How to Budget For a Wedding: Wedding Budget Checklist

The average cost of a wedding was $28,964, according to data from Brides in 2021. When creating your wedding budget, start by figuring out the total amount you can or want to spend.

Make a list of your major expenses for the wedding, and then assign a percentage of your budget to each category to determine the dollar amount for each item. Your wedding budget may be influenced by factors such as your preparation time, savings, and monthly savings plan.

Key Points:

  • Creating a wedding budget helps you avoid overspending and starting your married life in debt.
  • Consider your location, wedding size, ceremony, and reception preferences when planning your budget.
  • Choose expenses based on what you can rea listically afford and discuss financial contributions with your future spouse.

Factors Influencing a Wedding Budget

The total cost of your wedding can be influenced by factors like:

  • Your location
  • Local vs. destination wedding
  • Number of guests
  • Wedding traditions or new additions

In 2020, micro-weddings (under 50 guests) and “minimonies” (limited to 10 people, costing around $1,400) gained popularity, as reported by Brides and The Knot.

Consider external factors like inflation and supply chain disruptions, which can impact the overall wedding cost.

What to Include in Your Wedding Budget

Your wedding budget may vary based on your ceremony’s scale. Start with a comprehensive list of potential expenses and narrow it down based on affordability. Common items include:

  • Venue
  • Rental fees for tables and chairs
  • Officiant’s fees
  • Marriage license
  • Catering
  • Alcohol
  • Wedding cake
  • Favors for guests
  • Bridal party/groomsman gifts
  • Bachelor/bachelorette party
  • Flowers and decor
  • Photographer/videographer
  • Music and entertainment
  • Wedding invitations/stationery
  • Bride and groom attire
  • Hairstyling/Makeup
  • Wedding bands
  • Transportation
  • Rehearsal dinner

Setting a Wedding Budget

If your wedding is 10 months away, and you plan to spend $19,000, with $3,000 already saved, it means you need to save $1,600 per month. However, considering your take-home pay is $3,200, saving half of it may not be practical. Assess your monthly budget realistically.

Suppose you can only save $400 per month. In 10 months, combined with your $3,000 savings, you’d have $7,000 for the wedding. Now, you have a few options:

  1. Scale down the wedding to fit within the $7,000 budget.
  2. Find ways to increase your income to save more each month.
  3. Seek financial assistance from family and friends.

Wedding Budget Percentages

Allocate your budget into percentages for different categories. For a $19,000 budget, it might look like this:

  • 40% for venue and catering ($7,600)
  • 10% for furniture rental ($1,900)
  • 10% for photography ($1,900)
  • 10% for flowers and decor ($1,900)
  • 10% for entertainment ($1,900)
  • 5% for bride and groom attire ($950)
  • 5% for hairstyling and makeup ($950)
  • 3% for the cake ($570)
  • 3% for stationary/invitations ($570)
  • 2% for favors ($380)
  • 2% for transportation ($380)

These percentages can be adjusted based on your priorities, helping you visualize how much to allocate for each expense.

Who Pays for What

Discuss financial contributions with your future spouse and families. In 2020, WeddingWire reported that parents covered 52% of wedding costs, while the couple paid 47%, with 1% from other loved ones.

Couples often used savings, cash, checks, or credit cards. Consider what both families and you can afford individually. Traditional norms are evolving, with 58% of couples paying for their reception, according to a 2020 Brides survey.

Income disparities or substantial savings can influence who pays what. Couples should find a compromise that suits everyone involved financially, considering the changing dynamics of wedding financing.

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