A wedding is one of the biggest and most exciting special events in your life and can be one of the most expensive ones. Many require financial planning and saving well in advance. The purpose of this blog is to give you some insights so you can start to create a budget for your special day.

Of course, you’ll need to do research, gather information and get quotes from your vendors for each service as you plan ahead. However, this is where a good Wedding Planner can really help you to realize your wedding goals Wedding Planners already have a list of preferred vendors and know what their rates are. So based on your budget, a Planner can point you towards the right vendors which can save you stress, time and money.

Honest conversations regarding budget between you and your fiancé are important. How much can you both realistically and comfortably afford? How much can you reasonably save between now and the wedding (based on monthly income and expenses). How much can you responsibly pull from your savings account? And, do you have anyone in your life who is eager to contribute (i.e. parents?). Finding out who is contributing and on what, can really help you to create an effective budget.

And, be sure to discuss your non-negotiable must haves. What is your top priority? What are you willing to splurge on? Once you know this information, you can allocate a larger percentage of your budget to your top tier items.

A typical breakdown of wedding services and expenses can be averaged and estimated in percentages related to the whole wedding cost. This way, you can start to itemize expenses and price them out. This should only be used as a general guideline as a professional Wedding Planner can help you create a more accurate budget based on your wants, desires and needs.

Wedding budget itemization:

  • Wedding Planner 10%
    This service can save you time money, and stress which allows you to enjoy the process and of course, your Wedding Day
  • Venue -18-20%
    Most venues will come with tables, chairs and in some cases, security. Most will also require that you purchase liability insurance for the day of the wedding.
  • Attire 8%
    This goes beyond the wedding dress. Remember your partner’s outfit is just as important. If wearing a suit, we suggest to go Bespoke, a worthy investment as they’ll wear it again and again. And, you may want to alter this percentage if you are purchasing two dresses, two suits or one of a kind pieces.
  • Makeup and beauty services 2%
    Keep in mind the cost of hair and make-up will be higher than normal salon costs as most stylists & make-up artists will have to travel to you.
  • Ceremony 2-4%
    This will cover the cost of the Officiant fee or if you are making a donation to your Minister’s Church, or if you are having a family member or friend perform the ceremony and want to take care of their ordination costs.
  • Food 18%
    This cost can change quite dramatically depending on the type of food you want to serve and the number of guests. Remember, when speaking to a caterer always use a lower head count. You can add more heads later, but they rarely allow you to deduct.
  • Drinks 8%
    This cost can also fluctuate. A way to keep costs down is by offering beer & wine and a couple of signature drinks instead of a full bar.
  • Wedding cake 2%
    This can also range quite dramatically depending on the number of tiers, head count, special design elements etc. Most caterers will charge a cake cutting fee so try to negotiate this into the total catering costs. Or, better yet, have your Wedding Planner negotiate this for you.
  • Invitation design and print 2%
    Printing cost can vary based on paper choice, design choice and many other elements. In today’s world of technology, a lot of couples are choosing to send invitations out electronically and/or tie it into their wedding website.
  • Decoration + Floral 8%
    Before purchasing any decor items, that you may never use again, look into renting. This way you have what you need on your special day and, you can leave it behind. A Wedding Planner can utilize their list of preferred vendors to supply just what you need.
  • Music, DJ, entertainment 8%
    A good DJ is extremely important. They can make or break your reception and be the difference in your guests having an OK time or a GREAT time. And, if you are having live music during the ceremony, cocktail hour and/or the reception, this cost also can fluctuate.
  • Photography, audio/visual 10%
    To make sure you like the photographer’s style, check out their website, their photos and their testimonials. A Wedding Planner can be your best resource to connect you with the right team based on your style and desires.

Additional Expenses:

Even with the most detailed budgets, it’s recommended to set aside 5% of your overall budget for smaller and/or unexpected expenses. A few changes may look small in the beginning but can total up to large amounts at the end. This may include bridal party favors, welcome bags, set-up and breakdown fees, digital access, service tips, incidentals etc.

Saving is Essential:

To finalize your wedding budget, you will want to have all pricing information from your vendors. Then, carefully look over your initial plan and adjust it as needed. The key to this process is knowing your priorities. They may include:

  • Guest List: The number of guests you have directly affects the expenses of the wedding. One of the most important decisions you will make in the beginning is how big you want your wedding to be.
  • Season: A great way to cut down costs is by going for an off-season wedding. It not only saves money but there is a chance that more guests will be able to attend.
  • Wedding Planner: Hiring a reputable planner will ensure that you do not go overboard with your budget yet have the best vendors and services on your wedding day, making it even more memorable.

Here are some other tips that will help you save on some services:

  • Have your wedding on a weekday – venues will most likely have lower fees Have both the ceremony and reception at the same place- this saves on time and transportation costs
  • During the reception – have charcuterie platters or other appetizers at a self-serve station prior to the main course
  • Use local and seasonal flowers – you’ll get flowers at a lower cost and at the peak of their supply
  • Hire a DJ with all-inclusive packages – this will keep you covered from the ceremony through the reception.

We hope this helps you to get started on thinking about your special day. Do contact us for more information and a complimentary consultation. We offer budget consultations to all our clients and show them how they can make the most of their budget. If you want a wedding in Southern California or prefer a destination wedding , we are here for you. Because in your dreams, every detail matters.