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Creating your Wedding Budget

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That dreaded word…budget. But looked at in the right context the wedding budget can help you stay on track financially and still have the wedding of your dreams! It all depends on priorities. You don’t want to start your married life together deeply in debt because of your wedding. Sit down with your fiance´and decide together what is really important to the both of you for your nuptials and agree on an overall figure.


Although the wedding industry likes to tout that the average wedding is $25,000, the vast majority of weddings are under $10,000. So you don’t have to feel bad or left out that you don’t have an unlimited wedding budget. Most other brides don’t either.

While a wedding budget is very helpful and necessary in most cases, you don’t have to be a slave to it. The reason most people don’t stick to a family budget is because they don’t like the restrictions placed on them. Our natural reaction is to resist restraint. The same thing can happen with a wedding budget. I encourage you to have what I call a “flexible wedding budget.”

A flexible wedding budget does not change the grand total of your wedding, but allows you to make modifications within it. For example, let’s say you have alloted $1,200 for a wedding dress, but you have found THE ONE and it is $1,800. Look at ways you can reduce spending in other areas. You could shave a little from other areas that are not as important to you. You could look for the dress from resale sources such as Anonymously Yours or Pre Owned Wedding Or maybe you have a found a wedding venue that you love, but it is way out of your price range. Consider having your reception during an off-peak time such as Friday night or Sunday. Saturday night is considered peak time by reception locations and you are going to pay a premium. If you choose an off-peak time you can literally save thousands and get the wedding venue you really want!

Who Pays for What?

Traditionally speaking the bride’s family paid for most of the wedding related expenses. They included: wedding consultant, invitations and announcements, wedding gown, reception, flowers, photographer, videographer, music, groom’s wedding ring, transportation of bridal party to ceremony and reception site, groom’s wedding gift, and bridal attendants’ gifts. The groom’s family paid for: engagement and wedding ring, groom’s tuxedo, bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres, corsages, fee for officiant, marriage license fee, honeymoon, bride’s wedding gift, attendants’ gifts, and the rehearsal dinner.

A great site that you may want to check out is Cost of It breaks down the average cost of a wedding by category. The figures are broken down geographically so you can figure out what the average prices are for your part of town.

Bridal party members pay for their own dresses and tuxedo rentals. They also pay for their own transportation to and from the host city. The bridesmaids may host a shower or luncheon for the bride and the best man may arrange for a bachelor party for the groom.

However, today 78% of wedding couples pay for their wedding costs followed closely by 68% of the bride’s parents. In many cases the bride and groom are older and well established in their careers and prefer to pay for the wedding themselves. In other instances the families spilt the cost three ways. However the wedding is paid for it is important to have mature and candid discussions regarding finances with all parties involved so there are no misunderstandings.

One of the reasons that couples often pay for the wedding themselves is control. If they are paying for the entire wedding themselves they get to make all of the decisions. On the other hand, if you are accepting money from your parents you need to keep their opinions in mind.

Another consideration is the formality of your reception. Do you plan on having a black tie event in a ballroom or a more simpler affair like say in someone’s home? Will you have a seated dinner, buffet or just hors d’oeuvres? These options can vary widely in prices. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, but you need to think about them in your overall budgeting.

An early afternoon wedding is going to be cheaper than an evening wedding. Weddings around holidays may be higher in cost. The availability and costs of flowers are going to vary according to the time of year.

We suggest that you buy a planner with a budget checklist in it that you can fill out and keep with you as you shop. Or you can use a spreadsheet to keep up with your expenses. Some couples open up a wedding checking account. This helps them keep a watchful eye on what they are spending.

This is your wedding and you should consider what is important to you. Decide between you, your fiance´ and your parents what is important to you and carve out a wedding budget from there. Remember to shop around and get different quotes. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a lower price either.

Creating your Wedding Budget was last modified: April 12th, 2018 by Rachel Sommer