is over your budget for that category, be honest and let the vendor know how much you love and want their designs for your wedding day, but you have a certain budget to work with.

Track your wedding expenses to stay organized.

Do yourself a favor to stay organized. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your wedding budget!  And lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. The Starr Celebrations downloadable wedding budget spreadsheet will help you itemize and track each and every expense. Record the actual cost every time you sign a contract or when you are sending payments to help track how close you are to your bottom line. Share the sheet with your partner and family members who are helping to pay for the wedding.

Download Wedding Budget Spreadsheet Planner for Free

CLICK HERE to download The Starr Celebrations Wedding Budget Spreadsheet. It's free!


Do not go into debt just to say I do! Follow these tips on budgeting for a wedding day, and remember that it is not about how much money you spend, but the joy that you feel and the memories you make on your big day. 

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