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A Quick Guide to Setting a Wedding Budget

by Jesse Long
A Quick Guide to Setting a Wedding Budget

So the time has come to figure out your wedding budget. Often a good deal of the stress in wedding planning revolves around this essential step in the process. It’s likely that you have some limit on what you can spend on your wedding, and this can lead to tough choices about where to cut back to stay within your limits. No matter your target number, though, you can take some of the anxiety out of budgeting through careful planning.

Here are some tried-and-true tips for making your wedding budget work for you.

Know who is paying for what

First of all, it is important to know how the wedding will be funded.

  • Will you be funding the wedding yourselves?
  • Will parents help pay?
  • Will all parties decide on certain aspects to fund or will you pay by percentage?

Being clear about who is paying for what up front can only help when making decisions further down the road. 

Make sure your budget meets your needs

Remember that every wedding is different. Even for weddings of roughly the same budget, the breakdown of expenditures can vary quite a lot.

It’s likely that the reception(including rentals, food, and beverages) will be a large part of your budget, but whether it is the biggest part truly depends on what you want for the event.

You may find budget breakdowns of the “average wedding,” but don’t rely too heavily on these. Check out real examples of wedding budgets. If you look at enough of them, you may find one that resembles what you’d like for your wedding.

If you’re still having trouble deciding how to divide up your budget, take some more time to do preliminary research on vendors in the area. Being more informed about what things can cost can help you figure out the big picture. If you know that having a nice dinner is a priority for you, having a ballpark estimate of the cost will let you know how much you may have to cut back in other areas.

Create a budget spreadsheet

When it comes to your wedding budget, staying organized is key. A budget spreadsheet, for instance, can be a great help. You can put in your initial estimates and change them as necessary.

If you have your guest list worked out, you can use that to help you get started. Joy’s guest list management feature allows you to easily keep track of your guest count. You can even download your guest list as a spreadsheet to help you get started with budgeting.

You’ll keep returning to your spreadsheet as you go through the stages of planning your wedding. When the numbers start adding up to more than your intended budget, either start making compromises or adjust your expectations of how much the whole wedding will cost. 

Set aside a percentage of your wedding budget, just in case

However, you should plan to go over budget a little bit. To have the necessary flexibility, make sure there is at least 5% set aside for unforeseen expenses. Even the most meticulous planners are likely to find that some aspects of the wedding end up costing more than expected. Giving yourself room to adjust and rethink things can take some of the stress out of the process.

Discover ways to save

While still in the early stages of planning, you may decide to cut your expenses by making some practical changes.

  • Your choice of the date, day of the week, or time of your wedding could have a big effect on the overall cost. Look into dates when there may be fewer weddings.
  • Non-traditional or DIY options for venue, catering, or decorating can potentially save you lots of money, especially if you have friends or family who can help out. Be sure to look at the full cost of these options ahead of time, though. With non-traditional venues, the cost of rentals can really add up.
  • You can save money on printing and postage costs by communicating with guests electronically. For example, you can send save-the-dates and RSVPs and post essential information with your Joy wedding site.

Making use of free online wedding tools, where possible, is a great idea for saving time and money. And whatever your budget, don’t lose sight of what’s important—making great memories with your loved ones.

Get started – Guest List Management Features

You can download your Joy guest list as a spreadsheet!  Joy also includes some nifty options for managing your spreadsheet columns and searching for guests!

Check out more Joy guest list features:

  • From your dashboard, click “Guest List.”

guest list dashboard

  • Click the menu button in the top left corner to see more options.

guest list menu icon

  • You can download your guest list as a spreadsheet. Just click “Export rows as CSV.” You will be able to open this file with Microsoft Excel and most other spreadsheet tools.

guest list menu

  • From the menu you can also choose which columns to show or hide. You can choose to show only the columns that are relevant to what you are planning right now.
  • To quickly find the exact guest you are looking for, you can start typing your name in the search field at the top of the screen. The guest list manager will start searching right away.

filter guests

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