Build a No-Brainer Wedding Budget
If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve likely just gotten engaged or are in the midst of planning the wedding of your dreams. CONGRATULATIONS! What is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of your life can quickly become overwhelming when you see the price tags behind everything that goes into planning your big day.
The good news – you’re not alone. We are here to take some of the stress away by helping you build a no-brainer wedding budget.
Establish Your Overall Budget
Before you begin building out your detailed wedding budget, you first need to determine how much you can afford. It is crucial to be honest about your wedding day expectations from the start because what you can afford will impact how you allocate and spend your budget. It is a good idea to have a conversation with anyone who is financially supporting your wedding (your significant other, family members, etc.) to establish what you have to spend and how you should prioritize the investments.
According to the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in 2022 was $27,000. However, keep in mind there are several factors that can impact the overall cost of your
big day including:
- Location. It shouldn’t come as a shock that some places are more expensive to host a wedding than others. For example, big cities (think New York, NY; Washington, DC; Chicago, IL) and popular
beach destinations (think Miami, FL; Charleston, SC; Santa Barbara, CA) will be the priciest locations for weddings. Make sure to consider your budget before getting your heart set on a destination.
- Date and Time. Wedding season extends from late spring through early fall, with weddings
peaking in June and September. Venues and rentals will likely be more expensive during this period, especially on popular event days – Saturday and Sunday. If you’re flexible with dates, consider hosting your wedding in the off-season
or even on a weekday. Additionally, weddings in the evening are more expensive than events in the morning or afternoon. This is another option to consider when building out your detailed budget.
- Guest Count. The size of your guest list has a considerable impact on your budget. Each person you tack onto your guest list adds additional dollars for food and beverages – two of the biggest overall expenses. Additionally, extra guests also increase your spending on décor, stationery, favors, and rentals (among other things).
Wedding Budget Breakdown
Every year, The Knot releases a Real Wedding Study to provide a comprehensive look at how weddings unfolded the previous year, They also tap into the newly engaged to understand what to expect for the upcoming wedding season. The company put together a 2021 wedding budget breakdown that indicates the general percentage each element should contribute to your overall wedding spend. We’ve used the study and provided an example of spending per category based on a pretend wedding budget. One caveat the company gives – this budget is based on national averages and should be used as a starting point. The percentages don’t add up to 100%, and that is on purpose. The Knot explains that your final wedding cost breakdown ultimately depends on factors like location, date and time, and guest count. It also depends on choices like band vs. DJ, dry wedding vs. serving alcohol, etc.
You’ll notice in the below budget elements we’ve included percentages for the most common factors
present at a wedding. It’s up to you and your partner to decide which elements are important to your big day!
Budget Elements and Example
In our example, let's assume the couple's budget is $30,000.
Wedding Budget Elements
Pretend Budget Spend
|Total Example Spend: $30,000|
Wedding Venue: 30%
Wedding Rings: 7%
Alcohol and Liquor: 7%
Couple’s Attire: 6%
Wedding Planner: 5%
Lighting & Décor: 5%
Guest Entertainment: 3%
Hair & Makeup: 2%
Wedding Favors & Gifts: 1%
Setting a wedding budget is the first, and most important, aspect of planning your big day. It’s hard to execute your vision if you’re unsure how much money you have to spend. Use our guide to help alleviate some of your budget planning stress, and enjoy this exciting time in your life!