How to Create A Realistic Wedding Budget

wedding planning Oct 25, 2019


Wedding planning the right way is all about smart decision making. Knowing what your budget is and how it's allocated (separated into categories) is a big part of planning smart from the start. But how can you make smart decisions about your wedding spending if you have no idea what your wedding budget should be?



 So.... how do you create a wedding budget when you haven't made any wedding decisions yet? Or maybe you feel like your budget is too tiny and have no idea how your going to host your family and friends, plus make it the beautiful, Pinterest worthy wedding you're dreaming about. 

I show you exactly how to create an estimated cost for your wedding day based on the size of your guest list, your geographic location in the US (or abroad) and your level of taste. 

From there your budget will be broken down into categories, each giving you a clear price point for where and how much you should be spending to keep the overall budget on track and in check. 



This is the single most important preplanning step that almost no one does, because how do you really know?

There's usually two trains of thought for how people approach their wedding budget:

No. 1 -  You have a set dollar amount that you want to spend. Say it's $25,000, or $50,000, or $10,000. You know how much money you want to spend on your wedding, but you're not sure how it allocates.

No. 2 - Another way that couples approach their budget is they have an idea of what they want their wedding to look like, but they have no idea what that's going to cost.

I'm going to walk you through both approaches and how to break it down so that it makes sense for you.


Creating a Budget

You should create your estimated budget before you make any wedding decisions, aka spend any money. Your budget is based on several different factors:

1.Your guest list

2. Your location (because cost of living is different across the country)

3. Your level and quality of taste

4. What you want to spend money on for your wedding day


Step One

To find your estimated wedding cost the first thing you need to do is go to and fill out all the questions on the home page. It's going to ask you where you live, where your wedding is going to be, a few questions about the wedding itself, and then what you think determines quality.


Step Two

Answer the questions on the second page. These are all the questions that are like, are you going to hire a videographer? Are you going to have a wedding cake? Are you going to buy a veil? Are you going to buy fancy shoes? And so on and so forth.

It's going to ask you for a detailed breakdown of what your ideal wedding is going to be and the vendors you want to spend money on. I want you to check off all the boxes that you want to include in your wedding.

It's better to overestimate than underestimate when it comes to this. Then the website will give you an estimated cost for your wedding and how it should be allocated. 


Step Three

How do I use this information? Well, start by downloading the spreadsheet + guide to make using this data throughout the wedding planning process super easy. 

The guide will give you a much more in-depth breakdown of how to maximize creating an estimated budget (guiding you step by step) and the dynamic spreadsheet helps you see what your spending should be at a glance. Download your FREE copy here.



If you Have a Vision for Your Wedding but Don't Know How Much it will Cost

You've collected all the amazing pictures on your Pinterest board and you have found your perfect venue online, but you are a little scared to find out how much all of this is going to cost. Well, after going through the estimated cost of your wedding that they provide you is the exact number you should be working off of for your wedding budget. 

By inputing your guest list, location, level of taste, and wants for your big day they've figured out a pretty close number to what you should expect to spend on your wedding. 

Don't like the number it gave you? If this estimate is higher than you want to spend then consider two ways to save big bucks:

1. Reduce the size of your guest list. 

By having less people you will spend less on food, beverages, rentals, florals, and everything else that has a per person or per table cost. 

2. Hire less vendors. 

Choose to do more DIY or just have less vendors in general. To have a truly magical wedding it's really not about the stuff but about the atmosphere you create and for that you need to get married, feed everybody, and have some good music to dance too. An open bar doesn't hurt and looking fancy with someone talented to take pictures is also a plus, but they aren't essential if money is tight. 


You Have a Set Dollar Amount You want to Spend, but Don't Know How it Allocates will provide you with a broken down, allocated budget with spending separated into different categories. Use the cost percentage of each category (see image) as the only data you will take away from this exercise. I want you to input that percentage number into your downloaded copy of the free spreadsheet that I've created for you (you'll get the awesome guide too that will help walk you through this process). 

Within the spreadsheet (see image) you will change the percentages to match what Cost of Wedding has provided and you will change the overall budget to reflect the set amount of money you want to spend on your wedding and POOF! like magic the spreadsheet tells you exactly how much you should be spending in each category of your budget. 


How This Data Helps You From Overspending on Your Wedding


1. It gives you a price breakdown of spending for each wedding category.

Use this information to help guide your spending. For example, if you are looking at wedding venues and your estimated budget has allocated you spend $4000 on a venue but you're receiving quotes that are much higher, that means you need to look at different venues that are within your estimated price point. 

2. It shows you how your budget will spread out over the course of the wedding planning process. 

You don't want to spend all of your money at the start because there are going to be places further along in the planning process that you may want to splurge a little more (fancy shoes, maybe) and if you have spent all of your money at the beginning then you won't have any left over.

Also, if you have a rain plan for your outdoor wedding that involves tenting, spending all of your money early won't leave the necessary funds to cover (literally) your wedding when you need it most. 

3. It gives you an idea of how you can shift money around to be able to save and splurge on different categories

Say you want to spend more on your dress and spend less on your invitations, by reducing the percentage of the budget that you spend on invitations and increasing the percentage you spend on your dress you don't have to feel guilty or wonder how you're going to pay for something that's extra special to you. 

Getting your copy of the FREE spreadsheet makes changing percentages within your estimated budget super easy, because I've already built in the formulas for you so all you have to do is change the % number. 


Having data like this is a great way to prepare for what could be some serious sticker shock. If your parents are helping you pay for your wedding this spreadsheet is a great tool to use to talk with them about realistic spending and what the money will be used to buy.

Good communication is always helpful to ease any anxiety about spending becoming an out of control issue and just a basic lack of knowledge for what things will cost. I hope this helps you as you plan your epic wedding!



If you've gotten this far and are still saying "What now?" Then I want you to join me for an on-demand, Netflix style webinar that can start in the next few minutes if you're ready. 

Within this webinar, I give brides-to-be the 6 BIG ACTIONS that they need to take in the first 3 months of wedding planning. I take you from lost and confused to planning with confidence and clarity in 50 minutes flat. 
Sign up now and save your spot to watch this no BS, get right into the important stuff, wedding planning can be fun and easy fo' real kind of webinar. 


Hugs & Best Wishes,



 Check out these other posts that will help turn you into a wedding planning pro!




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