Has the idea of coming up with a wedding budget gotten you completely overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Many couples struggle with getting started with the wedding plans because it can be so intimidating and confusing to break out the hard numbers for every vendor, every favor, every minute detail. We’re making it easy for you right here with a complete breakdown of how much to allocate to each category and some tips on where you can save.
Dividing up the Budget
No matter what your overall budget is, here’s how it’s likely to be broken down:
- Reception (site, food, drink): 42% to 50%
- Photography: 8% to 10%
- Flowers: 6%
- Rehearsal Dinner: 6%
- Rings: 5% to 8%
- Dress: 5%
- Videography: 5%
- Reception Music: 4% to 6%
- Church/Chapel/Synagogue: 2% to 3%
- Ceremony Music: 2%
- Invitations and Announcements: 2%
- Hair and Makeup for Bride: 2%
- Groom’s Formalwear: 2%
- Transportation: 2%
- Cake: 2%
Save Money – Trim Down the Guest List
If you’re like most engaged couples you’d rather not start off your married life together in deep in debt from going out of control with your wedding. There’s no need to spend more than you’re able to, even for your special day. Decide together on the wedding budget you’re working with, and then stick to those numbers.
Still looking like you’re going over budget? No worries! Here’s where to start with cost cutting: the guest list. The best way to save is by inviting fewer people. While it can seem near impossible to exclude people it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. You can eliminate:
- Plus ones for single guests
- Relatives you’ve never met
- Coworkers you’re not close to
- Anyone you haven’t spoken to in at least a year
It can also be helpful to create “tiers” for the wedding guest list, similar to having an A List, a B List, and so forth. The first tier will be people you absolutely must invite: parents, siblings, grandparents. The second tier is close friends and extended family. The third tear is coworkers and other friends. When making cuts, start from the bottom tier and work your way up.
While you’re keeping the guest list down, remember that you do need to keep your parents in mind if they’re helping to foot the bill. It might be easy to get rid of friends of your parents before anyone else, but you don’t want to hurt feelings with family members – and soon-to-be in-laws!
What can you do is give your parents the number of people they can invite early on in the process. That way, there are no surprises, and hopefully you can catch them before they call everyone in their address book in their excitement over your wedding.
A Final Note
No matter what your wedding budget is you can work with the final number you come up with. Discuss your options with both sets of parents and anyone else who has offered to contribute. Find the ultimate number you’re working with, divide it up into the aforementioned categories, and then you know how much you can spend where.
If you’re over budget in a certain category, cut down in a different one. Not everyone chooses to hire a videographer, for instance – you could eliminate a category altogether! If you know you want to go all out in a certain category – maybe you’ve had your eye on particularly pricey wedding rings – you can make it happen as long as you cut back somewhere else.
Know your budget, set priorities, and then trim your guest list. Then relax and enjoy your big day!
- Real Simple: How to Simplify the Wedding Guest List
- The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine