Before you book a single vendor, purchase any items, or basically spend one penny, you and your fiance need to read this wedding budget breakdown and have an honest conversation about your wedding’s budget. his talk might be tough but it’s absolutely essential. Weddings are expensive. Unless you have buckets of money lying around (who does?), you’re going to need to spend wisely.
The first step toward doing that is deciding an overall budget and breaking down how you’re going to spend said budget. Determining what you can expect to spend on different aspects of the wedding, such as food and beverage, transportation, and printed materials, can help you stay on track and eliminate a shocking grand total at the very end. Countless (and various) wedding budget breakdowns can be found online, but we find this one from David Tutera’s The Big White Book of Weddings to be the most realistic and easiest to work with.
Whether you’ll be spending $30,000 or $3,000, the percentage of your budget that you can expect to dish out for each category generally stays the same. Having trouble figuring out what 8% of your budget is? We created a helpful tool that will easily calculate all of the percentages. To use the Wedding Budget Breakdown Calculator, just enter your total budget at the top. The rest of the fields will self-populate with the correct percentages and totals. You’re welcome!
There are a few things you should keep in mind!
This breakdown is flexible.
Maybe your ceremony and reception are both taking place in a hotel. In that case, you likely won’t spend 2% for transportation. Allocate that to another category, such as flowers, decor, or something else that is important to you. Perhaps you aren’t interested in a videographer but want to splurge on a top shelf bar instead. Take that 1 or 2% you would have spent on video and add it to the food and drink. If you spend 5% on the cake, you’re going to need to cut 2% from another area in order to stay on track.
Be aware of “hidden” costs.
The 2% allocated to your dress should include the cost of alterations, while that amount put aside for hair and makeup should include the cost of trials. Besides the wedding invitations, the Save the Dates, calligraphy, and postage for all mailings should also come out of the 2% budgeted for printed materials. The venue rentals should include both your ceremony and reception sites. Things add up very quickly!
While helpful, this breakdown isn’t all inclusive.
Items like marriage license fees, wedding party gifts, a wedding planner, or a honeymoon aren’t included. Some of these purchases could come out of your extra cushion allotment, but try and save this for unexpected or higher-than-anticipated costs.
Remember, these aren’t hard and fast rules. Some couples prefer to choose three or four areas that are the most important to them and splurge on these accordingly. They can then cut costs when it comes to other items that aren’t on their must-have list. You could try this method instead! We personally think the best way to keep track of your spending is to combine the two…select the aspects that are most important to you and shuffle percentages around accordingly, allotting more to those must-haves and less to those items you aren’t going to miss if they aren’t there.
But most importantly, remember that a wedding doesn’t have to be lavish or over the top to be beautiful.
A wedding is about you and your sweetie – not the dress, the flowers, the food, the favors, or anything else. All of those things are just icing on the proverbial wedding cake. It isn’t worth ending up in the poor house or having credit card bills you can’t pay off. Before you do any other wedding planning, have a heart-to-heart with your fiance (and any other parties who might be contributing, like parents) about what you can comfortably spend, both overall and on those most-important areas. Make a pact to stick to that budget no matter what. our wallet and relationship will thank you later.