How to Work Out Your Wedding Budget
26th January 2019
You might wonder whether you need a wedding budget as you plan your wedding and I say a resounding yes! Whether you’re spending £50k or £500k for your wedding, you need a wedding budget. Even if you don’t have all the funds readily available in one lump sum, you still need to work out your wedding budget. This is something I advise all my clients to do especially at the start of the wedding planning process.
Having a wedding budget helps you to know what you are spending where, how you can move stuff around if you are overspent in one area (so that the final breakdown is not a complete surprise) and more importantly, helps you and your wedding planner to source and find you the right suppliers that whilst matching your style also fit your budget. All in all, it helps you to manage the funds you have set aside for your wedding properly.
I advise that you have an idea of the style of wedding you want and know your guest numbers before you set your wedding budget. Alternatively, you can set your wedding budget first and let that determine the style of wedding you want to have (I’m not a fan of this approach but it works for some folks so worth giving it a mention).
Once you decide how much you want to spend on your wedding (usually a ballpark based on your wedding style. Remember, this is purely down to you and your fiancé with input from your parents if they are contributing to or paying for your wedding), you then start to prioritise and allocate specific amounts based on what’s important to both of you (this is where doing your supplier research really helps).
Here is a rule of thumb for how to work out your wedding budget:
- 40% of total budget to reception (including venue, food, drinks, and decor)
- 8% for flowers
- 10% for dresses and suits
- 8% for entertainment/music
- 10% for photo/video
- 3% for invites
- 3% for gifts and
- 8% for miscellaneous items
- 10% for contingencies and unexpected expenses
Allocate an extra 10% of your budget for contingencies and unexpected wedding expenses like printing or having to rewrite extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day etc.
For example, for a £50k wedding budget for 100 guests, you’d have something like:
- £20,000 for reception (venue, food, drinks, decor)
- £4,000 for flowers
- £5,000 for dresses and suits
- £4,000 for entertainment/music
- £5,000 for Photo/Video
- £1,500 for Invites
- £1,500 for gifts/favours
- £4,000 for miscellaneous expenses
£5,000 for contingencies and unexpected expenses
Once you allocate the bulk of your wedding budget for the venue, food, drinks etc., you can then allocate the rest.
As you allocate, prioritise and start with aspects of your day that are most important to you (your absolute must-haves). Pick 3 or 4 areas max. For example, if you want fresh flowers, a killer dress, a horse-drawn carriage and fantastic images for your day then make those a priority and allocate more funds to them over the other items on your budget list.
Other important points to note:
- Set a realistic budget. Get quotes from wedding suppliers to inform your budget setting (let them know what the quote is for and they’ll be more than happy to help you) or your wedding planner can usually help you with this.
- Images from Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration but be prepared to spend a tidy sum if you’re looking to recreate those exact looks. Don’t assume that a 2 tiered cake with cascading sugar flowers will cost you £200!
- Do your homework, attend fairs, get quotes from suppliers to help you set a realistic wedding budget. So that as you start your wedding planning, you will have a pretty good idea of what you need to spend, and where.
- Factor in as much of your expenses as possible including accommodation for you after your wedding and any pre or post wedding brunch.