Very few things in life are more stressful than creating a budget for your wedding. From counting your cash to working out how much you can set aside each month to seeing if your parents or loved ones can help contribute, it all starts by knowing how much you have to spend on your big day.
Once you’ve done that, though, the next trickiest (and most important) move to make is breaking down your wedding budget so that you know exactly how much you have to spend and where to spend it: venue, guest list, catering, entertainment, the bar, those unexpected costs you need to consider — every decision relies on your budget and the way you split it.
As a starting point, the best thing you can do is divide your budget into a “for you” column and a “for guests” column. Then with that done, start by making a list that will help you understand where most of your costs will be coming from, the majority of which will go on taking care of your guests fundamental needs, such as the venue and catering, which will account for around 40% of your overall budget.
As for the rest, we’ve pulled together a useful guide that will help you break down your budget, understand what other costs to plan for and what to prioritise.
Breakdown of Your Budget
40% - Venue and Catering
15% - Photography and Videography
10% - Music & Entertainment
10% - Decor
10% - Flowers
5% - Wedding Attire and Beauty
3% - Transportation
3% - Stationery
2% - Cake
2% - Favors and Gifts
Our Planners’ Top Tips
When it comes to trying to keep on top of your budget, our in-house wedding planners all agree there is one question worth keeping in your mind at all times: Are your first choices non-negotiable? This could be the cost of your dream wedding venue, or your wedding gown, or the flowers you’ve chosen, anything and everything.
If your wedding wouldn’t be the same without it, however, but you also know it will put your wedding over budget, have a list of other areas that don’t matter quite as much to you and find a way to reduce those costs as a way to balance the books, so to speak. Of course, if that band or those flower arrangements aren’t so much of a deal-breaker, then find an alternative option that’s both more affordable and you'll probably love just as much.
Tracking Your Spending
One of the easiest habits to slip into is the “yeah, it’ll be fine” habit, where you think all the costs are manageable without actually tracking how much you’ve spent. Always track your spend. Create a spreadsheet on Google Docs and keep it up to date every step of the way. It might sound like a lot of effort, but trust us, you’ll find it’s actually really fun to be as organised as Monica, breaking your plans down into categories and the relevant costs.
Take the category "Bride's attire" as an example. Under that column, create a row that includes everything you would associate with your wedding outfit, from your dream dress to the accessories you’ll wear, right down to the cost of alterations that might be needed.
Then, beneath each column, make sure you add all the important information you need too. We’re talking about supplier contracts, estimated cost, additional fees, VAT and taxes, transportation and accommodation for vendors travelling a long way, everything you can. This will then allow you to create a sum total for each column that you can then update in real-time, making it easier for you to see how accurately you’re spending your budget.