How to Develop a Sensible Wedding Budget And Stick To It

Last Updated on March 9, 2023

An effective budget is an essential tool in the wedding planning process. While budgeting is not hard, it begins by knowing your numbers. Here's the formula to follow.

sensible wedding budget

Developing a Sensible Wedding Budget Is Easy: Sticking To It Is Hard

Are you about to plan your dream wedding? Congratulations! Before you sink all your hard-earned money into your ideal wedding, let’s be completely honest: weddings can quickly get expensive.

The average costs for a wedding today are between $20,000 and $30,000 in many areas of the country. 

And if you want to avoid overspending for your wedding day, stick to your budget. That’s good advice, but how do you create a sensible budget in the first place?

This article will provide helpful insight on developing a sensible wedding budget and ultimately help you stick within it.

After reading this article, you won’t have to break the bank to have the perfect wedding!

Here’s Where To Start

Developing a sensible wedding budget for any size wedding is not rocket science, but you need to start by knowing your numbers.

The guest list size is among the most critical numbers because the reception venue and catering costs are your most significant wedding expenses. These two items are roughly 50% of your total budget. 

Add Up All The Money You Have

Start by calculating how much money you must start with from all sources. Never base your decisions on how much you think you’ll have, only what you know you have.

The most common sources are your savings and your parents. Let’s say you come up with $20,000 between all your sources for your wedding day.

Figure The Allowable Cost Per Guest

The next step is to figure out an allowable cost per guest. To start, use $132 per guest. That’s a reasonable number if you’re getting married in this area.

Plan to spend about half ($66) of your allowable cost per guest on the reception and catering and the other half ($66) toward everything else, like wedding dresses, flowers, wedding rings, a wedding photographer, and other wedding items.

Multiply that by the number of guests you plan to invite, and you’ll have a rough idea of the money you’ll need. Using the figures above, you should be planning for 150 people.

If your guest list total is 200, the formula would indicate you’ve got a $6400 hole to fill. You may or may not – but at least you’ll know before signing contracts.

Conversely, if you’re planning an intimate wedding with not more than ten guests, you may be hard-pressed to stay within that small a budget.

But the basic formula is an excellent place to start for the average wedding guest count, which in this area is 150. 

As you see, costs can add up quickly and have a direct correlation to your guest count.

Wedding Budgets Are Not Set In Stone

Creating a sensible wedding budget starts by knowing and understanding your numbers. If you have only so much money, you must adjust how you spend it accordingly.

If you want to know what other couples spend for a wedding in your area, use our Wedding Cost Estimator to compare costs.

Once you have decided on the size of your wedding that comfortably falls within your budget, the fun part is seeing how much you can save on all your wedding expenses.

Here Are Some Easy Ways To Save

Get advice from the vendors you choose to work with. Tapping into their expertise and contacts will save you money.

Do some online research. You’ll find many great money-saving tips and do-it-yourself wedding options that will help. Pick and choose DIY projects that fit your time and talents.

An excellent way to keep track of everything is by using a wedding planning app on your tablet or phone. We recommend the Wedding Planner by The Knot app, but many good wedding planning apps are available.

By applying and sticking to a sensible wedding budget based on your actual numbers, you might be surprised by the money you save and still have the beautiful wedding of your dreams.

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Til next time,

Greg Johnson
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