How To Create A Realistic Budget For Your Wedding

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Once you've gotten past the euphoria of being newly engaged (Congratulations!) one of the first things you'll need to do after setting a date for your wedding is to create a budget for your big day. While you may have probably laid out the wedding of your dreams in your mind (the amazing venue, the designer dress, those gorgeous florals), it's important that you set a realistic budget for your wedding day to ensure you don't derail your long term financial goals.

Stats show that 1 in 3 couples go over budget with their wedding and take on wedding-related debt which is definitely not a good way to start out your finances in marriage. Being clear on what you can truly afford will help you avoid being a part of those statistics, plus, you can still have a stunning wedding on a budget.

"Stats show that 1 in 3 couples go over budget with their wedding and take on wedding-related debt which is definitely not a good way to start out your finances in marriage."

To avoid your wedding day becoming overly expensive, here are some guidelines to help you create a realistic budget for your big day while still keeping your long-term financial goals intact.

Creating A Realistic Budget For Your Wedding

1. Determine how much you can afford and who is paying for what

As you outline the details of your wedding, it's a good idea to first sit down with your significant other to discuss your long-term financial goals and what amount makes the most financial sense to pay for your wedding based on those goals.

Having this conversation will allow you both to set realistic expectations and avoid unnecessary disagreements down the line. It's also important to have a conversation with your families if you will be receiving financial support from them to pay for your wedding.
Some questions you'll want to answer include -

  • Will you be getting financial support from your parents or family? If so, how much?
  • Are you and your fiance paying for the wedding yourselves or are you and fiance also contributing to your wedding expenses in addition to your families' help? If so, how much will you each be contributing?

Once you know what these numbers are, you'll want to add them up and use that final number as the basis for your wedding budget.


2. Set up a detailed spreadsheet that includes all your expected wedding expenses

After you've determined your "number" it's time to set up your wedding budget. Below are items you'll want to include in your budget:

  • Reception costs - Venue, food, decor, rentals etc (This will most likely take the bulk of your budget ~50%)
  • Ceremony costs - Venue, officiant etc
  • Clothing - Wedding dress, shoes, suit etc
  • Wedding cake
  • Wedding rings
  • Florals
  • Entertainment
  • Photography/Videography
  • Invitations
  • Transportation
  • Bridal party gifts
  • Wedding insurance
  • Miscellaneous
  • Honeymoon

It's also a good idea to allot 5% or so of your total budget to cover any unplanned or surprise expenses.

3. Start saving and keep your emergency fund intact

Once you know what things are going to cost you and you have your budget squared away, it's time to start saving. Build a line item into your existing budget to start putting money aside for your wedding. Keep in mind that you may need to forgo certain things in other to meet your savings goals for your big day. Things like daily coffees, gym memberships, vacations, shopping etc might need to be placed on the back burner while you save for your big day.

Also if you choose to put your long-term savings on hold while you put aside money for your wedding, it's important to keep your emergency fund intact because life happens regardless of whether you are planning a wedding or not. Your emergency fund should not be used towards your wedding expenses.


4. Track your wedding spending and find ways to save

If after assessing your budget it seems like paying for your wedding will be a stretch, consider extending the time until you get married. Also, it's very important that you track your spending as it pertains to your wedding to ensure you stay on top of the budget you have set. Little expenses like hair accessories, cake toppers etc add up so be careful.

Also start researching ways you can save on your wedding, from getting married during the offpeak season to using florals in season to having a lunch as opposed to dinner wedding, there are a ton of ways you can save and in "THIS" blog post I share  7 examples.

5. Consider a small simple wedding to save money

Small and simple weddings can be just as beautiful as large fancy weddings, the big difference is the amount of money that you'll save. At the end of the day, your wedding celebration is only for one day and your marriage is for a life-time and so it makes more sense to step into your marriage financially sound than to blow a ton of money if you cannot really afford it on one-day wedding party.


Are you currently planning a wedding? Have you set a wedding budget? How are you ensuring you stay under your wedding budget?


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