Buying a house, purchasing your first car, and having a wedding. What do these three milestone moments have in common? Aside from being big life choices, these moments can get pretty expensive pretty quickly.
If you’re planning your wedding, it’s important to have a wedding budget you can stick with when things start to go not according to plan (and trust us they will). Having a solid wedding budget in place allows you to keep making sound decisions even when the unexpected happens.
But exactly how do you start building a wedding budget and how big or small a budget is too big or small? Today, we’ll break down all the details about how to plan for your wedding budget, How much to allocate for different expenses, and what to do when you’re just not sure what to do next.
What Should Be Included In A Wedding Budget
A wedding budget is a specified sum of money that all your wedding expenses will fall under. your wedding budget should be a fixed amount, one that is realistic, and more importantly, one that you can afford.
So how much of your wedding budget should you allocate to certain things? While each couple will have their own specific wants and needs, there is a general rule of thumb on how much you should be spending and on what.
Here’s a quick breakdown and percent target of how much you should spend on different wedding services.
Your Wedding Venue (30%)
The wedding venue will undoubtedly be the most expensive cost of your wedding budget. At a maximum, the venue should be no more than 30% of your total wedding budget. Depending on the wedding you have, some venues may also include things like catering, decor rentals, and other services that can help chip away at the other cost of your wedding. Shop wisely when you shop for your venue. This can be a great way to maximize costs by shopping venues that offer more services as these can come at a more discounted rate.
Wedding Rental Costs (10%)
You might be dealing with rentals if you have an outdoor wedding or choose a venue that does not have available furniture or decor for your wedding ceremony. When you rent out furniture, tents, and other wedding accessories, you should look to spend no more than 10% of your wedding budget. If these costs come included in your venue, you can eliminate them altogether.
Another one of the biggest expenses that will eat up your wedding budget is catering costs. Catering can get pretty expensive teetering anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. Despite this, there are plenty of ways to cut down on catering costs. One of the easiest ways to cut down on costs is by opting for a buffet catering option as opposed to the more expensive per-plate catering option.
Wedding decorations are another critical component of any wedding. Unfortunately, these are also one of the most expensive costs associated with weddings. The good news is there are so many ways to minimize decor costs. Work with a local florist that understands your budget, rent out decor, or make your own DIY decor. a
Photographer + Videographer (12%)
Photography and videography services are essential for capturing your perfect day. It’s also another one of the most costly expenses you should anticipate. Bundling both photography and videography services should cost you no more than 12% of your wedding budget. Many couples allocate more to this service in order to get better quality, but there are plenty of ways to work with an affordable professional
Attire + Hair & Makeup (8%)
The cost for your wedding dress, your bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits, and hair and makeup, should cost you no more than 8% of your total wetting budget. This service is pretty non-negotiable for many couples, but there are still ways you can pull back on costs in this area too.
Entertainment should run you no more than 7% of your total wedding budget. Many couples will choose to go with a DJ. This can typically be more affordable than hiring a live band to play at your wedding. When planning, do what’s best for you and your partner to make the best decision
Your wedding officiant should be one of the cheapest expenses falling under your wedding budget. Allocate no more than 3% towards this expense. To bring down costs, ask a friend or church leader to be your officiant.
Other Potential Expenses
There are so many other wedding expenses that can creep up on you. Other potential expenses can include the following:
Wedding Planner (3%)
Working with a professional to plan your wedding should cost you no more than 3% of your wedding budget. If you’re working on a tight budget, this can be one of the best places to find some breathing room
Transportation for your guests to and from your ceremony and reception should be no more than 3% of your overall budget. This is another constant that can be eliminated to save on your overall wedding bud
Wedding Favors & Gifts (3%)
Wedding favors and gifts to your guests can be optional, but if you do choose to go for them, allocate no more than 3% of your wedding budget.
What To Consider When Budgeting For A Wedding
As you plan your budget, there are many factories you should consider to keep costs down as low as possible. Consider the following factors.
The location of your wedding will be the biggest cost factor for you to deal with. Getting married in a metropolitan city is always more expensive than in a rural area. Additionally, having a domestic wedding will always be more affordable than a destination wedding.
Time of the Year
The time of year you plan your wedding will have a big influence on the price. planning your wedding during the off-season can help you save over 30-40% of your overall wedding budget. This is because wedding venues, caterers, and other wedding services get insanely expensive during peak season.
Your Wedding Style
The style of the wedding you’re going for will also cost one way or another. Understandably, the more lavish and glam a wedding, the higher the cost will be compared to something like a simple backyard or barnyard wedding
Consider Your Guest List
One of the best ways to cut down on costs is by cutting down on your guest list. Unsurprisingly the more people you invite to your wedding the more you can expect to pay for all your services.
Other Upcoming Investments
As you plan for your wedding, it’s equally important to plan for important events that will happen after the wedding. Take these two events for example
Plan accordingly and budget accordingly so that you can have a honeymoon that is just as magical as your wedding.
After a wedding, you and your spouse will need somewhere to consider your living situation if you haven’t already. House hunting and purchasing your first home together will be a milestone decision that can impact your finances significantly. As you budget for your wedding, keep in mind how that budget could impact any property decisions you made in the coming years
Steps To Create A Wedding Budget
Follow these simple steps and see just how easy it is to put together a budget that works for you.
- Set A Spending Limit
Your spending limit is only good if you are able to stick with it. As you plan your wedding budget, be sure to create a realistic dollar amount that you can allow yourself to play with. Under-compensating will cause you to overspend, while overcompensation could lead to frivolous spending.
- Make A Budget Breakdown
Once you have established a budget, it’s important to allocate specific amounts toward specific wedding services. If you’re not sure where to start, use the average breakdown of wedding services to determine how much you should spend and on what. Of course, every couple is different and some couples will want to allocate more of their wedding budget toward specific services. For example, if a couple really values video and photography, they might want to spend more on a quality photographer and videographer. Determine what services are important to you, and start building out fund allocations from there.
3. Determine Who Pays and When and How Payments Are Made
Aside from determining how much to pay for certain services, it’s equally important to determine who is going to be paying for those services. If you have family members who are going to chip in, you can ask them in what way they want to help you, or you can ask them to pay for a specific service instead.
Tips For Wedding Budgeting
Follow these budget tips and have a happy planning experience.
Keep Track Of Your Spending
It’s important to keep a running tab on what you are spending. An easy way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet that details what you were paying for, who is paying for it, and whether or not it has been paid. Additionally, avoid any frivolous spending that is not accounted for. This is the best way to lose control of your budget meaning you’re spending more than you can afford for your wedding.
Know What Your Priorities Are
Every couple is different and every couple will prioritize certain elements of their wedding over others. It’s important that you and your partner discuss what the important elements of your wedding will be.
Know Who Is Paying For What
If you’re going to have friends and family members share in wedding expenses with you, then it’s important that you make it known right from the get-go. On your wedding budget spreadsheet, outline who will be paying for what and communicate it to them directly.
Have An “Extras” Fund
All great budgets need a little wiggle room. Because of this, it’s important to have a certain amount of your wedding budget allocated to extras. This extra fund can be built into your wedding budget, or it can be a separate budget altogether. If the unexpected happens and you accrue costs that you didn’t plan for, your extras fund will be able to cover it.
Remember To Budget For Hidden Costs
No matter how much you plan, the unexpected will always happen. Part of that unexpected appeal is hidden costs and surprise fees. The best way to prepare for these as well, budget for them. Here’s where you’re most likely to incur these surprise costs.
One of the most unexpected wedding costs Is vendor tips. All too often, couples will have the budget for their wedding vendors but don’t always include tips. Not always services need to be tipped for, but it’s important to understand when you should be tipping and how much.
Depending on the wedding venue you opt for, you may or may not need to factor in clean-up costs.
In some cases, wedding insurance can keep you protected in the event the unexpected happens. Shop wedding insurance to see if it’s something you should consider.
Plan your perfect wedding by starting strong with a solid wedding budget. Let us know in the comments your must do’s and don’ts with wedding budgets.