We’ve talked before about how important your wedding budget is. Everything starts with your budget because you only have so much to spend. But you might be wondering how exactly you break down that big number you’ve decided to spend into an actual budget. So, we’re going to go over what a typical one looks like and therefore, how you can create a wedding budget.
It’s worth noting first that your budget might look drastically different depending on your priorities and how you imagine your big day. For example, your entertainment budget might be larger, so you go smaller on the centerpieces. It’s all about what matters to you as a couple.
Typical Wedding Budget
Attire – 7%
This can include a lot of things beyond wedding dresses and suits. You’ll also want to factor in things like alterations and accessories. This section of your budget might also include outfits for different wedding events like bridal showers, engagement parties, and post-wedding brunches.
Beauty – 2%
Beauty can mean a lot of different things. This section of your budget might include haircuts, manicures/pedicures, or spray tans. Whatever you need to feel beautiful and special on your big day goes in this section.
Cake – 2%
Obviously, this section includes your cake, but you don’t have to have a cake. If you decide to have pies, ice cream, or various desserts, it comes out of this section of the budget.
Ceremony – 2%
You’ll need an officiant to marry you, and you might want ceremony music. Both things would come out of this section.
Favors/Gifts – 2%
If you want to get favors for your wedding, we recommend budgeting 2% for that. If you’re looking for something to cut, this is a section that could easily be done away with. Many people don’t even take their favors home, so it’s not crucial.
Flowers and Decor – 8%
This is a decent-sized section of your budget because you might be surprised at how much flowers and decor can cost. Flowers and decor set the aesthetic of your wedding, and they can help to create a certain feeling. If the look of your wedding is super important to you, then this section might be bigger. If you’re more inclined to spend elsewhere, this is another section that can be smaller.
Venue, Catering, and Rentals – 48%
When it’s time to create a wedding budget, you’ll find out that this takes up the biggest chunk. That’s because these items are the most expensive and the most important. You need a place to get married, and you need to feed your guests. Especially if you’re providing alcohol, this can get pricey. This is where we also say that this is not the section to take from if you’re looking for areas to cut. The biggest part of providing a good experience for your guests is providing them with a comfortable place to be and providing them with a great meal. Don’t skimp on this!
Stationery – 2%
Wedding stationery is the first glimpse your guests have of your wedding. It tells your wedding guests the aesthetic and vibe of your wedding. You want wedding stationery that matches what you’re going for. A stationery designer is great for this, but you can also use services like Minted.
Reception Music – 7%
Typically, you’ll hire either a DJ or a band for your wedding. Some couples even hire both! This provides entertainment for your guests and music for your evening. Music really adds to the atmosphere at your wedding. We don’t recommend a music player and a speaker because technical issues can happen and leave you without music, and you’ll need someone to babysit it anyway.
Photography/Videography – 10%
Wedding photography and videography are really important, and you want someone who’s going to properly capture your big day. These are the best souvenirs you’ll have from your wedding, so it’s important to invest in them. You’ll want a photographer and videographer who you trust and whose work you love. If you’re unsure how to find the perfect photographer, we’ve got you covered.
Transportation – 2%
Depending on your venue, this section might be smaller. If there are getting ready suites or your ceremony and reception are in the same place, you won’t need as much transportation. This section might also include shuttles for guests or classic cars for photos.
Wedding Planner – 3%
We highly recommend a wedding planner. They can save you a lot of time and effort, and they can help manage your day and timeline. It’s worth noting that this is a low estimate for a wedding planner. Some wedding planners are more expensive and might take up more of your budget. It might also depend on what type of package you get.
Wedding Rings – 2%
Your wedding rings are the symbols of your marriage. Since you’ll be wearing them all the time, you want rings you love and enjoy wearing. So, dedicate 2% of your budget to these important rings.
Emergency Fund – 5%
This section is important because things always pop up. Sometimes, we forget to put things in our budget. So, it’s important to have an emergency fund, so you can afford these unexpected costs when they do happen.
How to create your wedding budget
Use these estimates as a general guideline and start breaking down the big number you’ve decided to spend. Keep in mind what kind of wedding you want and what’s important to you as you create your own. Some sections might get cut as you go through because they’re not important to you or you’ve decided not to use them at all. Just keep in mind your guests’ comfort as you do so.
What are your priorities as you plan your wedding?
Erin Lafond is a blogger with ample experience writing about weddings. She planned her own wedding and got married in October 2019. She lives in New Hampshire and loves a casual wedding with luxury details.