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Wedding Costs Breakdown to Help You Budget for the Big Day

written by: Elizabeth Wistrom•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 9/12/2011

The biggest mistake couples make when budgeting a wedding is not accounting for all of the details. This wedding planner can help! Use this list to create the wedding of your dreams - without overspending!

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    wedding bells 1 If you are hearing wedding bells, you are most likely also hearing a little voice in the back of your head saying, "But how much is this going to cost?" Budgeting a wedding can be a daunting task, especially when you have no idea where or how to begin. Having worked as a Wedding Coordinator, I know from firsthand experience that a wedding can begin to take on a life of its own if costs spiral out of control. The best way to avoid that from occurring, and ruining your big day, is by understanding a typical wedding costs breakdown and then using this personalized wedding budget planner - so that you understand exactly where your money is being spent.

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    Breaking it Down

    To get started, it is best to have a general idea of the total amount of money you have available to dedicate to the wedding. Even if you do not have an exact figure, a rough estimate will do. From there, you can begin to look at the breakdown of costs for the different categories of expenses. The figures shown here are percentages based on typical expenditures from my experience:

    Wedding Budget

    Invitations, Place Cards, Thank You Notes, Stamps ~ 4%

    Attire, Alterations ~ 12%

    Ceremony (Fees, Candles, Runner, Flowers, Music) ~ 9.3%

    Photographer ~ 8%

    Video Services ~ 5%

    Transportation ~ 1.7%

    Reception Flowers ~ 7%

    Reception Music ~ 8%

    Reception (Food, Beverages, Cake, Sweets Table, Favors) ~ 44%

    Unexpected ~ 1%

    Not Included

    What this budget does not include are the following potential expenses: Consultant's fee, attendants' attire, attendants' gifts, rings, bridal luncheon, rehearsal dinner, gift opening, honeymoon expenses, parents' attire, marriage license fee, or beauty appointments.

    If those are to be accounted for in the budgeting listed above, concessions would have to be made in the other categories.

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    Practical Application

    Let's take a look at how the above percentages would translate into an actual budget. For this example, we will assume that the total money our fictional couple has to dedicate to their wedding budget is $20,000. Here is the breakdown for each category based on that budgeted sum:

    Wedding Budget - $20,000

    Invitations, Place Cards, Thank You Notes, Stamps ~ $800.00

    Wedding Couple Attire, Alterations ~ $2,400.00

    Ceremony (Fees, Candles, Runner, Flowers, Music) ~ $1,860.00

    Photographer ~ $1,600.00

    Video Services ~ $1,000

    Transportation ~ $340.00

    Reception Flowers ~ $1,400.00

    Reception Music ~ $1,600.00

    Reception (Food, Beverages, Cake, Sweets Table, Favors) ~ $8,800.00

    Unexpected ~ $200.00

    Again, this budget does not include certain potential expenses such as: Consultant's fee, attendants' attire, attendants' gifts, rings, bridal luncheon, rehearsal dinner, gift opening, honeymoon expenses, parents' attire, marriage license fee, or beauty appointments.

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    Flexibility

    Keep in mind; these percentages are not set in stone. Flexibility is the key to budgeting a wedding! If you have your heart set on a band whose fee is going to be closer to 10% of your budget, you will need to either take money away from another category - or find a different band.

    If you find that you can hire a friend to videotape the wedding and reception for you (instead of paying a professional), then you have an additional 5% of your budget to spend in some other manner. This is why the "Unexpected" allowance is so low (only 1%), There really should be no additional "unexpected" expenses in your wedding budget planner - all of the categories have been laid out for you. You and your fiancé (e) will simply need to make responsible choices about how the money is to be spent.

    Understanding a breakdown of wedding costs, and then using a planner like the one described above will help to ensure that you have the wedding you have always dreamed of - without overspending in the process!

References

  • The information in this article is based on the author's extensive experience as a Personal Wedding Planner