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How to Create a Wedding Budget

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Planning your dream wedding is an exhilarating experience, but it comes with a price tag. Whether you’re envisioning an intimate affair or a lavish celebration, crafting a wedding budget is the essential first step to turning your dreams into reality. I’ll take you through the process of creating a wedding budget tailored to all ranges, from $5,000 to $500,000+ weddings. Let’s dive in and embark on this journey towards your perfect day.

winery wedding

Prioritize Your Wedding Day Essentials

To start, create a list of priorities for your wedding day. Determine which vendors and elements are the most important to you and which ones can be more flexible. If you’re planning to hire a wedding planner, do this step before booking any other vendors. A skilled planner can help you allocate your budget wisely, ensuring that your most crucial elements are highlighted while keeping costs under control.

If you don’t start with your planner and end up booking a ton of vendors, you might find that you’re already at the end of your budget and if your planner is also helping design the wedding then they won’t have anything to work with. If you’re going to the trouble to plan and budget the perfect wedding day, we want to make sure it’s beautiful.

Have Open Conversations About Financial Contributions

Discussing finances with family members can be sensitive but essential. Have an open and honest conversation with parents, grandparents, or other guardians about how much they can contribute to your wedding day. Clarify if the money will be provided up front or if they prefer to pay for specific aspects of the day, such as catering. Understanding these financial commitments early on will give you a clearer picture of your overall budget.

Then, make sure you’re looking realistically at your own budget contribution. So many couples are getting married a little later in life and often put in at least 20% or more to their wedding day. And, if you end up going over budget, it’s easier to have the wiggle room from your own pocket rather than going to a parent.

villa catalana cellars

Align with Your Partner on Budget Expectations

It’s crucial to be on the same page as your partner when it comes to your wedding budget. Have a candid discussion about how much you both want to spend, establishing the low and top end of your budget. Encourage each other to share what areas of the wedding are most important to you individually, ensuring that both partners have a say in crafting your special day.

This might seem obvious, but sometimes it takes soul searching to get your partner to come up with what is truly important to them. But if they wait to do that evaluating until you’ve already spent large parts of your budget, then it’ll be harder to give them what they want.

Consider All Wedding-Related Expenses

Weddings involve more than just the main event. Remember to account for additional activities, such as the rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch, gifts for parents, bridal party, or vendors, and bachelor or bachelorette parties. These expenses can add up quickly, so including them in your budget planning will prevent any surprises down the road.

I know I’ve said this a couple times already, but being open and honest with others in your life about what they’re paying for versus what you’re paying for will take a lot of the guesswork out. Are the girls in your bachelorette party planning to pay for your whole party or will they expect you to split it? Similarly, is one set of parents expecting to throw the rehearsal dinner? It’s good to know these things straight away.

bride and groom embrace in the middle of grape vines at winery wedding

Track Your Spending and Stay Flexible

Wedding expenses can be like a flowing river, and it’s essential to keep track of every cost along the way. Regularly check in with your budget and stay in contact with your wedding planner if you have one. Be willing to make adjustments as needed, and remain open to making decisions that align with your budgetary boundaries.

One of my brides suggested being firm with your planners about where you’d like to stretch your budget. Maybe florals and design are super important but having a mobile bar isn’t. If that’s the case, be upfront and if the planners come back with a vendor who is over your budget, keep searching! There are so many vendors out there!

Creating a wedding budget is an essential step that sets the foundation for planning your dream day. Whether you’re envisioning an intimate gathering or a grand celebration, taking the time to prioritize, discuss financial contributions, and align with your partner will make the process smoother and more enjoyable. Remember to consider all wedding-related expenses, not just the main event, and keep track of your spending to stay within your budget.

As you embark on this journey towards your wedding day, remember that it’s not just about the budget; it’s about cherishing every moment, from the planning stages to the magical day itself. Stay positive, keep your hearts full of love, and allow the joy of your commitment to shine through every aspect of your wedding celebration. Your perfect day awaits, and with thoughtful budget planning, you can turn your dreams into reality.


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