Four Steps to Creating a Wedding Budget Even if You Hate Budgeting

It’s a new year, which brings a feeling of hope. It’s a time when many set goals and resolutions. One of the top items on the list of popular resolutions is to Save Money/Spend Less and that’s a great goal that I can certainly get behind. We all know last year was nothing like we had planned. For many it brought on major upheavals and life changes such as job loss or reductions in pay.

If you’re planning a wedding, these challenges along with the uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic can most definitely add a heap of extra stress onto what should be a beautiful and memorable experience. Don’t worry! There’s one big thing that you can begin today that will help alleviate some of that stress. Make a wedding budget.

According to WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report, couples are spending around $30,000 for a wedding ceremony and reception. While some couples have a budget of $100,000 others may be $10,000 or less. Whatever your budget, it’s totally possible to have the wedding of your dreams without starting your married life in debt. Here are a few practical tips to help get that wedding budget on track.

  • Determine the kind of wedding you want. Do you prefer outdoor or indoor? Hotel ballroom or barn? Church or beach? At this point don’t get hung up on details, just think about the overall feel of your day.

  • Wedding budget talk. This can make for an awkward conversation, but everyone involved in paying for the wedding should sit down together and discuss the overall budget. Identify who’s paying for what. This may be the first time that you and your future spouse experience planning a budget as a team. If you’re anything like my wife and I budgeting was a four letter word at our house. We had no clue where our money was going, but we didn’t want to be constrained by line items. What we actually found was that a budget gives us the freedom to spend. Today budgeting is a regular part of our family routine and helps us cash flow fun things like Disney vacations.

  • Once you have an overall budget start prioritizing where the money will go. Agree on your top three or four non negotiable items. If they are food, venue, guests, and photography, set those in stone and work from there. It may help to break down your overall budget by percentage such as budgeting guru Rachel Cruze did for her wedding. Remember to focus on what’s important to you and adjust it.

  • Reception 55%
  • Ceremony 12%
  • Photography 10%
  • Wedding Planner 10%
  • Dress and Tux 8%
  • Miscellaneous/Emergency 5%
  • Prepare for a mini crisis. Once you agree on an amount go ahead and set aside a small portion for last minute emergencies. This cushion will help you avoid guilt and credit card debt. Plus if you have a little leftover you can always spend it on your honeymoon.

Budgeting is a challenge that must be met with patience and perseverance. Budgeting may seem constraining, but trust me it will actually give you the freedom to spend the money for the things you’ve designated it for.