If you’re wondering, how much should I budget for my wedding, you’ve come to the right place. The first thing you want to do when planning your wedding is to calculate a budget.
Your wedding budget breakdown is the most important part of wedding planning. The best time to do it? Right away.
This is because your budget will determine many of the big decisions you will make, including which venue you can realistically afford, where to get married, how many guests to invite, what kind of food to serve, how many bridesmaids and groomsmen to have, which favors you select, when you get married, and more.
You cannot plan your wedding WITHOUT a wedding budget template, and that’s where I come in!
Wedding Budget Planner
If you’re unsure how to get started, this budget checklist is for you. In it, you’ll figure out how much to spend for every wedding expense from reception to catering, DJ to photography, favors to attire, and everything in between.
This wedding budget template will give you knowledge of the kind of wedding you can realistically afford with percentages, based on statistics from real couples. At the bottom of this blog post, we’ll share a helpful link to a wedding budget spreadsheet you can use to track your spending.
Let’s get started!
Wedding Budget Checklist
Let’s start with a breakdown of your wedding budget, from start to finish. Here are the items you need to include in your wedding budget checklist.
|Planning Checklist||Wedding Budget Percentages|
|Ceremony + Reception Venue(s)||18%|
*This wedding budget breakdown includes a wedding planner at the full-service rate of 10%. However, you may spend less if you decide to do day-of coordination, plan for 3% instead.
Here is a visual guide to save on your Pinterest board or save for later.
Here is a video that covers these percentages:
Important Tips for Wedding Budget Planning
PRO TIP: this is just a guideline. Your costs may vary depending on your unique style, preferences, and how much you want to spend on certain items. You may find you don’t want to hire a videographer, or you’re happy making your own wedding flower arrangements. You may find you need more money for gifts, so you’ll use some of those “extra” fees to cover it. Or you might decide to skip favors altogether or not hire a wedding planner and do it yourself. That’s totally fine!
Your wedding should be completely YOURS! Use these budget estimates as a planning guide — not an ultimatum. You may find you’ll have money left over in your budget, and that’s great!
Wedding Budget Planning
Your venues are easily the biggest chunk of your wedding budget. It may include these items or you may need a few more, depending on your specific venue. The most basic venue requirements are as follows:
• Rental Fee
• Officiant Fee
• Coat Check
• Marriage License Fee
• Ceremony Accessories (flower girl basket, ring pillow, unity candle, vow books)
Food is an important part of your wedding budget. Here is what may be included in yours, but don’t forget to add in extras if you need them
• Cocktail Hour (appetizers)
• Reception Dinner
• Service Staff
• Tax and Gratuity
• Silverware, Plates, and Serving Ware
WEDDING PLANNER: 10%
The cost of a wedding planner is typically 10% of your budget for full-service
A wedding planner may assist in:
• creating and managing an effective timeline
• deciding on a theme and color palette
• finding vendors
• managing your budget
• saving you money
• setup and take down on the wedding day itself
• and more
A good wedding planner can be priceless!
If you prefer a day-of coordinator, estimate 3% of your budget instead.
And some couples skip it altogether and plan the wedding themselves. It is 100% up to you!
Your wedding photography costs may vary depending on the type of photographer you wish to hire. Typically, you can expect to spend around 7% of your wedding budget on the following items:
• Wedding Day Photos
• Engagement Photo Package
• Edited Photos
Albums and additional items will cost more.
Yep, alcohol is pretty expensive but it is highly-encouraged to offer an open bar, when your budget allows.
This portion of your budget typically includes the following:
• Cocktail Hour Beverages
• Open Bar with Beer, Wine, and Liquor
• Champagne Toast at the Reception
• Ice, Mixers, Glassware
• Soft Drinks, Coffee, and Water
Ah, flowers: whether you opt for fresh flowers, silk, or handmade blooms, you’ll spend around 6% of your budget on florals.
Don’t forget to include these essentials:
• Bouquets for the Bride and Bridesmaids
• Tossing Bouquet
• Corsage for Moms and Grandmas
• Boutonnieres for Groomsmen
• Boutonnieres for Dads and Grandpas
• Ceremony Floral Arrangements (aisle, entrance, and/or altar)
• Flower Girl Petals
• Floral Centerpieces
• Garland for Tables or Welcome Signage
• Delivery Charges
Wedding attire is one of the most exciting areas of your wedding budget because it includes your dress!
Wedding budget percentages may vary, but should include the following items:
• Bridal Gown and/or Suit or Tuxedo
• Shawl or Wrap (for Winter Weddings)
• Bridal Jewelry
• Bridal Accessories (Clutch Purse, Wedding Garter, Undergarments)
• Alterations (Read: How to Estimate Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations)
• Reception Dress (optional)
• Wedding Shoes (Read: 50 Most Comfortable Wedding Shoes Ever)
• Bridal Shower Outfit
A wedding DJ is a cost to not skimp: a good DJ is priceless because he or she is the emcee of the evening and will keep things properly flowing on schedule.
• Ceremony Music
• Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music
• Dancing Music
• Taxes and Gratuity
• Microphone for Ceremony and Reception Speeches
A wedding day videographer is a great thing to have! Most couples only need the videographer for the ceremony, which will take approximately 5% of your wedding day budget. If you wish for a more comprehensive video of the full day, expect to budget 7% or more based on coverage.
You will need to allow for these items as a part of your wedding stationery checklist:
• Save the Dates (Read: 9 Places to Buy Cheap Save the Dates)
• Invitations (Save money with cheap wedding invitations)
• Ceremony Programs
• Thank You Cards
• Place Cards
• Favor Tags and Labels
Note: The cost of wedding invitations is approximately 2-4% of your budget. Spend more on fancy printing techniques like letterpress, or save money with budget options.
Decoration needs vary depending on what you want and need for your ceremony and reception site. You may want to include the following items:
• Aisle Runner
• Reserved Signs
• Aisle Decorations
• Altar or Chuppah Decoration, Arch, or Backdrop
• In Loving Memory Decorations or Display
• Welcome Sign
• Place Settings
• Table Runners or Tablecloths
• Head Table/Sweetheart Table Decorations
• Candles and Candle Holders
• Seating Chart or Escort Cards
• Guest Book
• Card Box
Ah, hidden costs of weddings: the unknown! Don’t be scared of costs that may arise and leave an additional 3% of wiggle room to cover them as they happen. These typically include:
• Tips for Vendors
• Extra Rentals Required
• Rush or Express Fees for Ordered Items (i.e. Stationery)
• Reprinting of errors (it happens!)
• Additional dress alterations
• Re-ordering an item because you didn’t like the first one (that happens, too!)
Your cake budget may include these important must-haves:
• The Wedding Cake
• Optional: Desserts (in addition to or instead of a traditional cake)
• Wedding Cake Topper
• Cake Stand
• Cake Signage
• Wedding Cake Boxes
• Cake Cutting Feet at Your Venue
• Cake Knife and Server
• Delivery Charge
Many brides forget to budget in for hair and makeup on the wedding day. You’ll typically tip 15% to 20% for these services on the day of the wedding.
• Hair and Makeup Trial (plan to have one weeks ahead of the wedding)
• Wedding Makeup
• Wedding Hair
• Manicure and Pedicure
If you are taking a limousine or party bus and/or hiring a shuttle for wedding guests, plan for 2% of wedding budget expenses to go towards it.
WEDDING RINGS: 2%
Your wedding ring can cost more or less than this industry standard of 2%. Don’t forget these items in the budget:
• Wedding Bands
• Insurance (if getting ring insurance)
It is tradition to offer take-home favors to guests at your wedding. They can be very simple: don’t overthink this one! Your budget should include:
• Favors for Guests
Or you may want to make your own favors. Allow money for:
• Favor Bags or Boxes
• Favor Box Filler (Read: What to Put Inside Favor Boxes)
Wedding budget planning normally doesn’t include gifts, but they are so important! You need to buy groomsmen gifts and bridesmaid gifts. Plan to spend at least 1% of your budget on these wedding gifts.
Here are some gift suggestions (click on the links – they’ll open in new windows).
• Bridesmaid Gifts
• Groomsmen Gifts
• Bridesmaid Proposals
• Usher Gifts
• Officiant Gift
• Wedding Gifts for Your Parents
• Flower Girl Gift
• Ring Bearer Gift
• Welcome Bags for Out-Of-Town Guests or Destination Weddings
If you’re doing a wedding gift exchange with your partner, check out these options:
• Groom Gift to Bride
• Bride Gift to Groom
Now that you know an example wedding budget breakdown, you know the exact items you may or may not need, let’s get your specific budget underway.
I did the math: here’s EXACTLY what you should budget for $30,000 wedding, $20,000 wedding, $15,000 wedding, and $10,000 wedding, with all examples below for your convenience.
Wedding Calculator: $30,000 Wedding
|Wedding Budget Calculator||$30,000 Wedding|
|Ceremony + Reception Venue(s)||$5400|
Budget Calculator: $20,000 Wedding
|Wedding Budget Planner||$20,000 Wedding|
|Ceremony + Reception Venue(s)||$3600|
Budget Estimator: $15,000 Wedding
|Wedding Budget Checklist||$15,000 Wedding|
|Ceremony + Reception Venue(s)||$2700|
Budget Estimator: $10,000 Wedding
|Wedding Budget Estimator||$10,000 Wedding|
|Ceremony + Reception Venue(s)||$1800|
Wedding Budget Google Sheet Template
And last but not least, once you have your budget in place you can keep track of it with a spreadsheet. One of the best places to get a budget spreadsheet is CareerCreative, where they offer the most comprehensive budget trackers I’ve seen yet.
• Get a wedding budget breakdown spreadsheet here for an affordable price.
I hope this breakdown clarifies exactly how much to spend on your wedding! If you need more help, just ask in the comment box below and I’ll swoop in to assist.