Updated: Jan 5, 2020
How to Create a Wedding Budget in 5 Simple Steps
You may be used to planning birthday parties or baby showers. But planning a wedding is on another level. For most couples, their wedding is the largest and most expensive party they’ll ever throw. And because the costs of hosting a wedding add up quickly, one third of couples end up exceeding their wedding budget. How do you make sure you and your partner aren’t one of them? Check out these 5 simple steps to creating a wedding budget that works for you.
Step 1: Figure out how much money you have
The first step in creating a solid wedding budget is to figure out how much money you have to spend on your wedding. To do this, you need to know who will contribute to the cost of your wedding. For example, will one or both sets of parents cover the entire bill, do you and your partner want to pay for everything yourselves, or will everyone pitch in?
If you or your partner will contribute to your wedding budget, determine how much money you have saved up to pay for your wedding. Be sure you have enough money left over to cover basic living expenses and emergency costs. If any parents are planning to contribute, identify the specific dollar amount they are willing to provide.
Step 2: Find out how much you need
Your wedding budget will depend primarily on what you, your partner, and families can afford. But it’s also important to know how much certain expenses, such as venues, décor, and photography, in your area cost. To determine the costs you can expect to pay, reach out to vendors you’re interested in and ask for an estimate. Does this sound too time consuming? If you hire a wedding planner, he or she will tackle this process for you.
Step 3: Determine how much you can save
Once you know what you should expect to pay for particular wedding expenses, compare it to the amount of money you identified in Step 1. If the amount of money you already have isn’t enough to cover the expenses you’re expecting to pay, it’s time to think about how much money you can save. Save money by putting 20% of your monthly income toward your wedding budget. You can also cut down on your daily expenses by limiting the number of times you eat out, buy a latte, or go to the movies.
Step 4: Prioritize expenses
Unless your current and future savings are more than enough to cover the cost of your wedding, it’s time to prioritize. Sit down with your partner and identify the items that are most important to have at your wedding, such as good food or a particular venue. At the same time, identify items that aren’t very important, such as having a live band or a videographer. When you know what’s most important to you, you can modify your wedding budget to fit your needs and wishes.
Step 5: Track your spending
Weddings have so many expenses that it’s easy to lose track of how you’re spending your money. To keep track of your wedding budget, monitor your spending carefully. Make a spreadsheet that lists each item you’ll have to pay for. Include columns to indicate both the estimated and actual costs of each item so you know how close each cost is to what you budgeted for.
Be sure to include tips and tax in your wedding budget tracking sheet. And to be safe, set aside 15% of your total budget for extra costs that you haven’t thought of yet, such as permits and corkage fees. Of course, if you hire a full-service wedding planner, he or she will track your spending at each step of the planning process.
It’s worth it to create a detailed wedding budget
Weddings are stressful enough. Avoid worrying about debt on your big day by taking the time to create a detailed wedding budget. At the beginning of your wedding planning process, identify how much money you can spend and what you should expect to pay. This will save you from surprises down the road and help you use your money most efficiently to host a wedding you’ll never forget.
Need help planning the perfect wedding within your budget? Contact us to find out how we can help you get the best value for your money.