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A Wedding Budget Guide: How to Plan

One of the most important aspects of your day, how much money you're going to drop on this giant party for your friends and family. Considering that your new here, and have never planned a wedding before, lets break down how to create a budget. An effective, ever changing budget.

Keep in mind, creating a budget with your partner should be the first step in your planning process. Before you book anything - including your venue.

To Start, let's Review all your Vendors:

  • Venue

  • Caterer

  • Decorations/Rentals

  • Planner or Day of Coordinator

  • Music/Sound Equipment

  • Officiant

  • Photographer

  • Videographer

  • Bar

  • Dessert

  • Florist

  • Hair & Makeup

  • Misc. (i.e bridal party gifts, photo booth, etc.)

When you look at them all in a list like that it feels a little overwhelming, but let's break it down together.


Venue: 18%

This is by far going to be the most expensive part of your whole day, but venues come in all shapes and sizes, which provides a wonderful amount of wiggle room. If you sway toward the untraditional side you can find a unique space that won't charge you an arm and a leg.

So while being scared that you have to spend more than three grand on a single thing, remember this: if you are budgeting $20,000 for your wedding, your venue should cost $3,000 as a low point and $3,600 at the most.

Catering: 14%

Don't let the fact that this percentage is close to the same as your venue freak you out. There are plenty of ways to make sure that isn't the case. Try a buffet rather than a plated meal, use a restaurant rather than catering company.

Let's take a look: with our $20,000 budget, catering would cost $2,800

Decorations or Rentals: 5%

Whether your planning on purchasing them yourself or deciding to contract a rental company, decor is a huge part of your day. You can save here buy completing some DIY designs or relying on the beauty of your venue.

With our $20,000 budget, decor would cost $1,000

Day of Coordinator: 8%

This may be surprising but, hiring a wedding planner could actually save you money in the long run. They know the best ways to budget, they have the inside scoop on the best vendors, and could even get you discounts in some cases. But in this pretend wedding day breakdown, we are budgeting for a month of coordinator.

A month of or day of coordinator can help create all of those tedious timelines leading up to the big day, and will ask all the final questions that you may not know to ask.

With our $20,000 budget, a planner would cost $1,600

Music or Sound Equipment: 7%

An amazing DJ can really make or break your day, they don't just play music, but they MC every important moment and create a flow for the whole evening.

With our $20,000 budget, a DJ would cost $1,400

Officiant: 3%

Whether you are asking your church pastor, hiring someone, or simply asking a family member or friend to step in, ensure that they know what they're doing.

Also, double check, some states have laws that make it so anyone ordained online cannot legally conduct ceremonies.

With our $20,000 budget, an Officiant would cost $600

Photographer and Videographer: 15%

More often than not if you book both of these vendors through the same company you can receive a substantial discount. If you are not wanting a videographer than this gives you extensive wiggle room to choose the perfect photographer.

With our $20,000 budget, a Photographer and Videographer would cost $3,000

Bar and Drinks: 7%

This can heavily very, and there are so many different combinations that can cost you a lot or help you save money. There is a huge difference between an open bar and a cash bar, and serving liquor is not going to be cheap. The easiest way to save a little is by offering beer and wine only.

With our $20,000 budget, your bar would cost $1,400

Dessert: 5%

Most people today are opting out of the traditional giant wedding cake for a dessert table and a small cutting cake for the couple. It gives the guests a lot of options to choose from, while still letting the both of you have your beautiful cake cutting moment.

With our $20,000 budget, your dessert would cost $1,000

Florist: 9%

These are truly an integral part of your day, and make everything exactly what you dreamed of. Most people try their best to DIY all there florals, but I can guarantee you that it is worth it to pay a professional to make your day beautiful.

With our $20,000 budget, a Florist would cost $1,800

Hair and Makeup: 4%

The only important thing I have to say about this, get a trial done! Just because you saw something online that you thought was pretty does not mean that is your vendors specialty - or that you will even like how it looks on you. Always prepare ahead of time.

With our $20,000 budget, your hair and makeup would cost $600

Miscellaneous: 5%

Save this money in your budget! There will be slip ups, unanticipated expenses, and things you didn't realize you would want. Having money set aside is going to take so much stress off when these things arise throughout the planning process.

With our $20,000 budget, your budget for extras will be $1,000


Every wedding is drastically different, and what we have created here may not be exactly what your planning on doing. Luckily there is percentages, which still stand no matter the final dollar sign amount you have to spend. Trust your gut, and prioritize the parts of your day that are important to you and your partner.

If you're ready to start planning, so are we. Reach out, a little expertise never hurt.

I promise.

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