How to Create Your Wedding Budget – Part 2

Wedding Budgeting Advice

If you haven’t already read Part 1 of How to Create your Wedding Budget, I recommend that you hop over to that blog post first.  It’s a very high level overview, but includes important steps and decisions you want to make before getting deep into the numbers and spreadsheets.

Now onto the details…  A common question I receive is “how much should I expect to pay for (fill in the blank)?” (wedding photographer, catering, venue, flowers, etc.).  Without experience in wedding planning and knowledge of the market, it’s tough to know if the quotes and proposals you’re receiving from vendors are reasonable and fair.  

Once you collect several quotes and compare, you might start to get an idea of the range, but even that isn’t guaranteed depending on who you are contacting and what you are including in your requests. For starters, this is always a major benefit of working with a knowledgeable wedding planner (shameless plug) who can help you create your wedding budget and guide you to vendors that match your style and price point.  But, even without a planner, you can equip yourself with some rough estimates for your wedding budget.

The cost of a wedding adds up quickly, and it’s not uncommon for couples or their families to underestimate the cost and experience some surprise when they see the real wedding budget breakdown. 

This is especially true when they have already committed funds to certain items, typically a wedding venue or photographer in the earliest planning stages. But don’t worry – you’re already steps ahead by the fact that you’re doing your research and getting the information now.  It will save you loads of headache down the road.


Wedding Budget Breakdown

This is a typical breakdown by percentage.  It’s not one-size-fits-all and you’ll most likely need to customize to your priorities (see Part 1 of this post for details on that).  However, it’s a great starting point and will give you a clear picture of what you can afford based on the total amount you want to spend on your wedding. 

If you’d like to receive my free budget template, just email me and I’ll be happy to send it over.  It has all of the percentages and formulas plugged into Google Sheets, so all you have to do is add in your total wedding budget and it calculates the line items for you, as well as plug in your actuals (what you have spent or plan to spend) so you can compare and see where you need to adjust.

General Wedding Budget Breakdown  
Reception 46%
Food & Beverage  
Ceremony 5%
Attire 7%
Planner/Coordinator 5%
Flowers 6%
Music/Entertainment 5%
Photography / Videography 10%
Stationery 2%
Wedding rings 2%
Parking & Transportation 2%
Gifts 2%
Miscellaneous 3%
Contingency 5%
TOTAL 100%

One final note:  Gratuity and tips are not included in the breakdown above.  They are always discretionary, but if you intend to give them don’t forget to budget for it.  Note that many caterers charge a service charge, and in most cases this is not the same as gratuity.  Be sure to read your contracts or ask if you are unsure if gratuity is already included in the invoice.

I’d love to hear if this wedding budget breakdown is helpful for you.  Don’t forget to contact me for the free wedding budget template to make things easier on you!  If you’re in the Greater Seattle area, especially the Puyallup and Tacoma areas, I’d love to help you with your wedding planning needs and make sure you have a beautiful wedding day… that also stays on budget!

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Happy planning!


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