March 18, 2020

How to (Actually) Set a Wedding Budget

For a lot of couples, one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning is setting a realistic budget. It’s fun to create dream boards and window shop for your dream dress. But at some point, reality will hit and you’ll be forced to determine what you can (and should) spend on your wedding. According to The Knot, couples in the United States spend, on average, just under $30,000 on a wedding. This number, of course, correlates to how many guests attend, which, on average, is 126 in the US. (That’s about $232 per person.)

Depending on their budget, a lot of couples getting married choose to invite fewer guests – or elope altogether.  This saves money without having to cut corners. In fact, a lot of couples elect to have a destination wedding because, even when they go all out with ten guests (let’s say, paying $2,000 per person), the total cost is still well under the amount spent on a more traditional, larger wedding.

The most important part of setting a wedding budget is doing it early on in your planning. Not only will this help you and your partner set realistic expectations, but it will make sure that you don’t spend too much in one place – like a venue or dress, for example.

So, rather than putting off talking about your wedding budget, sit down as soon as possible, and start planning.

Here are a few things to consider when you set a budget

  1. Know Who’s Going to Help Pay. Be realistic about who’s contributing to your wedding and who isn’t. Rather than guessing, be upfront with your family about what they’re wanting to pay for – and what you and your partner will be taking care of. Knowing who is going to take care of what is the only way to get an accurate idea about what your wedding budget really is.

  2. Be Realistic and Think Long-Term. Once you know how much others are going to pitch in (if any), you and your partner can look at what you can personally spend. It can be tempting to want to spend all of your savings. Instead, consider your long-term goals before digging into that bank account. Things like an amazing honeymoon or a down payment on a home might actually be more important. Spending everything on your wedding day might be a mistake.

  3. Create a Preliminary Guest List. While you work on your budget, it’s a good idea to come up with a guest list, even if it’s not “official”. This will help you decide how big (or small) your wedding should be. Then you will better understand how to work with the budget you create.

  4. Be Clear About Your Priorities. You and your partner should know what is non-negotiable about your wedding. Is there zero wiggle room in your guest list? Have you already picked out a wedding dress that your heart is set on? Is there only one venue that will work or a band you just have to have?

Saving on a wedding budget

Remember, there are a lot of ways you can save on your wedding without feeling like you’re “cutting corners” or having anything but your perfect wedding. Once your budget is set, look at the parts of your wedding that you can DIY. Maybe play with the idea of having an off-season wedding in order to enjoy lower rates. Sometimes it turns out that the less you spend on certain parts of your wedding, the more your creativity and personality come through!