Wedding Wednesday: How to Create your Wedding Budget

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Get our wedding budget template here! We use this with all our clients.

How much does a wedding cost?

The average cost of a wedding in 2017 was right around $25,000! While that number may seem intimidating remember that also includes substantial expensive weddings (like Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra) which skew the average. 50% of couples spend $15,000 or less!

Your wedding can cost anything from a couple of hundred dollars to millions of dollars. It really comes down to your expectations for your wedding day and your personal financial savings.

Who should contribute to my wedding costs? This one gets a little tricky! A lot of times family members, including parents or grandparents, contribute to your overall wedding budget. You'll need to have a conversation with them about their willingness to assist and the amount they'd like to contribute. One thing to keep in mind before you have this conversation is whether their monetary contribution will be worth the addition of their opinions into your wedding planning process. For most family members they understand that it's your wedding day and will keep requests to a minimum, but for a particularly outspoken family member, they may think their monetary contribution entitles them to far too much.

How do I decide on how much I want to spend on my wedding? Okay, now that you've established who is contributing and how much, you and your future spouse should sit down and discuss how much you want to spend in total. Evaluate how much you currently have in savings and how much money you think you'd be able to set aside for your wedding in the months leading up to the event. You want to be realistic about budget goals to avoid putting yourself in a tight spot when it comes time to pay all your bills in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Make sure also to consider setting aside funds for a honeymoon if you plan on taking one shortly after your wedding!

How much should I spend on the venue? Food? Photographer? Etc.? There is no right answer to this question! If getting the most beautiful pictures are a priority, then splurge a little on your favorite wedding photographer and select a more affordable venue. There are good options for most things at all price points, so don't feel like you'll have to eat cardboard if you don't have the budget for $10,000 of food. We'll be going over some sample budgets at the end of this post.

How should I be tracking my budget? You should definitely keep track of your anticipated costs and what you are actually spending. I find that an excel sheet works better than most things and there are a ton of great templates online if you do some light googling.

How do I make sure I stick to my budget? The best way to make sure that stay within your budget is that you set up a reasonable budget when you are in the planning process. Reach out to vendors in your area and request some general quotes that way you have a general idea of how much things will cost. Then refer back to that budget often and add any new purchases into your budget tracker. Also budget in some wiggle room, in case something costs more than your had initially anticipated. Hiring a wedding planner can also be a great help when trying to manage a tight budget.

Sample Wedding Budgets!

The Small DIY Wedding

Budget: $5,000

Guest Count: 50

A smaller budget doesn't mean you need to abandon your wedding dreams. This couple wanted an outdoor wedding with sweet DIY details. Their top priorities were a pretty outdoor venue and excellent photos. Here's how their budget might break down.

$750 City Park Venue $750 Drop-Off Catering from local Restaurant

$150 DIY Bar $100 Disposable Plates and Utensils

$125 Table and Chair Rentals $350 Florals

$650 Miscellaneous Decor

$1,500 Photographer $250 Bride's Dress

$0 DIY Hair and Makeup $100 Grooms Suit $75 Officiant & Marriage License $0 DJ No DJ- Speakers and playlist

$0 Email Invitations

The All-Inclusive Venue

Budget: $15,000

Guest Count:100

This couple had a very typically wedding budget. They had their heart set on a local all-inclusive venue, but we're pretty flexible about the rest of the details. In order to save some extra money, they decided to go with a brunch wedding, which reduced a lot of their costs!

$3000 Venue

$5200 Catering

$1800 Brunch Bar $0 Rentals (All chairs tables, linens, place settings included in venue rental)

$1000 Florals

$350 Miscellaneous Decor $2500 Photographer

$400 Bride's Dress

$100 Hair $150 Groom's Suit

$150 Officiant $800 DJ $150 Invitations

The Dream Wedding

Budget: $100,000

Guest Count: 150

This couple want a big party that celebrated their love for music and having fun!

$10,000 Venue

$15,000 Catering

$10,000 Open Bar $1,500 Dessert Bar $25,000 Rentals (including tents)

$15,000 Florals

$5,000 Photographer

$3,500 Videographer $6,000 Bride's Dress

$1,500 Hair & Makeup

$1,000 Groom's Suit

$3,000 DJ

$1,000 Invitations

$2,500 Afterparty Happy Planning!


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