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May 22, 2024

How to budget for a wedding

By Team Stash
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Bride and groom holding hands with a calculator shown in front

Your wedding is arguably one of the most significant events in your life. It’s a day where dreams come to life, love fills the air, and more often than not, budgets silently take a backseat. But here’s the thing, your financial future is just as important as your matrimony.

Budgeting for your wedding is not just about keeping a tab on your expenses; it’s about aligning your dreams with your financial capabilities. Whether you’re planning a lavish affair or an intimate ceremony, understanding how to create and manage a wedding budget is your ticket to a less stressful, more fulfilling wedding planning experience.

The Importance of budgeting for your wedding

Before the sparkle of an engagement dims, it’s essential to get down to brass tacks and set a budget that’ll guide your wedding plans. A budget isn’t a buzzkill; it’s your best friend as you start this new chapter. It provides clarity, prevents financial strain, and even enhances your wedding creativity by challenging you to think resourcefully. We’re talking about laying the foundational stone for a financially healthy marriage from the very beginning on your big day.

How to budget for your big day

Step 1: Set your wedding budget

Your wedding budget should reflect your current financial position and future goals. Here’s how to get started.

Tips for determining a realistic budget:

  • Calculate your contributions: List down everyone who’s contributing financially and how much. This includes you, your partner, your parents, and any other generosity that’s coming your way.
  • Research real costs: Use online resources, talk to wedding vendors, and consider your location’s cost of living to gauge what weddings are actually costing these days.
  • Add contingency: Financial experts advise setting aside around 10%-20% of your total budget for unexpected expenses. In the realm of wedding planning, the unexpected is the only constant.

Step 2: Prioritize your wedding expenses

This step nudges you to decide what matters most. Is it the venue? The wedding dress? Or perhaps, the photography?

What matters most to you?

  • The non-negotiables: For some, it could be having everyone you’ve ever met on your guest list and a large wedding party. For others, it’s the Michelin-star quality food for your rehearsal dinner and reception. Identify your must-haves.
  • Where to cut corners: Making small adjustments like choosing seasonal flowers for your wedding flowers or a local bakery for your wedding cake can make a big difference without compromising quality. You can also forgo wedding favors.

Step 3: Create a detailed wedding budget spreadsheet

Details are your allies in this financial joust. It’s time to put numbers to your big day.

A sample template:

  • The big picture: Start with a top-line budget that breaks down percentages for each category, such as venue, food, attire, and so on.
  • The nitty-gritty: When filling out your spreadsheet, research the average costs for your priority items and allocate the funds accordingly.

Step 4: Stick to your budget

Creating a budget is easy; sticking to it—that’s the challenge. But with a few mindful strategies, it’s very much doable.

Strategies for saving and avoiding overspending:

  • Regular check-ins: Schedule budget reviews with your partner monthly, considering any revisions along the way.
  • Be strategic: If you find a fabulous deal on a wedding dress, it might free up more for the cake. Be flexible without losing sight of your total budget.
  • Involve your network: Sometimes friends and family know great vendors, or they may offer their services as part of your wedding gift.

Start the rest of your life on good footing

Your wedding budget is more than just numbers on a page. It’s a reflection of your values, your smart financial planning, and ultimately, your readiness to start off your marital life in a responsible and thoughtful manner.

Approach your budget with a sense of adventure, knowing that each saving is a step toward financial empowerment and each expenditure is an investment in a day you’ll remember forever.

Remember, a beautiful wedding is not solely about the grandeur of the celebration but also the meaningful start it gives to your partnership. Happy planning, and here’s to a wedding day that’s as glorious as it is within your means.

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Written by

Team Stash


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