request info email to friend
How to Make and Stick to a Wedding Budget
Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life, but it will also be one of the most expensive. According to Brides Magazine, an average wedding for 135 guests in the U.S. costs $26,522. About three-quarters of couples either partially or entirely cover these costs, and one-third of couples go over their budget in the process. But Brides has five steps to help you create a realistic wedding budget and keep your big day worry-free.
Step 1: Determine how much money you have available for the wedding. For most weddings, the funds come from three sources: savings accounts, monthly income and family contributions. As a general rule, you should have an emergency savings account that could cover three months’ worth of living expenses. If you have more than that amount in savings, you can use that for wedding expenses. Then determine how much you can realistically set aside from your monthly income; you might want to set up a direct deposit for this amount into a special wedding expense account. Finally, ask your families what, if anything, they are comfortable contributing to your wedding.
Step 2: Track your expenses. Start by creating a spreadsheet with columns for costs based on your preliminary research into services (labeled Estimated), vendor proposals (Modified), and the final amount paid (Actual). Also include columns for tax and gratuity; confirm with your vendors whether these are included in the proposed price. Finally, include an Extras column equal to about 15% of your total budget to cover anything you forgot or were not expecting.
Step 3: Be ready for surprises, including expenses you did not realize were there as well as last-minute emergencies. Read through the entire vendor contracts to avoid any unplanned expenses. Some unexpected vendor-related expenses include transportation if you are bringing in a vendor from out of town, set-up and breakdown costs, custom cocktails, and digital access to wedding photos.
Step 4: Be responsible with your credit card usage. Try to avoid charging anything that you cannot pay off within a month. If you do decide to use a credit card, use one with a good cash-back rewards program that can be put toward remaining wedding costs or the honeymoon. But avoid signing up for multiple new cards, because this can hurt your overall credit score.
Step 5: Look for ways to save. Some common ways to trim your wedding budget include finding a less pricey venue, shortening the guest list, choosing off-peak times, having a DJ rather than a live band, lengthening the engagement to save additional money, and having the ceremony and reception at the same venue. You could also think about ordering and addressing paper items yourself and going to the salon for hair and makeup on the wedding day rather than having the stylists come to you.
Wedding expenses can seem overwhelming. But following these few simple steps will help you create a realistic and manageable wedding budget that you can actually follow.