Wedding Budget Breakdown: For Your Dream Wedding

The ultimate guide to help you determine how much to spend on your special day.

Reviewed by Jeff Lanno, Wedding Planner
Written by Shivani Chandel, MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach
Edited by Subhrojyoti Mukherjee, MA (English)
Fact-checked by Sneha Tete, Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach  • 

Weddings are expensive but we cannot just not celebrate such significant events. We cannot sacrifice our wish to have that breathtakingly beautiful wedding dress, that super delicious, tiered cake, or those gorgeous floral decors! And since we want them all, a realistic wedding budget breakdown and wedding budget template that are judiciously made should be in place. That’s where financial planning and wedding budgeting tips come into play. Oh, but don’t you worry at all. We are at your service for the same. Today, in this article, we shall discuss how to do wedding planning including budget breakdown, save your money from getting unwantedly spent, and still have your dream wedding. So, before you begin all the hustle, do the budgeting first. We know you are all excited about D-day, but this is really important. Now scroll down and find out all the tips that we have provided in this wedding budget guide.

How To Do A Wedding Budget Breakdown?

Woman preparing wedding budget plan.
Image: Shutterstock

The following points will help you understand how to budget for a wedding. Please go on, check them out!

  • The first thing you have to do is find out the market trends. How much would the catering cost? How much would you need for the attires? What is the ongoing cost of wedding decorations and venues? These costs will also vary according to the geographical locations and seasons. So, get these answers and have opinions regarding them from your kith and kins, too. Because, despite the trends, your folks might come out with more unique alternatives where you might not be required to spend as much as you would if you follow the trends.

It is essential to get an overall idea of the average budget to plan a wedding and the most expensive wedding items on your list. According to Statista, the overall average cost of arranging a wedding went up to 30000$ in 2021. The graph below presents a breakdown of average costs for a wedding by item for the same year.

Cost of Wedding in US in 2021

Source: Average costs for a wedding in the United States as of 2021
  • Next, you have to figure out who is going to contribute to the wedding budget. Maybe it is only you and your fiancé,, or maybe some of your family members might want to add their contribution. Probably your granddad has been thinking about gifting you the groom’s attire ever since you were born, or maybe your uncle wants to handle the catering, or your bestie wants to do the floral arrangements. So make sure you get these insights first. This step will help you to determine the overall budget better.
  • Understanding how much all the parties are going to contribute should be the next step. Make a list of this too. Although these discussions concerning money can be awkward among family and friends, know that this is for good. If you begin the conversation in a respectful manner, nothing’s going to go wrong. Also, owing to many different constraints, someone might not be able to contribute despite their promise. So, make sure you are not going to be disheartened in such cases. The event, after all, needs to be a joyous occasion, so do not hold any hurt feelings against anybody.
Woman discussing with her friends about wedding budget plan.
Image: Shutterstock
  • Once figuring out the financial assistance you’d get, plan your own contribution. How much would you and your fiancé be able to spend without burning a hole in your pockets? Discuss this with your partner and make a note of the insights you gain.
  • Now it is time to do the guest count. Your budget will heavily rely on the number of guests at your wedding. While selecting the venue, food, and alcohol for the ceremony, it is the number of guests that you are going to have to take into consideration. Also, strategically planning the guest list will allow you to determine the amount of money you are going to spend on other wedding aspects, like, invitations, seating arrangements, wedding favors, and the like.
  • You and your fiancé should make a priority list. You might want an open bar, while your fiancé might wish to have a cute food truck to add more fun and uniqueness. There will be plenty of such differences in terms of ideas. Make a list of things that you are surely going to want for the day. This will let you know how much money goes into the priority items and how much would be saved for the not-so-essential ones.
  • Know The Hidden Costs. Your budget will not only include the obvious costs but the hidden ones too. From paying that cake cutting fee to tipping a multitude of wedding vendors, you will be spending it all too. These things often come as a surprise, so don’t let it be an afterthought. Do thorough research and note everything down.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Hiring wedding suppliers and artists located close to your wedding venue will help cut the cost of their travel and accommodation.
  • Once these ideas are gained, you can do your wedding budget allocation and do your final math. You can prepare a wedding budget breakdown spreadsheet containing all the details and assign a certain amount to all the aspects of the ceremony. Share this sheet with all the parties eager to spend their money on your wedding too. With a well-organized and transparent wedding budget spreadsheet, you can plan your dream wedding without going over budget.
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You may also get readymade wedding planner spreadsheets online that will make your job easier. Record every expense related to the wedding and track it later.

How Much To Budget For A Wedding?

Couple discussing about wedding budget plan.
Image: Shutterstock

Your wedding cost breakdown will depend on the location where you’re going to say your “I do”, the season when you’re going to have the ceremony, the size of guests you want, the venue you want to pick, the attires you set your heart on, and the food you want your folks to enjoy. On average, though, it should be somewhere between $19,800 to $48,600 depending on the kind of wedding you want.

How Much To Budget For Alcohol For A Wedding?

Alcohol for wedding budget breakdown.
Image: Shutterstock

If you’re going for an open bar, you will have a fixed cost per person for every hour of the bar service. Depending on the type of drinks you want to offer your guests, the cost could be anywhere between $2,550 and $4,147 or even slightly more. But just know that your alcohol budget will account for around 10-20 percent of your wedding budget.

You can opt for the signature cocktails option. It’s pretty trendy and budget-friendly as well. You can limit the varieties and amount of liquor you are going to serve at the wedding with this option. While Dark & Bubbly is perfect for the winter, Lavender Lemonade Cocktails does excellent in the summertime. Autumn calls for Fall Harvest Punch and spring for Something Turquoise! There you go! Some of the best options for your signature cocktails. You might want to add wine and beer with these signature cocktails because you don’t want your guests who showed up at the ceremony with so much enthusiasm to be left with no options at all.

How Much To Budget For Flowers For A Wedding?

Flowers for wedding budget breakdown.
Image: Shutterstock

Wedding flowers will have their significance in most places—bridal bouquets, corsages, altar decorations, centerpieces, and other wedding decorations, to name a few. So, yes, they are, oh, so important, so is their budget.

Just like the average cost of any other aspect of your wedding, the wedding expenses breakdown for flowers will vary depending on the type you want, the number of flowers you wish to have, the season and location of your wedding too. The size of the wedding too will have an impact on the floral budget. If you want a minimalist celebration, you wouldn’t need many flowers. You wouldn’t need a massive wedding hall, so the number of flowers required for centerpieces and other decorations would decrease. But if you want to go for a complete out-of-the-world wedding with a prominent guest count, then the number goes higher too. But you can consider setting about 8-10 percent of your entire wedding budget exclusively for the flowers. The cost can be anywhere between $1,500 to $5,000 or more.

Caylee Betts, a product designer and blogger, recounts her experience of setting a budget for her wedding and how she hacked it. She writes, “I started the budgeting process by finding a template online, and then immediately nixed a bunch of stuff from it (like ceremony programs, videographer, officiant fee, ring pillow, limo rental and a planning binder) (i).” She continues, “The wedding budget always stayed between $28,000 and $32,000 as we added and edited things because I stayed on it like a hawk.”

Although whatever the budget is, make sure you and your peeps are happy and are not bankrupt for saying your “I do”s. Weddings are definitely expensive. Even if you opt for a simple one, you cannot make do with a meager amount of money. And when it is a big celebration, you will surely end up spending a massive chunk of your savings. But with prior planning that’s done wisely when you want to do a typical wedding budget breakdown, you can, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have the world at your wedding. So do not panic, do not let your pressure mount. It’s your big day; you just GOTTA be happy and free from worries! Happy planning!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most expensive part of a wedding?

Whether you are planning a grand wedding or a low-key “close friends and family only” event, you will be spending the most on the venue, decor, and catering services. The various wedding-related parties, like the bachelor/bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and bridal shower, also comprise a big part of your wedding expenses.

Do you include rings in the wedding budget?

Yes. Everything from the first pre-wedding event to the reception must be covered in the wedding budget.

Is a honeymoon included in the wedding budget?

A lot of people these days are skipping the honeymoon owing to financial strains. Therefore, it is definitely not a non-negotiable expense. However, if you would love to take a trip, it is better to include it in the wedding budget as it follows immediately after the wedding.

Which is more expensive: engagement or wedding?

Weddings are more expensive. You can choose to skip a party for the engagement and directly host a wedding. However, you cannot skip the wedding and reception if you wish to maintain your social connections.

Key Takeaways

    • Start the budget by figuring out the market prices in your area and how much everything is going to cost.
    • Make an ‘essentials’ list of the things to include in your wedding. This will help you distribute your funds efficiently.
    • You need to have an open conversation with your family and friends about the wedding funds. Maybe some of your close family members will want to add their own contribution to the wedding budget.
    • After figuring out the obvious costs and the hidden costs, create a spreadsheet with all your details and devote a specific amount of money to each aspect of the ceremony.

Learn how to create a dream wedding without spending fortunes but still leaving everyone in awe. Check out this video!

Personal Experience: Source

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