(Closed) How do you make a wedding budget?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 5
632 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I also used The Knot’s budgeting tool. I found it to be extrememly helpful!!

Post # 6
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We (my finance) and I decided on what we had on hand, it was what we could afford no matter what. We did not look at prices of anything, it was based on what money was available.

It has not been easy to stick to it, but we are both determined to not go into debt for a wedding. For us it has kept me on track. I would love to spend $10,000 celebrating our love, but $1,000 is what I have including the rings.

Since my finance’s cooworker are going deep into debt for a daughter’s wedding, he is thrilled with me at this moment.

Once we pay off our other debt, there will money to buy and celebrate as a couple, it is worth the peace that comes being debt free.


We also downloaded a wedding budget spreadsheet on excel, I update it everyday. It has suggested amounts, but you can edit those amounts. It has an actual and budget amount. So far I am under budget!



Post # 7
11273 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@CastelloN:  i used this planner because it was user friendly and in an excel format.  i could change and alter the numbers according to my needs.


they also have wedding checklists for the complete planning, monthly, weekly, daily, etc.  i loved it.  it kept me very organized.

Post # 8
171 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I used the Knot as well. There were areas that I tweaked a little, like flowers and photography, because those were the most important. You should definitely decide which areas are most important to you, so that you can add and subtract from certain areas of the budget. 

Post # 9
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I think budgeting for a small wedding is much different than budgeting for a big one.


Our budget is no more than $6000.  We are both older and this is an encore wedding for both of us.  That changed our priorities and, therefore, our budget.  That made it easier.  Simple things…. like I’ve learned no one REALLY needs an engraved crystal cake cutting/serving set.  You don’t necessarily know that for your first wedding, but it’s easily a place to cut several hundred dollars, you know?

Instead of doing a budget for everything – we looked at priorities to determine how much it would be for what we wanted… and then we kept going.

For example….

We looked at Venues first.  We narrowed it down and the venue we selected was $1200.  Simple math….. now we have 6000-1200=4800 left.

Then I looked for a dress.  Because our venue cost 1200 and that didn’t include food, liquor or cake I knew that my dress had to be around $500.  I got this # because I looked at the food packages and had a rough idea – although I hadn’t made any final decisions.

I found a dress at David’s bridal for $300 and am having some alterations done (length and color tulle under the skirt) which will be an additional $75.  I found shoes on sale for $25.  So my dress is 4800-400=4400 left.

At this point I started to look at what all was out there that I could afford.  Photobooth?  Not a professional one for $1200.  So we stuck the DIY option (for around $300 we think) on a stickie not on my corkboard for later.
Out of Town guest bags?  Not likely.  Bottles of wine and engraved glasses as favors?  Nope.

Ok – move on.

Cake – decided on petits fours.  Estimate that 250 petits fours would be $2 each, so  $500 for “cake”.  4400-500=3900 left

Photographer.  We looked at tons of really nice photographers.  We lacked the $2400 πŸ™    We found a “newbie” to the wedding scene who fit our “style” – her background was candid family shots.  Since she didn’t have much wedding experience, she couldnt’ charge “wedding” prices.  In exchange for her to use us in her marketing she is doing a 1/2 day package plus CD (with rights), and no album for $400.  $3900-400=3500 left.

Flowers – found some FANTASTIC wooden flowers that are very artsy.  Bouquets for myself, my daughter (MOH) and boutineer for Groom $170.  During discussion with artist…. she can make mini bouquets that we can group together in end of pew hangers that can be transferred to reception as table centerpieces that can be broken down to individual 3 flower mini-bouquets.  I will attach a silver tag that says “thank you for coming with our name / date / location” and that will be our favor!  Bouquets / pew flowers / table centerpieces/ $300.  So, 3500-300=3200 left.

I meet with the venue next week to finalize food.  That will probably take most of the rest of my “budget” – but we may end up going with the heavy appetizer option, which would give us a little bit left over to maybe get our hair done. 


See where I’m going with this?  I just moved from priorty to priority and then knocked out stuff that wasn’t going to happen along the way.

Good Luck

Post # 11
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@hisgirl:  that’s the one I’ve got! so helpful πŸ™‚

Post # 12
12893 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I used The Knot’s tool, too.  I found it fairly accurate and really helpful!

Post # 13
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Once you know what your maximum is for the total event, I’d talk to some vendors simply to get an idea how much, for example, food will cost per person. When I planned my wedding, I prioritized- was it more important to have every single relative invited, or should I spend that money on my dress? Stick to whatever you’ve decided as the absolute must-haves, and look for ways to save money on everything else. I don’t drink, and neither did most of our guests, so I just cut alcohol out of the budget. I wanted a full lace dress with sleeves (very important!), but designer didn’t matter, so I bought a replica.

Having some sort of idea on what type of wedding you want to have can influence your choices- maybe you’re absolutely set on having a rustic/vintage affair. That means you might be able to save on venue and decor. If, however, you’re looking more for a black-tie formal event in a ballroom, it’s a completely different set of costs. Maybe your budget will influence what kind of wedding you decide to have.

If you’re thinking of DIY, remember that there are costs involved with that as well- not just materials, but time, stress, and maybe even ending up with having it professionally done if you mess up.

Basically, do a lot of research! What’s important to you, what are costs in your area, etc. There are plenty of formulas out there about which percentage of your budget you should spend on what, but if it doesn’t fit your ideas, needs, and overall vision they aren’t worth using.

After the research, there are a ton of tools for keeping everything organized. I like Excel (or OpenOffice) spreadsheets for tracking costs.

Once you have an idea of what you can spend, what your priorities are, what can be changed out for less expensive options, and a ballpark of those costs, start booking, buying, and spending! Just remember- there are ALWAYS unexpected expenses. Leave a little lee-way for that purpose:)

Wow. I didn’t mean to be so long! This is how I planned my wedding, and I hope it helps you. Best of luck, and congratulations!

Post # 14
4352 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I like weddingwire’s budget easier to use and adjust than the one on theknot.

Post # 15
1576 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I used the one on Wedding Wire. It is so much better than the one on the Knot. Also, I kept reading posts on the Knot that said things like “Help! What happened to my favorites” or “Oh no – my seating chart won’t load”

I didn’t like the sound of their services going down from time to time.

All my stuff is on wedding wire and so far so good. πŸ™‚

Their guest list app is a little funny, but it works.


ETA: @asscherlover:  You beat me! πŸ™‚

Post # 16
4352 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@koi424:  My big issue with theknot was when I knew how much my venue was I had to figure out how much it cost per person instead of just entering a total. And it was tricky to combine the amount budgeted for venue, food, cake ect. (my venue includes a lot) to figure out whether or not I was spending too much of my budget. On weddingwire I could delete categories and move the money around really easily. And if I saved money I could shave it off of my total budget or increase one of the areas I wanted to have more wiggle-room with.

ETA: @koi424: πŸ˜‰ I’m super fast

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