What is a Good Budget for a Wedding?

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Wedding planning isn't just about picking out the perfect dress and cake. You're also responsible for creating a detailed budget that covers everything from flowers to travel expenses. Here are some tips for helping you build a wedding budget that ensures your wedding spending works for both you and your fiancé.

Establishing a Wedding Budget

Couples don't always have an unlimited budget, but they shouldn't worry too much about that. Your wedding budget should fall in a range that you are both comfortable with. Remember, you shouldn't have to go into debt to celebrate your marriage.

If finances aren't your forte, then sit down with your fiancé and create a wedding budget together. It's fun! You'll both learn what's most important to each of you and what you want for your big day. If you don't know where to start, think about the following.

First, consider what you can actually afford to spend on your wedding. Write down the following questions so you can keep track of your decisions:

  • How much money do you have in your savings?
  • How much of your savings would you be willing to spend on the wedding?
  • Will there be enough money remaining for an emergency?
  • How would you be able to contribute from your current regular income?

To discern how much of your current income you can afford to apply to your wedding budget you first need to first calculate how much money you make each month. Next, figure out your regular monthly expenses, such as bills, groceries, and other regular expenditures. Once you've established how much money is being spent on regular monthly expenses, subtract that number from your combined incomes.

Save any remaining funds for your wedding. If you don't already have any leftover cash, then start looking for ways to cut back on your monthly expenses. For instance, you may eat out less frequently or avoid weekend trips because you're saving up for your wedding.

If you're tempted by using credit card debt to cover your upcoming nuptials, remember that credit card debt can quickly accumulate if you don't watch out. You should only use a card for purchases if you can realistically repay the balance of those wedding costs within a few months.

Are Family Members Able or Willing to Contribute?

Do you or your fiance have parents or other relatives who have offered (or will offer) to help contribute to the wedding expenses? If you do, learn how much they plan to offer and fold that amount into your budget. Also, if a family member offers to cover the cost of the wedding dress or other expense instead of contributing cash, factor this in. You can deduct the cost the dress when you finalize your budget.

Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

You and your partner need to decide which kind of wedding you both want before you start planning. You can choose from an abundance of options when planning a wedding reception. In contrast, you could have a small backyard wedding with just your closest friends and relatives.

Spending within your budget doesn't necessarily prevent you from getting everything you want for your wedding. Discuss with your partner what s/he thinks are the things they would like to have the special day.

You can designate more funds for the items you and your partner consider priority items. Put together a list with the top three things you consider "a must" for your wedding, such as your ideal wedding gown, a particular caterer, a special wedding venue or special photographer/videographer.

Once you've decided your must-haves for your big day, create a list of things you can't afford but would be nice to have. If you're not prioritizing real flowers, choose faux or DIY options instead. For example, if you don't want to spend too much money, consider buying fake flowers or making your own arrangements.

Regardless of how much you have available to spend for your wedding, you can still have an absolutely beautiful day if you focus on your priorities. Once you know what is most important to you on your wedding day, then you can start planning for these things right away and backburner anything else that isn't as important to you.

Establish Your Wedding Guest List

The length of your guest list will guide how much you'll need to allocate for your venue, catering (don't forget the wedding cake), wedding invitations, wedding favors, and any other items you are considering offering your guests. A general rule of thumb is that you should expect to budget at least $100 per guest.

If you're budget is tight, one of the best ways to trim costs is to limit the size of your wedding party and keep your guest list smaller and enjoy a more personal celebration.

Wedding Day Attire

You're going to remember your wedding for the rest of your life. On your wedding day, you'll want to look your best. You'll need to plan ahead for the cost of your dress, hair and makeup for the big day. Consider designating around 10% of your budget for attire and beauty. You can find wedding dresses and suits at a variety of different price points. You can scour local stores or, if you prefer not to do all that running around, you can shop online for your wedding attire. Many couples opt to hire professionals to handle hair and makeup for the big day. If you believe you can handle your own hair and makeup, this could free up budget for other areas of wedding plan.

In Conclusion

Planning a wedding can often be stressful, but financial worries shouldn't get in the way of having a beautiful ceremony. If you start planning early and can reach compromises along the way, you can afford a beautiful ceremony and reception on just about any budget.