Weddings are a significant financial commitment, and determining how to best divide up your wedding budget is one of the trickiest and most important wedding planning tasks. Allocating your funds wisely among your vendors is the best way to successfully stay within your overall wedding budget. Read on as we guide you through the process of breaking down your budget among each vendor category.
Determine your overall budget
First and foremost, figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend on your wedding. Establishing your wedding budget will serve as a foundation for your vendor allocations. You and your partner need to decide on a realistic total budget that takes into account your financial situation, desired guest list, and wedding day priorities. How do you come up with this number? We’ve got an equation to make it easy for you!
“The Amount You Have Saved” + “The Amount Contributing Parties Have Saved” – think parents or other family membes + (“The Amount You Can Save Per Month” x “The Number of Months Until Your Wedding”).
If this sum sits within your comfort zone, you’ve landed on your wedding budget!
Make a list of must-haves
Identify the key elements of your wedding that are the most important to both of you. Whether it’s the food, photo + video, or springing for a live band, make a list of your top priorities to help guide your monetary decisions. These are areas where you may want to spend more than the average expected amounts to really get what you want! It will also highlight what’s less important to you so you know where to cut back!
Allocate a percentage of your budget
Now that you have a number in mind for your total budget, it’s best to break down that budget into the vendor categories. While the exact percentages may vary depending on your priorities, here’s a general breakdown for what we recommend you spend on each vendor:
- Venue, Food & Beverage: 40 – 60%
- Floral + Decor: 10 – 20%
- Photo + Video: 10 – 20%
- Entertainment: 5 – 10%
- Rings & Attire: 10 – 15%
- Stationery: 5 – 7%
- Transportation: 3 – 10%
- Cake: 3 – 5%
- Miscellaneous (favors, wedding party gifts, etc.): 2 – 5%
- Wedding Planner: 10 – 20% (depending on service level! A month-of coordinator should be around 10% of your budget. Full Service packages should be closer to 20% of your budget).
Customize your priorities
Keep in mind that these percentages are starting points! Think back on the top items on your wish list and consider which ones are non-negotiable. Did you find the perfect venue or your dream dress already? If those things put you over budget, consider cutting back on costs in other areas that are not as important to you. Alternatively, if those things are not deal-breakers, find another option that you’re sure to love just as much! The key is to be flexible with these budget allocations, as wedding planning often involves unexpected changes and adjustments.
To track all of your wedding expenses, keep a detailed spreadsheet! This will help you stay organized and ensure that you don’t go over budget. Periodically review and update this spreadsheet as your wedding planning progresses, adjusting accordingly as you make decisions and start booking your vendors!
Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all this money talk? We love a good spreadsheet here at Kaushay & Co. and provide each one of our couples with a Budget Workbook! Contact us here for our wedding budget expertise!