Dining tables with chairs set up for a wedding.

    6 Wedding Budget Mistakes to Avoid

    Key Summary
    Here are 6 of the biggest wedding budget mistakes to avoid: not doing your research; not having a priority list; not keeping track of spending; not being tough on the guest list; forgetting to invest in insurance; and forgetting to budget for miscellaneous expenses.


    Planning your dream wedding is a costly but exciting adventure. However, most couples don’t plan weddings every single day, and some people only do it once. So, there is no question that mistakes are made when it comes to creating and executing a wedding budget. Read on to learn some of the most common wedding budget mistakes and how to avoid them.  


    Not doing your research. 

    Step one of creating any wedding budget is conducting research. We don’t expect you to begin planning a wedding with limitless knowledge of how much venues and bands cost in your area. Every single decision you make about your big day should start by researching options that are within budget and available to you.  

    You may be thinking to yourself – “but there are so many options, where do I begin??” 

    Lucky for you, the internet will be your best friend! Research vendors in your area - check out their websites, social media profiles, and reviews. Also, make sure to pay special attention to pricing information on their websites. 

    Another great information source is word of mouth. Has someone close to you recently gotten married? Use their research and knowledge to your advantage.  


    Not having a priority list. 

    It is so easy to get caught up in all the exciting details of planning your wedding, but budgets can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t have a defined list of priorities. Before you even begin planning, talk with your partner about items that are must-haves versus nice-to-haves. And keep this list in mind when you’re in the thick of wedding planning – if having a band is at the top of your priority list, but you have no preference on linens, make sure to consider that when choosing vendors and items. Don’t get caught up in details that are not on your priority list.  


    Not keeping track of spending. 

    Another mistake many couples make when planning a wedding is not keeping track of spending. If you don’t have a fancy program to track expenses, an Excel spreadsheet will work just fine. Just make sure you track every single expense, no matter how small, to get the full picture of how much you’re spending. It's easy to keep seemingly small purchases off your budget, but those small expenses add up quickly. Additionally, as your planning progresses, plan frequent check-ins with your partner and anyone else who is financially contributing to your wedding. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and your spending is on track.  


    Not being tough on the guest list.  

    This can be difficult, but one of the quickest ways to save money on your big day is to cut down on the guest count. One wedding guest can cost you anywhere from $100 - $1,000+. So, the rule of thumb is if you and your partner (or anyone else contributing to the wedding) aren’t willing to write a check for that amount and give it directly to the guest, they probably should be removed from your list.  


    Forgetting to invest in insurance. 

    If Covid-19 taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Special event insurance is one item that may seem like a “nice to have” but consider adding that to your “must have” list. Special event insurance protects you in the event of a cancellation or postponement – whatever the reason. Some vendors may require specific types of insurance but consider looking into an umbrella policy that protects your big day overall. The sense of security insurance provides, like knowing deposits or non-refundable payments are covered, can make the planning process that much easier. 


    Forgetting to budget for miscellaneous expenses. 

    It’s much easier to budget when you know all expenses upfront. However, it’s very challenging to predict every hidden cost. Consider building some wiggle room into your budget to cover these hidden expenses. Research potential hidden costs to get a better idea of how much money to set aside. Here are some common miscellaneous expenses to keep in mind: 

    • Gratuities and vendor tips. Though not all vendors expect or require tips, it’s a standard practice to show your gratitude by providing your vendors and support team with tips or nice gifts. The Knot has a wedding vendor tipping cheat sheet that breaks down exactly how much you should provide each vendor, but in general, you should conservatively set aside $800 for gratuities.  
    • Overtime. If the band was scheduled to leave the stage at 10 pm, but you’ve instructed them to stay and keep the party going, expect to pay overtime costs for not just the band, but also the venue staff, photographer, videographer, wedding planner, etc. If you suspect that the wedding may go over, it’s smart to plan ahead and add overtime charges to your budget.  
    • Service fees. This is the amount that your venue may add to your total bill that reflects the cost of the venue hiring servers, bathroom attendants, parking attendants, etc. Service fees typically add an additional 20%- 25% to the event’s total food and drink bill. Keep in mind, the fewer guest you invite, the smaller this fee will be.   

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