Tips to create a realistic wedding budget

Budgeting is one of the biggest challenges that I notice while wedding planning. Most people don’t know the real costs of wedding vendors, flowers, decorations, venues, food or beverage. Especially when their mother or another elder is telling them that their wedding flowers only cost $400 in 1985.

Listen, nothing costs the same as it did back in the 80’s & 90’s. Not car, clothes, and that includes weddings (especially post-pandemic). So the best thing a couple can do at the very beginning of planning is to figure out how much you are realistically able to spend, wedding style, and what it costs to create that style.

The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study revealed that 49% of couples spent more than they’d planned by an average of $6,373. Some even blew their budgets by over $20,000.

Set your budget before doing anything else. Before you start to research vendors, it’s essential to figure out how much you can spend on your wedding.

  1. Total up your wedding savings (including cash & donations) then create a wedding expense tracking sheet
  2. Prioritize what’s important to you (type of food & alcohol served, custom dance floor wrap,  outdoor/indoor, centerpiece style/florals, customization, invitations, etc.)
  3. Obtain current quotes from wedding professionals (vendors, venue, decor rentals, florals)
  4. Make a guest (include spouses and plus ones)
  5. Here are average budget percentages by category:
    • Ceremony venue, marriage license, officiant, ceremony music (3%)
    • Reception venue, catering, and rentals (45%)
    • Photography and/or videography (12%)
    • Reception music (10%)
    • Flowers & décor (10%)
    • Stationary (3%)
    • Favors & Gifts (2%)
    • Cake (2%)
    • Transportation (2%)

Happy Planning!