Episode Show Notes

Wedding Budget Template Tutorial

November 28, 2022

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If you're planning a wedding, you've probably already searched for a wedding budget template. Because, let's be honest, no one wants to make that up on their own! If you're looking for help on your wedding budget, you've probably wondered:

  • What is the ideal budget for a wedding?
  • How do I make a wedding budget checklist?
  • What categories should be in my wedding budget?
  • How do I organize my wedding budget?

Related Wedding Budget Posts

If you've been around a while, you know I talk about wedding budgeting A LOT. (See these related blog posts and episodes).

Yes, we talk a lot about budgeting around here, but it's such an important aspect of wedding planning. This is why I wanted to go line by line and put together a real wedding budget with you all. If today is your first time visiting Verve Event Co., welcome! My name is Desiree Adams and I'm a wedding planner based in upstate NY.  Through my blog and podcast, Ask the Planner, I share all the tips and tricks I've gathered over the years to help YOU plan an unforgettable wedding.


Wedding Budget



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Highlights for Episode 75: Wedding Budget Template Tutorial

Below are the highlights:

  • Buy the Wedding Budget Bundle I use in today's episode [03:15]
  • Wedding budget template categories and sub-categories [04:35]
    • Attire [05:27]
    • Ceremony Venue [05:54]
    • Wedding Venue [04:35]
    • Hair and Makeup [07:21]
    • Photo & Video [08:35]
    • Paper Goods [09:10]
    • Reception Food & Beverage [13:35]
    • Florals [15:27]
    • Decor & Lighting [17:47]
    • Gifts & Favors [18:27]
    • Music & Entertainment [19:40]
    • Rentals [20:28]
    • Wedding Transportation [21:22]
    • Accommodations [22:23]
    • Wedding Tipping [22:39]

Links Mentioned in Today's Episode: Wedding Budget Template Tutorial

Wedding Budget Template Tutorial

Wedding Budget Template Tutorial Categories

Wedding Budget Template Tutorial_Ask the Planner Podcast

For clarity's sake, today's wedding budget template tutorial is for a couple planning a wedding for 150 people. They have 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 2 moms, 2 dads, and 4 grandparents. Below are the categories for our budget:

  • Attire
  • Ceremony Venue
  • Wedding Venue
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Photography & Videography
  • Paper Goods
  • Reception Food & Beverage
  • Florals
  • Decor & Lighting
  • Gifts & Favors
  • Music & Entertainment
  • Rentals
  • Transportation
  • Accommodations
  • Tips

Wedding Attire

For attire, the subcategories we have are accessories, gown and veil, suit and tux and wedding rings. I'm not going to put fake numbers under the Attire category because you can go in many different directions with attire, but it's important to budget an amount for each line item. Also, if you want to put in jewelry or outfits for the weekend, make sure you include that here.

Wedding Venue

wedding budget template wedding ceremony costs

Next in our wedding budget template tutorial, we have our venue section. I broke up this category into the subcategories: Ceremony, Reception and Venue Rentals. For the ceremony venue rental, I used  a placeholder of $500. For the Reception Venue Rental, I have a placeholder of $7,500. Other venue rentals would be like restrooms, a catering kitchen, tenting, power generators, etc. If the reception venue is also hosting the ceremony, then they might have an additional ceremony site fee.

Wedding Ceremony

Our section is the ceremony itself. This should be for an officiant, ceremony fees, like licenses, or a ring bearer pillow, etc. Our placeholder is $500 for an officiant but this can vary. If you're having a friend officiate, I would budget an amount for a gift.

Hair & Makeup

I think it's important to pay for your hair and makeup for your wedding party if you're having them use whoever you're hiring. (I discuss this in greater detail in Episode 73.) In our example, we have 1 bride, 5bridesmaids, 2 moms, and then 2 grandmothers getting services done. For hair, I have $150 for the bride, and 9 x $95 for each person to have their services done. Again, you can break that up however you want by just putting in a placeholder for that. I also used the same math for our makeup artist. That comes to $300 for the bride to get hair and makeup. For the rest of our people, that's about $190 per person for both. Also, don't forget to include travel fees, if they're traveling to you on the wedding day to get ready, which is usually what we do.

Photography & Videography

There's a wide range for photography and videography, but for each one, I estimated $5,000 in our wedding budget template tutorial. You can do a little bit less, or you can spend a lot more. It just depends on your priorities, your location, etc. Knowing how long you might need them for the wedding is important, too. If you don't know, they can to help you put together a timeline. As a wedding planner, we put together the photography timeline as part of our overall timeline for all of our couples. To give you an idea, normally my photographers are on site for about 10 hours, maybe a little bit more if they're having a church ceremony and we're having to start earlier in the day to be at the church at 1:30 or 2:00 pm.

Paper Goods

Oak Hill Country Club Wedding - Stationary - Verve Event Co.In today's wedding budget template tutorial, I broke up the paper goods category into several subcategories. These are:

  • Calligraphy Services
  • Escort cards ($2.50 x 150 guests)
  • Invitation, design, printing and shipping ($5.50 per invitation x # of households)
    • Quick tip: Multiply your guest count x 60% to estimate how many individual invitations you need.
    • For 200 invited guests x 60% = 120 invitations or households + extra for returns and keepsake
    • Don't forget reply envelopes, details cards, etc.
  • Invitation postage
  • Other / Upgrades: Envelope liners, seals, etc
  • Placecards
  • Printed menus,
  • Printed table numbers and stands
  • Save-the-dates, design, printing and shipping
  • Save the dates postage
  • Signage & Miscellaneous printing cost

If stationery isn't a high priority and decide not to go the custom route, you should definitely look at Minted.

Want to save money for your wedding budget template? Looking for wedding stationery? We love Minted!”

Reception Food & Beverage


Our first category under F&B is Pre-Ceremony. This would be for something like passed champagne when guests arrive. For this, I estimated $8 per guest. Then we have our reception alcohol. This applies to your alcohol package for each guest. For this, I budgeted 4 hours of open bar (you paying) at $36 per person. I think is on the low end but it depends on where you are. For our example $36 x 150 people is $5,400.


Next, we have the Appetizers. For this, I budgeted $15 per person. For our sample, $15 x 150 guests is $2,250.

Next, we have the Cake & Dessert. For our example, estimated of $5.50 per person, which is a starting price depending on the type of cake design. If you're going to have a dessert display, that's going to be different because it depends on how many pieces you're actually ordering. For our example, that brings us to $825.00.

Our last category under the reception food and beverage is the meal, meaning the salad, entree, etc. For this, I estimated $85 per person x 150, which is $12,750. This number does not include service charges and tax. Make sure you ask about these fees with your caterer because they will definitely increase your costs.


wedding at The Lake House on Canandaigua

For florals, the sub-categories I have are:

  • Ceremony
  • Personals
  • Reception floors
  • Florals
  • Set-up, servicing, and tax

Ceremony Florals

For the ceremony, I  have a round number of $2,000. This would apply to your aisle, your aisle runner, an arbor or arch,  etc. This is would also be for your chairs, pews, etc.

Personal Florals

Next, we have our personals, which are your bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, etc. For our example, we have a bride, 5 bridesmaids, 2 moms, and 2 grandmas. Then we have the groom, 5 groomsmen, 2 dads, and 2 grandpas.

To calculate the costs, I put a placeholder for each group or each person. I have the following:

  • $250 for the bridal bouquet
  • 5 x $125 for each bridesmaid bouquet
  • 4 x $45 for the moms and grandma corsages
  • $20 for the Groom's boutonniere
  • $20 x 9 people for all the groomsmen and the dads

This brings our total for personals to $1,255.

Reception Florals

Last, we have our Reception Florals. To make the math easy, I went with 20 tables. Then I multiplied 20 by $185 per centerpiece (which is a good starting point for a centerpiece, but it could go up or down depending on your preferences). This brings us to $3,700.

Also, don't forget, flowers for other parts of your reception, like your cake table, escort card table, cocktail tables, lounge, bars, etc.

Floral Setup, Servicing, and Tax

The last line in the florals is setup, servicing, and tax. This will depend on your florist. Sometimes they have a separate setup fee, sometimes they have a separate breakdown fee, etc. I would budget around 15-25% of what you're already spending total for your setup, servicing, and tax as a starting point.


For decor, we have three categories, which are guestbook/card box, details / personal touches, and lighting, I think I'm going to redo this whole thing. You can put whatever you want in for those numbers if you're doing any of those things. The one I wanted to talk about the most here is Lighting. For this, you'll want to think about how many candles and votives you want for each table. Going back to our example of 20 tables, I normally have five votives per table and five candlesticks per table. That brings us to $650. Also, this is where you'd want to account for any uplighting.

Gifts & Favors

Wedding Favors

With wedding gifts, we have a whole episode on wedding gifting. But basically either spend a good number like $5-$8 per person so it's like a small gift, or don't spend any money at all. Make a donation to your favorite charity in their name. People can't get mad at you for that. If you go the cheaper route (around $1), people will throw it away, so save your money

Out-of-Town Welcome Bags

The next category is out of town gifts. A lot of times my couples will give a welcome bag to their guests that are coming in from out of town. This is a really great opportunity to welcome them and to set the stage for the whole wedding weekend, which is always really fun. I have an estimate of $10 each. Going back to our example of 120 househouls, that's $10 x 120 = $1,200.

If you want help with your wedding welcome bags, use our shopping list in this blog post. It provides you with links to where I get our tissue paper, gift bags, etc.

Music & Entertainment

In this section, our subcategories are:

  • Ceremony music
  • Cocktail hour
  • Music
  • Entertainment (band or DJ)

Ceremony Music

For ceremony music, if you want something like a quintet, they're probably going to be around $500-$900.

Cocktail Hour Music

For cocktail hour music, in our example, I listed that our DJ is also providing the music for cocktail hour. But if you hire a quintet for your ceremony music, they could continue for your cocktail hour.

DJ or Band

For our DJ, I budgeted $3,000. Again, it all depends. This can also be where the DJ will provide lighting, up lighting, a photo booth etc. But you can also get that separately. This depends on where you live. For the band, this can go anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 and up!


wedding budget template rentals example

I'm not gonna give specific numbers on this because the ranges vary so much. But these are the things you should think about:

  • Ceremony chairs
  • Reception chairs
  • Glassware and china
  • Linens (napkins, tablecloths, etc.)
  • Lounge furniture
  • Other rentals like a cake stand, a stage for your band, etc.

Sometimes my couples will supplement rentals in place of what the venue offers for nicer things. For budgeting purposes, I start in the $15-$20 range for my couples for rentals. But they can significantly go up higher. For example, a napkin can be $2.50-$5.50.


This category has these sub-categories:

  • Couples transportation
  • Wedding party transportation
  • Family transportation,
  • Guests like shuttles are valet services
  • Wedding insurance

If you want a special getaway car for you, make sure you account for that. All these fees will depend on how many people you're transporting and for how long. If you need them until 2am, then it's going to cost a lot more.


For accommodations,  this is your hotel, your getting ready suite, your wedding suite on the night of, your parents' lodgings, etc.


Finally, our last category is tips. Definitely don't forget to tip your vendors. I know this is a touchy subject, so I won't go too much into. However, I want to put up plug in there for all of your vendors who worked incredibly hard for you on your wedding day. They walk so many miles for so many hours. They're sweating. They're smelly, but we do it all for you guys. Obviously, if you're not happy with your vendors don't tip them. If you're not comfortable with a tip, no one is pressuring you to do it. I highly recommend writing a nice thank you note, and leaving a really awesome review. Please tell them how much you appreciate their hard work because it really goes a long way. When I start to feel crappy and get a note from my couples, it makes such a difference.

Wedding Budget Template Total Cost

In conclusion, our total budget with all of the numbers I discussed above for 150 guests comes to $86,300. Obviously, a lot of this is TBC. It depends on your priorities. It depends on where you live. But hopefully, this step-by-step wedding budget tutotiral gave you a good starting point for your budget.


If you have any questions, make sure you DM me on Instagram at @asktheplannerpodcast or call the wedding planning hotline at 585-210-3467.

Don't forget to save this post so you can come back to it again!

Wedding Budget