How to Budget For The Big Day

Your wedding will probably be the largest and most expensive party you’ll ever host – after all, it’s one of the most important days of your life! It’s important to carefully manage your budget for the big day so that you don’t go overboard. In fact, 1 in 3 couples end up going over their budget, according to a 2016 BRIDES American Wedding Study. Keep reading for some helpful budgeting tips and to learn how most couples spend their money.

Determining your Budget

You’ll need to figure out how much money you and your significant other have in your savings. Subtract three months’ rent from your savings account in case of unforeseen circumstances such as the loss of a job or a health crisis. That’s how much you can spend for your wedding.

You’ll also want to include a portion of your income into your budget. Set aside 10% of your monthly income for your wedding, but only after making payments for other debts, like your student loans. Start putting aside money as soon as you get engaged. The longer your engagement is, the more you’ll have saved up for your wedding.

Figure out if anyone else will chip in for your wedding, such as your parents or your significant other’s parents. According to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings study, parents paid for 57.2% of the wedding on average. It’s pretty common for parents to chip in, so it doesn’t hurt to ask if they can help pay for it. Any kind of contribution will help!

Things to Consider

After you determine how much cash you have to spend, you’ll want to estimate how many people will come to your wedding. Trim down your guest list in order to save money – food and liquor per guest will be a large part of your budget. If you’re still having trouble putting together your guest list, read our blog post here.

You and your future spouse should each pick one aspect of your wedding to prioritize money on. For example, if you want a lavish open bar and your fiancé really wants an amazing photographer, you can put more of your budget towards these things. You should also each agree on two things to put at the bottom of your list so you know what to spend less money on, like favors or stationery.

It’s important to be prepared for hidden fees when creating your budget. You may encounter additional fees along the way, like for going over your allotted venue time. Other expenses that frequently sneak up on couples include vendor transportation (like for the photographer or DJ), digital access to your wedding photos, and delivery fees. You’ll also want to consider other fees such as taxes, service fees, and gratuity.

Be Smart

There are lots of ways to reduce debt and to keep track of how much money you are spending. Keep track of your spendings in a spreadsheet so that you can stay within your budget. Google Sheets is a great option to record your spending because you can share it with your partner and anyone else involved with paying for the wedding. You can also use free online tools like WeddingWire’s budget tracker or The Knot’s budget calculator.

It’s also wise to create a separate checking account for your wedding so you can see exactly where your money is going. You should also avoid opening multiple credit cards to pay for the wedding. Make sure you pay off your credit card balance as soon as possible.

Cutting out small expenses from your personal life like skipping happy hour or making coffee at home instead of buying it at Starbucks can help you save a lot of money in the long run. If this sounds scary to you, just remember you don’t have to cut these things out of your life forever – it’s temporary.

How to Create your Budget

Here’s how the average couple budgets for their wedding:

Wedding Essentials Percentage
Venue, catering, cake and rentals 50%
Photography and videography 12%
Wedding attire, hair, and beauty 9%
Flowers, lighting, decorations 8%
Music at reception 7%
Wedding planner 3%
Stationery/invitations 3%
Transportation (for bride and groom, wedding party, or even all guests) 2%
Wedding rings 2%
Favors and gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen 2%