Creating your budget

Although your budget will determine certain factors of your wedding (such as the size, style, and place), the good news is the amount of money you spend has little to do with the meaning and joy of this very special day.

Before you get caught in the quagmire of advice given so freely (that can be so costly!) about what you must do, be honest with yourself—decide how much you can afford to spend. Don’t be pressured into extravagant spending when your own preference is to be more reasonable. On the other hand, if you (or your family) have been saving to throw a no-holds barred wedding extravaganza, then by all means, go for it!

Budget Guidelines

Using information gleaned from dozens of books and articles, we suggest you consider the following guidelines:

  • Reception (site, food and beverages) 40 to 50%
  • Clothing (bridal gown, groom’s attire) 8 to 15%
  • Photography/Videography 13 to 16%
  • Flowers (ceremony and reception) 7 to 10%
  • Invitations/Stationery 2 to 5%
  • Music (Wedding and Reception) 6 to 11%
  • Transportation 2 to 3%
  • Wedding Cake 2%
  • Gifts 2%
  • Wedding Rings 4%
  • Miscellaneous (tips, etc.) 3%

Many couples choose to cut costs in one category to spend more in another. Wear your mother’s wedding dress and transform your wedding site into a tropical haven filled with exotic flowers. Or take a friend up on her offer to arrange the flowers for your wedding and buy the exquisite dress you’ve always longed for or offer a special entree at your reception.

And speaking of the reception, remember the time of day and type of food service greatly affects your costs. A morning wedding followed by brunch will be less expensive than an evening wedding followed by a served dinner. And for even greater savings consider having a cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception in the afternoon.

Getting Estimates

Begin by calling or meeting with local florists, caterers, and any other vendors to get an idea of what the costs will be in each budget category. Don’t feel that you have to follow every suggestion offered. Ask questions, be flexible and you’ll have your dream wedding and stay within you budget!