This is the definitive guide to creating your wedding budget from scratch.
In this guide, you’ll learn fool-proof tips on how to build your wedding budget, including:
01. The right questions to ask yourself to set a realistic budget from the start
02. Budget's categories to consider and the correct % to allocate to each category
03. Building a budget breakdown and setting your priorities right
04. Money-saving ideas
05. External variables that will affect your costs no matter what you do.
In short, if you are planning your wedding and are looking for some advice to put together your budget in a stress-free way, you’ll love this guide.
Let’s get started!
#1. The right questions to ask to set a realistic budget from the start
There are several important questions that you, your fiancé and both your families need to ask yourselves.
This is better done before moving on to pick a wedding venue or putting a deposit on that dream wedding dress!
Gone are the times when the wedding expenses were mostly paid by the bride’s parents.
These days, many couples pay for their wedding entirely by themselves.
Deciding on your wedding budget is bound to be a stressful part of your planning journey.
Talking about money always is!
However, a realistic distribution of your hard-earned money will ensure that the bulk goes to the essential rather than to superficial details that probably no one will notice.
As a rule, every guest that attends your wedding stands for a euro- amount.
You may have to take hard decisions between the size of your guest’s list and the quality of your experience.
Maybe you prefer to sacrifice that amazing live band so that you can have your extended family by your side.
Or you may decide that it is better to invite only a lucky few and provide the most memorable occasion with the best quality food and wines…!
Only by knowing from the start, the size of the investment you can make, you can decide how many invites hit the post!
Question 1: What is your overall budget?
Planning and managing the budget for our couples is one of the most important things we do as wedding planners.
In our experience, deciding on an overall budget before starting with your planning is a crucial first step.
If you do things the other way round, it’ll cost you dearly in time and money.
Especially today when anything you may want or dream for your wedding in your wildest dreams is just a click away!
You also have unlimited access to amazing pictures of everything that every other couples are doing, buying or hiring.
In short, possibilities and temptations are endless, but your resources surely are not.
So, set a budget amount and decide to stick to it.
It’s wise to ask a wedding planner pro from your local area- or wedding destination – so that you are aware of what average costs to expect.
That way, your budget and your expectations are on the same page from the get-go!
Just a little word of advice before moving forward: it’s the beginning of your life together, so the less debt you start your future with, the better!
If you need to borrow some money, just ask for an amount you can ideally pay within the next 3 to 6 months.
There are cases where one or both sets of parents or other family members are happy to help pay for part of the expenses.
This is a godsend gift to any young couple!
Question 2: Are there any costs being covered by other people?
Call for a family reunion and decide who will pay for what if it is one of those cases where families want to help.
It’s essential to make sure your parents and relatives are comfortable with the amount of their contribution.
Question 3: Are there any "non -standard" items that the budget needs to include: buying bridesmaid's dresses, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon?
#2. Budget's categories to consider and budget Break down
As we move on to build the budget, we want to think about which categories to include. There are budget guides based on industry-standard percentages.
We think every client is unique. That’s why we build every budget from scratch based on our client priorities and not on those standard categories.
However, we can use them as a general guide here to break down the budget.
Then, as you build your own wedding budget and decide on your priorities, you have the option to customize them as you see fit.
BUDGET BREAK- DOWN
1.FOOD – 40%
Food & Beverage is usually the costliest item. From your cocktail, passing by your reception and ending with your delicious wedding cake…all come into this category.
This cost is tied to the size of your guest list. The bigger the guest list, the bigger the F & B cost will be.
2.RECEPTION & VENUE RENTALS – 12%
This line is connected to the money you’ll pay towards ceremony and reception’s venue rentals.
Keep in mind that this expense could go up substantially if you marry in an expensive city or place.
3.PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO- 10%
Having great memories of your wedding day is a must! That’s what you’ll show your grandchildren after all.
We suggest budgeting for a videographer too.
In this category, we include the bride’s dress, veil, jewellery, shoes and the groom’s attire.
5.MUSIC – 10%
Your options here are a band-always the most costly-, DJ or single performers.
6.FLOWERS – 8%
Include Personal flowers, Ceremony and Reception flowers.
7. STATIONERY – 3 %
The price for invitation suites varies greatly depending on your design and printing choices. Don’t forget to include Save-the-date and Thank- you note. Postage is a cost that could quickly add up, so don’t lose sight of it!
8. TRANSPORTATION -2%
Shuttle services for the guests are a nice touch, especially if your ceremony and reception are in different places. A fancy ride for you & your groom is a tradition worth keeping!
9. MISCELLANEOUS- 5%
In this category, we include items such as marriage license, taxes, tips and any unforeseen extra. Wedding insurance is a must.
It could protect you against cancellations, damages and vendor errors.
#3. Setting your priorities right
I assume that staying on budget is a priority for you.
This is usually the case for all of my couples, whether their budget is
€ 30,000 or € 100,000.
The overall budget number you decide at the beginning is a preliminary amount which is bound to vary as you move along the planning process.
Your budget is alive, and it’s up to you to keep it on track by making the right decisions.
One of the best ways to achieve this result is by setting your priorities right!
All weddings are different – some couples don’t mind spending as much as it takes to have a 16-piece band, others have their heart set on the most fantastic venue.
Whichever way you want to go, remember that usually most of your expenses will go towards your reception.
Your ceremony shouldn’t take more than an average 4 % of your total budget, including the venue rental fee, officiant and printing programs.
So, decide on what you value more as a couple and set your priorities right before assigning numbers to any category per see.
Certain parts of the wedding celebration always made our heart beat faster with anticipation.
For you, it could be that multi-layered cake or an arch full of orchids or that very sought- after soloist violin player!
Allocate the money for this item first and then start spending on everything else…!
Decide on your non-negotiable/ non-negotiables and don’t budge!
This way, when you start receiving quotes, you will have the clarity and focus on making the right choices and sticking to your pre-set budget.
More likely than not, some of the quotes will be over the budget you assigned to specific categories.
But because you have your priorities right, you’ll be able to either:
1. Pull budget euros from another area of less priority
2. Look at other vendor options (or go with a vendor that may not be your first choice, but is more economical
3. Increase your budget if you decide it’s really worth it (This’s your last option)
#4. Money-saving ideas as a bonus
As wedding professionals, it’s our primary job to bring our clients’ dreams to life.
You may see a gorgeous floral arch on Pinterest and get your heart set on having something similar.
You may not realize that achieving the same look might eat up half (or even more) of your entire decor budget.
So, how can you go on building your dream wedding and still stick to your budget?
Before we move on, remember that anyone on a budget -and who doesn’t have one? – can have a beautiful ceremony and reception.
David Tutera was right when he said that there is beauty in extravagance, but there is also beauty in simplicity!
We agree 100% with him and feel that most often than not, simplicity is the best way forward!
Read on for tips on keeping a tight-budget on track:
1. Your choice of venue can make all the difference if you are on a tight decor budget.
Think of a breathtaking beachfront location, a reception space with glamour of its own or great architectural features.
A beautiful garden with plenty of flowers and trees will be more than enough décor if you love the outdoors.
Having a beautiful venue will afford you the perfect backdrop setting for those stunning wedding photographs as well, by the way.
2.The key to both a beautiful ceremony and reception on a tight budget?
You can have a repurpose strategy in place! It’s a money-savvy move which needs to be planned with your wedding planner or decorator.
Look at every item you’ll be using at your ceremony as a potential element you can reuse at your reception.
For example, you can reuse the floral garlands from your ceremony arch to decorate your sweetheart table.
Or the arrangement from your ceremony table for your reception buffet
3. Choose an area to focus on.
It could be your reception or your ceremony.
For example, you could organize a tasteful and straightforward ceremony and save the bulk of your decoration budget for your reception.
Then you could splurge a bit on florals or additional décor details.
Or you could select one “Wow- Factor” detail for each part of your event.
Bet on quality over quantity, if you are relying on a limited budget!
Your guests will forever remember your special touches in the F & B, Music or Decor.
In the area of Food & Beverage, it could be a carefully chosen wine list or a vintage ice cream cart.
In the music area, you could surprise everyone with a 10 -piece live band or a classical duet to perform during the ceremony.
I never forget one of my brides who decided to entertain her guests with opera singers who waited on them at the same time…it was a total blast and so emotional that her guests are still talking about it!
4. Choose your single non- negotiable item.
Think carefully, and you’ll see that there’s always a single detail that’ll make your Pinterest’s dreams come true.
It could be that fantastic crystal chandelier to hang over your dance floor or the jaw-dropping floral decoration in your ceremony arch, or that decadent tablespace.
You can then scale down on other areas of your décor budget.
#5. External variables can affect your costs.
Several independent variables will always affect your costs. Guarantee!
Read on and start strategizing over your budget:
1. Prime – season equals premium costs.
If you choose to get married during the high-season months( summer months for Marbella), you’ll pay more for your venue.
Consider off-season months to cut your expenses.
2. Holidays will increase your expenses: It starts with your travel and goes on into your venue & suppliers’ prices.
It’s tempting to marry during the holidays. But remember, you are going to be penalized.
3. Weekends cost more: Saturdays in September are the most popular day to marry in Marbella.
Saturdays are the most popular day of the week in general, and it comes with a higher price tag.
Consider a weekday or a Sunday if you’re on a tight budget!
4. More guests equal more money! The bigger your guest list, the more significant the budget you’ll need.
So think twice before inviting everyone you have ever met to share in your happy day!
At the end of the day, we all need some guidance when facing new challenges.
At MitsyCo. we consistently follow the above tips to work with our clients’s budgets. And always with excellent results!
We guarantee that your wedding planning journey will be smoother if you follow our budget building tips.
Which tip are you going to try first?