Wedding Budgeting for the Newly Engaged Couple

A wedding day is often described as one of the best days in someone’s life, and you want to make sure that everything is perfect. The first step in doing so is preparing a budget that works best for you, your partner, and how much you want to spend. Put priorities first, and then worry about the little stuff.

white table and lights in brown room


The venue is obviously going to be the first aspect you want to take care of. Most of your wedding planning will revolve around this, and it’s probably going to take the biggest chunk out of your budget. Wedding venues can range in price from about $1,000 for a cheap venue to any kind of extreme on the maximum end.

If this is an issue, you can consider someplace special to your partner and yourself that would be free to use, but be sure that the rules allow for a wedding to take place, you take care of any arrangements that need to be made, and that it can accommodate your wedding size. You can also look for venues that will be cheaper during off-season or decrease your attendance and find a cheaper, smaller location. If you want to make things easy on yourself, look for venues that include catering, drinks, set up, decorations, or any other number of perks in their package pricing.

Most people spend around 50 percent of their budget on this category, so this is an important one. Be sure that you know exactly what is included in that price so you can make the necessary arrangements.

Catering and cake

This section can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. You first need to decide if you want to provide full meals, just snacks, or something small to hold your guests over through the partying. Either way, comparing prices is key here, as you obviously want to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible, especially when it comes to such large amounts of your budget. Do be aware that catering can come with extra costs as far as serving the food and other aspects go, so catering from a restaurant that guests can serve themselves to is a good way to go on the budget side of things.

Your cake is also an important aspect and, again, can be as simple or extravagant as you want. If this is something special to you, then take your time to find the perfect cake at the perfect price. Just remember that it’s all going to be eaten in the end, so you may want to focus your budget on more long-lasting aspects of the wedding if the cake isn’t a big deal to you.


Drinks can make the partying fun, but it can also send your budget down the drain. You have a few options here: cash bar; free drinks; or a mixture. A lot of couples choose to go with a mixture where they have a few special drinks available to guests for free, and anything beyond that is the guest’s responsibility to pay for. This is a good way to keep your drinking on a budget. You can also just choose not to have alcohol if you’re wanting to save money here. You could even consider BYOB if you think guests will definitely want to be drinking, but you don’t want to be responsible for it. Remember that it’s your day and your budget in the end, so don’t spend too much time and money on something that is purely for your guests.

women's white dress on hangers


Saying yes to the dress is a huge ordeal for every bride, and it’s important to have your dream dress on your wedding day. However, it is essential to enter this with a clear expectation of how much you can spend, which is typically going to be about ten percent of your budget. Allowing yourself to go over that may take away from other aspects, so be sure that you know what your maximum amount really is. Don’t allow friends and family to talk you into purchasing something that you know you can’t afford or doesn’t fit into your established budget well at all.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen

Depending on how many people are in your wedding party, this can get pretty pricy. Each bridesmaid and groomsman is going to need their own dress or suit. This can either be something you pay for or something that the person themselves is responsible for. If you’re not going to be paying for it, be sure to be respectful with your expectations of the wedding party to accommodate their own budgets.

You will also most likely be purchasing gifts for the wedding party to thank them for being a part of your big day. This is a good time to ensure that your gift price is equal (or greater than) to the contribution they made, but try not to go too overboard with this part. Keep gifts in check, especially if you have a bigger wedding party.

bouquet assorted-color flowers


Flowers can be as big or little a part of your wedding as you choose. There are obviously the traditional flower aspects, such as your bouquet, your bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres for the groom and his groomsmen, and additional arrangements for people like your flower girl, but you may also have flowers throughout your decorations as well.

A good way to cut costs here is buying fake flowers, which will also allow you to save the flowers as a memory of your day without worrying about preserving them. If you prefer to use real flowers, consider the season and what will be most economic at the time of your wedding.


A photographer is a key aspect of any wedding you want to remember. This person is the one who will be saving every aspect of your big day for you. Many couples are also opting to hire videographers to ensure every part of their day is on camera, and that the ceremony, fun of their guests, and more is all appropriately captured by the person you hire. Be sure to allocate some of your budget towards this, as they can get pricey.


Music can be incredibly simple – turning on a playlist you and your partner carefully prepared – or full service – a live band. Consider what type of music you’d want to play and how important it is to you in order to determine what route you want to go with here.


This is where things can easily get out of hand. If you have room in your budget, you may want to buy decorations that are already prepared and ready to go. However, if you’re looking for more ways to cut costs, consider finding ideas for unique centerpieces and other details that you can buy for cheap and possibly even DIY. Another popular decoration currently in the world of weddings is flowers, so you may even consider using predominantly flowers and tacking this onto your flower budget. Also be sure to plan for people to set up decorations if needed, or do it yourself with family and friends beforehand to save on costs.

man and woman wearing wedding dress while sitting on truck

No matter your budget, it’s important to take a step back and remember that extra spending in one category means less in another. Rank the parts of your wedding you need to allocate funds to and determine which are most important for you and your partner and plan accordingly. You don’t want to sacrifice too much for your big day, but chances are, there are going to be some ways for you to cut corners and save a little extra on your budget.


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