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  • Maggie O'Heran

Wedding Budget 101

Breaking down the dollars and sense to your wedding budget

I may have jumped the gun a bit with last week’s post on the 10+ Things No One Mentions When Wedding Planning. That one may be a bit more useful for you down the road. So, this week, we are going to back track a little and get back to the early planning phase and talk about budget.

After taking The First 5 Steps You Need to Start Wedding Planning, you need to decide your budget. Your budget will not only necessitate how you will execute your goals, objectives, and vision, but help you chose the right professionals to assist you on your day. If you are wedding planning and haven’t written out your goals, objectives, and vision - stop now and go and do that before moving on to the next paragraphs ;-)

Just like in any budgeting, your first step in wedding budgeting is knowing the ideal amount that you have to spend. If you are getting help from others, you need to know how much they will be contributing and how much they will play a role in decision making because of that contribution. This is another area where I will say – stop what you are doing and make it a point to communicate with both sides of family about budget if you have not done that already and are expecting help.

If you have talked with financial contributors, or you know you are doing it all on your own, your next step is breaking out your categories from your total. No matter what that total number is, the following is a percentage breakdown of what you can expect to allocate your total amount to*.

Now, this breakdown isn’t an end all be all of wedding budget breakdowns and your categories may be different, but the above gives you a good idea how to spend the money you have dedicated to your wedding. It’s important to note that vendor tips, attendant attire, and attendant hair/makeup is not included in the breakdown above. If that is something you want to provide (you should tip your vendors), you will want to allocate funds from other areas. Nor does this breakdown reflect the same breakdown as an outdoor wedding. Outdoor weddings are a different topic all together that we will get into another day. With this breakdown, your goals, objectives, and vision come into play too. You will have a better handle of the priorities you and your partner have for your big day and help you with deciding the right professionals to hire and venue to book. Real life tip - you don’t want to set your heart on a venue that costs $10,000, when you only have $12,000 to spend in total, so take the time to do a budget breakdown.

After all is said and done with your budget and budget breakdown, it’s important to remember to track, track, track. I’ve read somewhere (don’t ask me where though, oops) that the longer you plan your wedding, the more comfortable you are with spending money. Tracking not only helps you avoid overspending, it will also show you areas where you have extra funds to allocate to a different category or a splurge on something special for your special day.

And I can’t end this post without mentioning having a contingency fund of some sorts outside of your budget breakdown. In the times of COVID, having extra funds available ensures you have a cushion to utilize if plans change and you are suddenly planning a backyard wedding or you have to reprint all of your invitations. Which brings up another important point - I cannot stress enough that you do need wedding insurance and that is an allocation that you cannot reallocate.

I also don’t recommend cutting a wedding planner or coordinator out of your budget. Not only can we help you navigate all of the phases of wedding planning, we can also usually save you money in the long run. That being said, in the end, budgeting is a personal decision that takes thought and consideration. There is no wrong or right answer when it comes to budgeting but the above can hopefully help you navigate the world of wedding budgeting. If it brought any questions up for you, don’t hesitate to reach out, I love sharing my knowledge <3

*Based on breakdown from the Association of Bridal Consultants Professional Wedding Planner Program – Planning and Consulting by Gloria Boyden


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