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Costing an average of $33,000 or more, weddings are among the biggest expenses for new couples. Creating a budget can help you start your life together without saying “I do” to loans, credit cards and other debt.
How to budget for a wedding
Every couple has expenses, but starting your marriage with debt from your wedding is less than ideal. Knowing how to save for your nuptials is a solid start, while learning how to budget can help you take advantage of every dollar.
1. Get the big picture on your finances
Take a good look at your financial situation. To start off, take note of savings or other assets you want to put toward your wedding, and then add up your sources of income to find out how much you’ll be working with each month.
2. Estimate costs and break down expenses
Know how much money is available so you can start putting together a budget. Consider your guest list, venue, food, entertainment and other wedding items. Keep track of the cost of each expense so that you can keep a running tally of your grand total.
3. Budget to zero
Zero-based budgeting is a popular system that requires you to put every dollar of your income toward designated and specific purposes, including your savings account. All of your monthly income less your routine expenses should leave nothing left over.
Get started by adding up your monthly expenses. Then subtract the total from your monthly income. From there, allocate your leftover money toward individual expenses or into a general wedding fund.
4. Review your budget frequently
Stay on top of your finances with monthly reviews. If your income shifts or your expenses change, you may need to adjust your spending to ensure it all adds up.
How much should I budget for a wedding?
The national average cost of a wedding can run you $33,931 according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study. That doesn’t account for where you plan to marry or the guests you intend to invite.
You can pull off a lovely wedding on a smaller budget or go all-out for your big day, but it comes down to setting aside a monthly amount to meet your specific wedding goals.
|Spending||Average cost||Time until wedding||Monthly savings needed|
Guest lists vary, but here’s an idea of what you could spend to host 100 wedding guests.
|Flowers and decorations||$2,400|
|Ceremony venue and officiant||$2,700|
|Clothing, makeup, hairstylist and accessories||$2,140|
|DJ or entertainment||$1,300|
|Favors and invitations||$630|
|Cake and cutting||$530|
Other wedding-related expenses
Costs beyond those for your big day can affect your budget, including:
|Gifts and favors||$750 to 2,500|
|Transportation||Up to 1,000|
|Bachelor and bachelorette parties||$1,000 to 10,000|
|Alterations||$150 to 750|
|Invitations, cards and postage||$250 to $1,000|
|Wedding coordinator||$500 to 1,000|
|Hotels and other accommodations||$250 to $2,000|
Best software and apps to help you budget for a wedding
|Name||Avg. price per year (USD)||Free version?||Platforms|
|Go to site|
|You Need a Budget (YNAB)||$84||No||PC|
|Read reviewGo to site|
8 tips to stretch your wedding budget
When you’re ready to wed your person in life, you may find yourself fantasizing about the big party that goes with it. But one day isn’t worth starting out your new life under wedding-related debt.
Budget more easily for your big day by comparing budgeting apps designed to help you easily manage your money and expenses in one place.
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