I don't know what all I need to figure out a budget!?!

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1888 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@LeonardLady:  There are few resources that might help.  The first is an interactive budget creator, it isn’t that specific, but what it is useful for is helping to see how your costs might breakdown and how that compares with couples in your location with similar answers it can be found at: http://www.costofwedding.com/index.cfm/action/costest.index

Besides that the easiet way to make sure you have all the costs in mind is to download sample budgets.  I’m in love with a free excel one because it automatically totals and retotals as you change things.  It’s available at: http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/wedding-budget.html

Beyond that there are also free websites that will help you.  The main thing is to find one that you like.  My only caution is to not spend tons (or even any) money on one because there are so many free ones that will do the job.  It’s a good idea to do it that way because without a clear budget it’s easy to lose track and believe me the little things ($20 or $40 here or there) really adds up fast.

Post # 4
1103 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Yes, I would definitely tip anyone providing their time for free.  Also, how many invited (approx)?  It’s hard to tell what’s reasonable without that?

Post # 5
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@LeonardLady:  how many guests do you plan on inviting?  this will dictate the amount of food, cake, drinks, plates, cutlery, napkins, glasses, chairs, tables, table cloths, etc.  this is what increases the wedding budget the most.

the rest of your budget will not change regardless of guest count.  (dress, tux, flowers, dj, photographer, etc).

what about a tent incase it rains?  do you have a back up plan for the weather?

Post # 6
8847 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Weddingwire has a good budget spreadsheet. There are soooo many little things that add up. Tablecloths, silverware, plates, cups, napkins, drinks, marriage license, jewelry, dress alterations, favors (?), decorations for ceremony and reception, lighting, gifts for wedding party etc, cake topper, cake, ice, etc etc etc. 

Unless you have a really small guest list, that sure doesn’t seem like much for food. We spent close to that much just on the cocktail hour food (DIY, similar to what you described) for 160. 

I would say you should definitely tip those people gifting you services, or buy them a nice gift. Sure it’s not “free”, but a $50 gift is way better than paying 2 grand… And it’s nice / appropriate to thank them. 

Good luck! 

Post # 7
1888 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@LeonardLady:  Things like flowers will vary a huge amount depending on what you consider a bouquet.  And yes you do need to provide a tip, eventhough they’re your friends they’re donating their services, time, equipment, and talents.  The biggest thing is that it’s hard to develop a budget unless you have at least a rough idea of how many people will be there.  If you have a large number of people you’ll have to think about extra bathrooms, in addition you have a food budget but what about beverages and what are people going to eat off of?  How are you going to invite people?  You can do it via facebook and email if you want, but at least to me that seems a bit too laid back.  In addition don’t forget the fees you’ll have to pay for your marriage license!  Do you have enough chairs and tables for people, even at a laid back wedding people are going to want to sit and eat their food off of something.  

However:  This does not mean it has to be expensive!  Your in luck because by starting early you can keep your eye out for sales and bargains as well as shopping around for deals.

By the way: are you guys going to have wedding rings?

Post # 8
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@LeonardLady:  I don’t see any rentals (tables, chairs, plates, cups, etc) on your list.  Do you already have everything you need? I also don’t see any alterations (you’ll probably at least need a bustle) in your budget.  I assume you’re planning on doing your hair/makeup by yourself?

Post # 11
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’s the little stuff that gets you 🙂 I thought I had a comprehensive budget, but little things added up.  Let me go look…

K, here we go:




Coordinator (?)






Non-alcoholic beverages


Table linens


Chair/table rentals


Card box


Cake cutter

Cake topper

Escort cards

Escort card holders

Table numbers













Hair/makeup trial


groom’s tux

[bridesmaids dresses]

[groomsmens tuxes]



STD envelopes


Thank you’s


Custom M&Ms (favors)

M&M boxes

Toasting flutes

Extras for us to buy:

Hotel the night of the wedding


Marriage license

Shower/rehearsal dress

Bridesmaids gifts

Groomsmens gifts

Post # 12
2057 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

Budget for invitation cards because they can get really expensive if not planned properly. Wedding Chicks website has some free online templates for wedding invites and Save-The-Dates.

You could add a PhotoBooth if you’d like for less than $60. (Dollar store props and an iPhone or iTouch or iPad app)

You would need to budget for drinks — either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. You ought to research if you need a liquor licence for a private event, depending on city by-laws.

Agreed with PP that alterations should be included into the budget as well. I’m a short bride, so any intricate alterations would cost me $300 to $500 easily. I chose a tea-length dress and that cut my alterations down to $60+tax.

How about centre-pieces?

Flowers? Silk flowers can get quite expensive unless you ordered them directly from Thailand. There are many flower alternatives: candy bouquet, parasols, lanterns, fans, buttons.

Post # 16
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@LeonardLady:  Haha no problem, obviously there’s stuff on there that you can skip like cake cutter, favors, the things in brackets, limo/shuttles, most people don’t have a day-of coordinator, but thought I’d tell you everything I had after it all accumulated over 18 months 🙂

I initially thought we could do it for 5 grand, but it quickly added up to 15 grand.  Could have kept it to 10 grand if we had really tried, but just an FYI as my original budget did not fit the reality (had to pay pastor, ended up with DJ instead of iPod, had to rent tables/chairs/linens, catering was 3x what I expected even with a ‘cheap’ option, etc. etc.)  But it’ll all work out 🙂

Where are you located? I had my wedding in one of the top five most expensive areas in the US, so that didn’t help.  If you’re “in the middle of nowhere” (no offense!!) then that will definitely make things cheaper.

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