For many couples, a wedding can be one of the first major expenses handled as a duo. It can also be the first time creating and managing a large budget together.
To help you get started on the right foot, here are some tips to set and manage a budget for your big day:
Establish a budget
When it comes to setting a target amount for your wedding budget, you and your partner will likely have to discuss certain details before reaching a final number.
Some questions that may help start the conversation include:
- Who’s paying for the wedding? - speak to your families about who will be covering what costs
- What size and type of wedding can we afford? - the amount of guests, location and type of venue should all be agreed upon
- Should we hire a wedding planner? - decide if you can organize the entire wedding yourselves or if you need to hire a professional
- Should we spend less on the wedding and invest in our future? - some couples choose to put more money toward their future home, honeymoon or family planning
For help with establishing your budget, try this wedding cost estimator.
Once your budget is set, creating a master list of specific costs can benefit you in a couple of ways.
For example, you can ensure all costs are accounted for. You could also see how your budget is allocated and make adjustments if necessary.
Here's a quick list of categorized costs for a $26,000 budget*:
- Venue, food, beverages - $13,000 (50%)
- Photography and videography - $2,600 (10%)
- Apparel - $2,600 (10%)
- Band/DJ - $2,600 (10%)
- Flowers - $1,500 (6%)
- Invitations - $1,000 (4%)
- Wedding cake - $750 (3%)
- Miscellaneous - $750 (3%)
- Transportation - $500 (2%)
- Hair and makeup - $500 (2%)
*this is an example list and is not inclusive of all potential wedding costs
As with most sales contracts, several products and services in the wedding industry hold potential for negotiation. There are many ways to negotiate pricing with venues and vendors that could potentially save you money or acquire products and services for free.
Here are some tips for negotiating your wedding costs:
- Consult other married couples - ask other couples what they paid for the same services
- Shop around - gather quotes from several different businesses to compare pricing
- Don’t take the first offer - request revised quotes based on your research
- Ask for add-ons, instead of lower prices - try to secure a free cocktail hour or meal option
- Be ready to walk away - don’t get too attached to a vendor before reaching a deal
Ask family and friends for assistance
If you have family and friends who could provide amateur or professional services, don’t be afraid to ask. For instance, if you have a cousin who is a stylist, see if he or she could do the hair and makeup at a discounted rate. This approach could save you money and also add a more personal element to your overall wedding experience.
Other goods and services that family and friends could help with may include:
- Officiating the marriage
Wedding bells on a budget
Planning and executing a wedding budget can take compromise, patience and understanding. If you carry these qualities into your married life, it could also prepare you for handling your future finances. In the meantime, congratulations and enjoy planning for your big day!