How to Budget for your Wedding Day: A Simple Breakdown

Many couples assume that planning a wedding is expensive, but a well-organised and comprehensive budget can really help to keep the costs down. What’s more, having your finances organised from the get-go can take a lot of the stress out of managing your wedding expenses. In this guide, we will share some top tips on how to create a wedding budget and how to keep the costs of your big day from spiralling out of control.


Man and a woman saving money in a piggy bank

How to Create a Wedding Budget

SET YOUR BUDGET

Did you know that one in three couples go over budget? To avoid overspending, you will need to first work out how much money you realistically have to spend. Start off your wedding budgeting by evaluating your different sources of money. Some examples of income sources may include:


a) The savings that you and your partner have individually built-up
b) The amount you can save from your current income
c) Family contributions (but don’t make any assumptions – more on this below)


Just remember, it’s your special day so don’t allow others to pressure you into spending more than you are comfortable with.


SET YOUR PRIORITIES

Once you have settled on your budget, you will then need to set your priorities. Create a list of all the major financial aspects of a wedding and work with your partner to assign each item a value from 0 – 3, with 0 meaning unnecessary and 3 being top priority. Then, gather up all the high-priority items and arrange them from most to least important. Be sure to get comfy because getting a consensus on this may involve a fair bit of negotiation! Having decided on your priorities you can create your first draft of the wedding budget breakdown (see more on this below) and allocate funds accordingly.


MAKE A SPREADSHEET

Keeping track of your expenses in a spreadsheet is one of the most effective ways of preventing costs from spiralling out of control. Spreadsheets are an essential budgeting tool because you can easily see all your incomings and outgoings in one centralised location and can perform complex calculations with just a click of a button. To create a simple wedding day budget spreadsheet, you will need three expense columns:


• Estimated: The amount you expect to pay based on research
• Modified: Adjusted estimates after factoring vendor quotes
• Actual: The amount you actually spent


If you are more technologically-minded, you may want to try out a budget tracking app such as Mint instead of the traditional spreadsheet.


A Typical Wedding Budget Breakdown

In Canada, the typical wedding costs about $31,000. However, whether you have $100,000 or $1,000 to spend, chances are you will have to consider the same expenses in your budget. Figuring out your wedding budget breakdown can be one of the trickiest parts of wedding planning and sticking to it can be even harder, but it’s a worthwhile task as it’ll give you a good guide going forward.



To get you started with some ballpark figures, check out the table below for a sample wedding budget breakdown. No matter how much or little you intend to spend, it can be helpful to have some general guidelines for reference.


Item Percentage of Overall Budget
Reception
48%–50%
Ceremony
2%–3%
Attire
8%–10%
Flowers
8%–10%
Entertainment/Music
8%–10%
Photography/Videography
10%–12%
Stationery
2%–3%
Wedding Rings
2%–3%
Transportation
2%–3%
Gifts
2%–3%
Just-in-Case Fund
5%

The Importance of A Just-in-Case Fund

It’s also a good idea to set aside about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund to cover any unexpected expenses that arise. While these miscellaneous items might cost an extra few dollars here and there, these numbers can add up and take a chunk out of your budget if you’re not prepared for them. What’s more, you will be immensely thankful to have that back-up should you be faced with any costly surprises.



Bride and groom walking arm-in-arm

Family Contributions

A 2016 survey from Brides Magazine found that, on average, the bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contribute 42%, and the groom’s parents contribute 13%.


When setting your budget, it’s not fair to make any assumptions about parental contributions. If your families do wish to contribute, there are typically three options to choose from:


1. Parents contribute a specific amount, leaving the couple free to decide on a wedding budget and make up any difference themselves.
2. Parents pay for specific items (e.g. the wedding dress, catering or the entertainment) leaving the couple to cover everything else.
3. The wedding budget is split evenly between all the involved parties.


Bear in mind that parental contributions can sometimes come with a lot of strings attached, so it’s important to be very clear from the beginning about everyone’s expectations to avoid conflict.


The 5 Biggest Wedding Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not doing your research.
2. Forgetting to keep track of how much you’ve spent.
3. Overspending on one item and not saving on another.
4. Rushing into decisions.
5. Booking multiple suppliers where one would do.


via GIPHY

15 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Costs

1. Prolong your engagement to give yourselves a plenty of time to save up for the big day.

2. Have a joint bachelor and bachelorette party.

3. Schedule smartly – plan your wedding for an off-peak time such as winter or midweek.

4. If you are planning on a church wedding, schedule your big day near a holiday as the church will already be decorated.

5. As the venue eats up most of the budget, consider using a cheaper, non-traditional alternative.

6. Save on transport and venue costs by hosting the ceremony and reception in the same place.

7. Edit down the guest list.

8. Replace paper save-the-dates and invites with electronic alternatives, such as email or social media.

9. Save printing costs on reply cards by asking guests to RSVP online.

10. By using fewer vendors, you may be able to negotiate discounts.

11. Instead of hiring a DJ, simply use a wedding playlist instead.

12. Consider renting your wedding dress and bridal attire.

13. Rather than hiring a makeup artist, get your hair and makeup done at your local salon.

14. DIY parts of your wedding such as favours, invitations, and centre-pieces.

15. Cut down on the cost of a destination wedding by combining the honeymoon with the wedding.


Liked this? Read our tips on how to find the perfect venue here!

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