How to Create and Stick to a Wedding Budget

A wedding is the happiest event in a couple’s life – but also one of the most costly! From venue selection to catering, the goods and services can really start adding up. With the average wedding cost in the U.S. coming in at $35,329 I thought it would be a good idea to share some ideas on how to create a wedding budget and then actually stick to it. The $50 billion wedding industry has made it very easy to overspend in order to achieve your version of a fairytale. When planning your wedding keep in mind that your partner will still love you with or without that horse-drawn carriage.

My husband and I got married in 2015 with 100 of our family and friends in attendance for about $12,000, which, being the frugal person that I am, felt like an enormous amount of money.


I love my spreadsheets and had a very detailed one for our wedding outlining each expense including: save the date cards, invitations, wedding rings, food, alcohol, a DJ, a photographer and even a photo booth. Venue, food and beverage are the most costly aspects – those three items should amount to about half your budget.

When planning your wedding also keep the following in mind:

  • Discuss the wedding budget with your partner and any other family members that may be contributing financially. This should be one of the first things you do in the planning stage, but unfortunately, many couples skip this step and then get sticker shock when final bills start rolling in. Determine the total amount you have to spend and commit to stay under this number by working with your partner and family to be held accountable while still getting the wedding of your dreams.
  • The guest list will be one of the biggest drivers of cost. If you want to stick to a budget, start with keeping the guest list manageable and removing names that you haven’t spoken to or seen in the last few years and keep the ceremony as small or intimate as you like. Commit to a number and don’t succumb to last minute guilt trips or family pressure.
  • Remember that you don’t need everything you see in the wedding magazines. It can be easy to believe that more is always better and that extravagance will lead to happiness, but the most important memories you create should also involve a happy bank account. Get creative in your planning and think outside the box. A lot of couples are skipping the printing costs of ceremony programs or opting for electronic save the date cards to save money.

A wedding is the start to something wonderful – make it a strong one by starting on the right financial foot as well!

Did you stick to your wedding budget? Let me know in the comments below.


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