How to Create a (Tight) Wedding Budget

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So you’re getting married and it’s time to start wedding planning! But before you jump into the world of wedding gowns or venues, you have to know one very important detail: your wedding budget.

I know it isn’t a fun task, but it’s absolutely crucial to have a set budget first and foremost! Without a budget, you’re in danger of overspending (a lot), possibly going into debt (which I never recommend), and overall setting yourself up for disappointment!

Decide How Much to Spend

You can’t create a budget without knowing how much you can spend overall.

Sit down and write down all financial sources which are contributing to your wedding.

This can be:

  • Savings from yourself & your fiancé
  • A set amount from your parents
  • Childhood savings

If you’re struggling with finding a number, decide how much you can save from each paycheck.

Next, count up how many paychecks you have between now and your wedding date.

Finally, multiply the number of checks by the amount you’re able to save and voila! There’s your magic number.

Say you’re able to save $150 per paycheck and you have 28 paychecks between now and the wedding. This means your wedding budget should be around $4,200 assuming that’s your only source of wedding finance.

That may not sound like much to some in the wild world of wedding planning, but this is a budget site after all!

Divide it Up by Categories

Now that you know just how much you can spend, it’s time to divide it up into individual sections.

A typical wedding budget breakdown is as follows:

Venue & Catering – 36%

This includes your venue (of course), wedding insurance (if your venue requires it), food, drinks, tables, & chairs. Many venue rentals include tables & chairs.

Photography – 15%

This includes any engagement or bridal shoots, photographer, videographer, and wedding album.

Music – 10%

This includes ceremony music and the band or DJ.

Flowers – 10%

This covers the florist.

Decor – 10%

This includes ceremony decor, reception decor, linens, etc.

Attire – 5%

This covers the bridal gown, groom’s tuxedo, accessories, hair styling, and shoes.

Miscellaneous – 4%

This covers marriage license, coordinator, officiant, and tips.

Transportation – 3%

This covers transportation to the ceremony and reception.

Stationary – 3%

This includes save the dates, invitations, place cards, program, menus, seating chart, etc.

Favors – 2%

This covers your wedding favors for guests.

Cake – 2%

Finally, this of course covers the wedding cake and groom’s cake.

Again, that breakdown is:

  • Venue & Catering – 36%
  • Photography – 15%
  • Music – 10%
  • Flowers – 10%
  • Decor – 10%
  • Attire – 5%
  • Miscellaneous – 4%
  • Transportation – 3%
  • Stationary – 3%
  • Favors – 2%
  • Cake – 2%

To help you visualize better, I’ll use my number above ($4,200) for an example.

  • Venue & Catering – $1512
  • Photography – $630
  • Music – $630
  • Flowers – $420
  • Decor – $420
  • Attire – $210
  • Miscellaneous – $168
  • Transportation – $126
  • Stationary – $126
  • Favors – $84
  • Cake – $84

Now before you freak seeing those low amounts, breeeeathe! I know that these numbers can seem low and truthfully if you go about planning a wedding the completely traditional way, they are!

But that’s why I am here! It is absolutely 100% possible to have an amazing wedding with a low budget.

It’s also important to remember that this is a guideline! Don’t want to pay that much for a venue? Great! Put the extra towards your dress. Not having favors? Add it to your music budget.

Customize your budget to meet your needs. It is your wedding, after all!


Sample Budget Breakdowns

The following breakdowns allocate the budget according to the suggested percentages, but remember prioritizing what you find most important is what will make your budget work.

$2,500 Wedding Budget

$3,500 Wedding Budget

$5,000 Wedding Budget

$10,000 Wedding Budget

Track Expenses

Having your budget set is one thing, but it won’t do you any good unless you keep up with it!

I suggest creating a spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Excel to track each and every expense!

And I do mean every expense! Every candlestick from the thrift store, every accessory, everything!

It’s crucial to maintain good records so you know exactly where you stand when it comes time to tally up the final total!

Now that the tough stuff is over, maybe you should do a little dress shopping to lighten the mood!

Until next time, keep your pretty heads high and your purse strings tight!

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