Wedding Budget 101: How to Manage Wedding Costs


Planning a wedding is an exciting experience, but it can become downright stressful if you don’t create and stick to your budget. 

As you may soon find out, weddings can easily become rather expensive, so it’s important to plan ahead. 

Once you’ve set your wedding budget, here are some other tips to help manage your wedding costs.

Determine Where to Save vs. Splurge

Chances are there are certain aspects of your wedding you’re not willing to compromise or negotiate. For example, perhaps you’ve dreamed of getting married at a specific venue or had your eye on a particular wedding gown for months. 

Now, it’s alright to splurge on certain elements of your big day, but you likely can’t splurge on everything and stay within budget. In that vein, it’s important to determine what’s worth splurging on — quality photos and videos to remember your day forever — and what can be made budget-friendly, like a buffet-style dinner versus plated meals. 

Expect Hidden Fees

When it comes to planning your wedding, it’s likely you won’t remember or know every expense you’re responsible for paying. To avoid sudden expense shock, think of hidden fees you may have overlooked. For example, you’ll need to include gratuity for wedding services such as photography, videography, catering, hair styling, makeup application, tailoring, transportation, and more. 

Additionally, consider whether you’ll need to pay overtime fees for any of your wedding professionals. Perhaps you booked the DJ for five hours but instead need them for seven hours. You’ll likely be charged an overtime fee. If you’re prepared for additional “hidden” fees, there will be no need to panic when those situations arise. 

Open a Separate Wedding Account

Want to know the easiest and best way to stick to your budget? Transfer wedding-specific funds into a separate bank account. Think about it: If your entire wedding budget is in its own account, there’s no way to accidentally dip into money allocated for next month’s bills. This will also allow you to track spending no matter who’s making the purchases.

Create a Spreadsheet

Speaking of tracking purchases, creating a spreadsheet is a great way to monitor spending. Determine what percentage of your budget is allocated to each area of planning. Then, track how much is spent on each area. Break it down into individual purchases to ensure you know exactly where your money is going. It may sound daunting and time-consuming, but ultimately, you’ll breathe easier knowing exactly where you’re at within your budget. 

Narrow Your Guest List

Of course, you’d love to invite everyone you know to celebrate your big day. However, if your budget is getting tight and you’ve saved in areas you’re willing to, it may be time to narrow your guest list

This can be tricky, but it can also save you from blowing your budget. Each person invited to your wedding has expenses tied to them, including a save-the-date card, formal invitation, place setting, meal, and party favor. Narrowing your guest list could help you manage wedding costs.

Don’t Pay for Guests Who Can’t Make it

To avoid paying for guests who can’t make it, send your save-the-dates six to eight months before the wedding. This gives your prospective guests plenty of time to schedule it on their calendar or let you know they can’t make it. The earlier your guests decline, the sooner you can allocate those funds toward something else. 

Managing Wedding Costs Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

Managing wedding costs may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Determining where to splurge versus save, being mindful of hidden fees, opening a separate wedding account, creating a spreadsheet, narrowing your guest list, and sending save-the-dates early on to determine who can and cannot attend are all surefire ways to stick to your budget. Now that you’re confident in your budget-conscious plan, it’s time to start making those difficult but fun decisions!

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