First and for most congratulations on your engagement!! You are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime, but before you start planning a wedding you must decide on a budget. Wedding budgets are very important; they allow you to decide on the total amount you will spend and how much you are allowed in each category. By setting your budget you also make decisions such as theme of your wedding, formality, location and size.

I understand you just got engaged and money is the last thing that you want to think about but trust me it is crucial that you set your budget before you start spending money. Start with an amount of what you believe you can afford to spend on your wedding. Do this before you sign one contract or write a single check. If you are not careful the wedding will plan you and your wedding will end up costing two to three times more than you expected.

It is easy to get out of control with the wedding “adrenaline” rushing through you. You get engaged, you tell your family and decisions begin happening before you have established a foundation, your budget. You want to make sure your wedding is how you always dreamed so in order to guarantee that, start with a solid budget.

Here is a budget guideline to help you plan that dream wedding. Referenced from

Reception 50% of total budget
Bridal Attire 10% of total budget
Photography/Videography 10% of total budget
Flowers/Decorations 10% of total budget
Music 5% of total budget
Transportation 5% of total budget
Invitations 4% of total budget
Misc. 6% of total budget

Here is an example cost breakdown of an average $20, 000 wedding:

Reception $10, 000
Bridal Attire $2,000
Photography/Videography $2,000
Flowers/Decorations $2,000
Music $1,000
Transportation $1,000
Invitations $800
Misc. $1,200

This is just a guideline, every wedding is unique and there are no set of rules. It all depends on the couples preferences and priorities. Some couples may want to spend more on the reception and less on the ceremony or more on bridal attire and modify the floral budget. The variations are endless.

The average bride and groom these days are older and more career established resulting in 70% of all weddings today being paid by the couple themselves entirely. If your parents are paying for the wedding or contributing now is the time to discuss budgets and limits. Be realistic and appreciative. If you wish to have a wedding that goes above and beyond what your parents are willing to expense then compromise. You can cut corners without sacrificing quality. By choosing the time of year when costs are lower, by choosing an affordable venue site, finding vendors with special wedding packages, or having a smaller wedding party.

If you are paying for your own wedding then you should have a good idea of what you can realistically afford. If your budget is limited then you need to decide your priority vs. cost. You can have a large guest lest with a causal wedding or a small guest list with a big, fancy wedding, you get to decide!

If you would like a simple budget calculator worksheet like the one above go to Premier Planner at It is a FREE online wedding planner with a fantastic wedding budget notebook. You can save it right there and have your very own wedding planner organizer online for Free! By logging in you can use all the wedding planning services it offers including, budget calculator, guest list, seating chart, email reminders, RSVP online, wedding planning calendar and much more.

Good luck with your budget planning and congratulations on marrying your best friend!