Reading time: 13 minutes
Your wedding budget is your spending plan for the whole wedding. It’s an expression of your priorities. If you don’t talk about it and put together a solid budget early in the process, you’re either going to run out of money or spend more than you planned.
This episode will be helpful no matter where you are in the wedding planning process. If you’re just starting out, it will help make sure you have a good plan for your spending. If you’ve booked a lot of your vendors already, it will still be helpful because it will help you prioritize what’s left of your budget.
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HIGHLIGHTS FOR THIS EPISODE: The 5 Main Factors that Drive Your Wedding Budget
In today’s episode, we’re tackling the big B word in weddings. Your budget. Here are the 5 Main Factors that Drive Your Wedding Budget
- Location [08:30]
- Guest Count [10:37]
- Design [12:37]
- Personal Style [13:55]
- Time of Day [15:16]
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- Wedding Budget Template and Vendor Payment Chart Bundle in the Resource Shop
- ASK THE PLANNER Resource Shop
- @AskthePlannerPodcast on Instagram
- Book a 90-minute Clarity Call to get wedding planning help specific to your unique situation
Thank you to our podcast sponsors!
If you prefer to read, here's the text . . .
The 5 Main Factors that Drive Your Wedding Budget
Today’s topic is a super-important one and one that should be considered much earlier than most couples want to admit.
Many couples put off putting together a wedding budget because it’s hard to estimate what you’re going to spend on an event you’ve never planned before.
So you avoid talking about it. Or – worse – you book your wedding venue and photographer without stopping to think if it makes sense with the rest of the expenses you’re going to have.
Because, honestly, you don’t know the rest of the expenses.
So in this episode I’m going to talk about some key things when it comes to budgeting to help you 1) feel comfortable talking about your budget and 2) to help you feel in control of your spending
And, if you want to make your life SUPER EASY, you can visit the Resources Shop and purchase my Wedding Budget Bundle, which takes SO MUCH out of the guesswork of budget creation. I’ve had people tell me already that it’s pointed out expenses they didn’t even think of!
Okay – now for today’s topic: The 5 Main Factors that Drive Your Wedding Budget
Before we get into talking about the budget, let’s talk about what a budget is. A budget is merely a list of expenses that you’re going to incur over a specific amount of time. Your budget can be $10,000 or $110,000 or $1,100,000.
And I know that it can be sometimes uncomfortable to talk about money. But we need to normalize talking about your wedding budget because your budget is an expression of your priorities, whether that’s a high-end dining experience, a really fun band, or maybe even the purchase of a new home. I get it.
So hopefully this discussion has helped you have a better mindset about your wedding budget.
Because at the end of the day, it’s a spending plan.
So in today’s post, I walk you through the 5 most important factors to consider when it comes to your wedding budget.
A wedding in rural Virginia is going to cost less than a wedding in Palm Beach Florida. Just like there are different costs of living in different cities, there will be a wide range in terms of how much items will cost.
If you visit the website The Wedding Report, it will give you the cost of an average wedding in your wedding’s geographic location costs. You can search by zip code or metropolitan area.
But I need to caution you. The average wedding in New York state costs around $35,000. But my couples regularly spend over $100,000 on their weddings. But those are not “average” weddings.
2. GUEST COUNT
A wedding for 50 that costs $50,000 is going to look a lot different from a wedding of 250 that also costs $50,000.
With each guest you have, your costs will either increase, or you will have less to spend on each guest. And each guest affects your stationery, your postage, your flatware, the number of table linens, centerpieces, and favors. The bar tab. It just adds up.
So think about how much you're willing to spend per guest. My couples spend $750-$1,000+ per guest. Others spend closer to $350-$400. Some spend less. It all depends on your priorities.
Your wedding design has a lot of influence on your wedding costs. A DIY backyard wedding with wildflowers in milk bottles and folding chairs is going to look a lot different from a wedding in a ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
Different aesthetics will have different price points. The more customization you require, if it’s hand torn, hand-cut, hand-drawn, hand sewn, it’s going to cost a lot more than something you can readily buy “off the rack,” as fashion designers would say.
4. Your Personal Style
Depending on the types of details you want to include, your budget can swing up or swing down significantly.
A simple afternoon wedding with some mindful, personalized touches will look very different from an evening black-tie affair.
How are you when you entertain or when you hang out with your friends? Are you a pizza and beer kind of person? Or do you like to go all out?
Your personal tastes will also influence your budget.
5. Time of Day
And finally, the time of day. A morning ceremony and brunch or lunch reception will look and cost differently from an evening black-tie affair.
Day-time affairs tend to look and feel more casual and, therefore, will cost less. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. A really beautiful garden wedding with champagne and overflowing flowers can still be expensive. But generally speaking, it will be less expensive because evening affairs are usually more formal.
The 5 Main Factors that Drive Your Wedding Budget
Let’s review these items one more time.
- Guest Count
- Personal Style
- Time of Day
How can you put together a good wedding budget?
So now that you know the biggest drivers in your wedding costs, how do you put together a wedding budget?
Define a Budget Range
After you’ve thought through the factors above, decide on a budget range, not just one set number.
On average, couples spend about $7,000 more than they originally intended, so it's best to define a window within which you are comfortable staying.
You might fall in love with sumptuous letterpress invitations and custom seals but the weight of the invitations requires you to spend more on postage and assembly. Meanwhile, your partner decides they want top-shelf liquor instead of beer and wine only. Rather than compromising, your budget increases by a couple thousand dollars. This happens really easily and all the time.
Therefore, have a target budget that you are aiming for, but also have a stretch budget that you are still okay with before you start experiencing buyer's remorse.
Book a Planner, Then Start Booking Vendors
Wait to book vendors until you know what your wedding budget is. After and ONLY after you have defined your realistic budget range, speak with a wedding planner or two. There are different kinds that offer various levels of service.
This is a shameless plug, I know, but a wedding planner can not only save you money by preventing you from making costly mistakes (e.g. forgetting to budget for a restroom trailer, gratuities, service charges, and tax), they also keep you focused so you don’t get sidetracked by unnecessary purchases.
This prevents you from spending too much in one or two or a few categories and running out of money.
If you’re not sold on hiring a wedding planner, or you want to do all the wedding planning yourself because you like to have the control and final say, make sure you check out my wedding budget bundle in the Resource shop. It has a line for each category and will help you plan for expenses you didn’t even think of or know you’d have. I also provide you with a vendor payment chart to keep track of all your vendor payments to avoid any late fees and make sure you know who needs to get paid when.
On average, my couples hire 15 wedding vendors. Each one has at least 2 or 3 payments. So that’s already 30-45 SEPARATE payments they’d have to keep track of. The vendor payment chart helps you keep track of when all these payments are due so you can what money will be leaving your bank account each month.
How to Put Together a Good Wedding Budget
I hope this short post helps you feel more prepared to put together your wedding budget and in control of your spending.
Knowing all the elements that go into a wedding budget will empower you to make the right decisions when planning your wedding. Do some research, think about your day and your guest list, and have a serious discussion about your wedding budget before booking any vendors – that includes a planner!
And finally, never forget the reason you're getting married and what your personal goals are for your wedding. Keep these reasons in mind during the decision-making process and you will more easily avoid getting caught up in all the things that keep popping up on your Pinterest feed.
If you have ANY questions, I’m more than happy to answer them!
Send me a DM me on IG at @asktheplannerpodcast. I respond to everyone – usually with voice texts!
Also, like I mentioned before, ASK THE PLANNER Resources Shop is now open with amazing planning templates – like my wedding budget bundle – to help you plan your wedding. If there’s something that you’re looking for that’s not in the shop. Please let me know. I want to create resources that you want and that will help you!
Finally, don’t forget to leave a review for the podcast if you liked this episode. Reviews are so helpful to us podcasters because it helps other listeners find the show.
That’s all for today’s episode. Next week’s episode will be another Wedding Tip Wednesday and then I interview an incredibly talented wedding cake baker in Episode 23. If you’re getting married this summer, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your wedding cake.
MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THIS POST SO YOU CAN COME BACK TO IT LATER WHEN YOU'RE READY TO PUT TOGETHER YOUR WEDDING BUDGET!