It’s all about the money {Day 3}

Yesterday I promised you that today’s post would cover the least sexy, yet critical part of planning a wedding. Without further ado, today I bring you: Budgeting!


I’ve heard that the number one thing married couples fight about is money, and I believe it. It’s tricky, and it will be ESPECIALLY tricky during this season. I wish someone had told me that sooner- I expected the transition to combined finances to be smooth and natural, but in reality, it was the exact opposite. You are still two people, and you will most likely have two very different opinions when it comes to how you spend your money.

Having said that, the very first thing you’ll need to do when planning a wedding {after taking a few days to soak it all in} is set a budget. We did not do this, and it caused some unnecessary conflict and anxiety. We got engaged on a Friday, and by Tuesday we were driving an hour north to look at our dream venue {more to come on venue selection!}. My then-fiancé got very excited when he heard our date was available, and because he’s an efficient, “get it done” kind of person, wanted to commit and put down a deposit right then and there. My brakes instantly started screeching, and I was finally able to pinpoint where this fear of commitment was coming from: I had no idea how much we were going to be able to spend for our whole wedding, let alone did I know how much someone SHOULD spend on a venue, and so I was not going to jump right in to commit thousands of dollars on something that I couldn’t afford.


Setting a budget is really all about expectations and priorities.


The first thing I would do is sit down with your fiance and talk about how much you are expecting/willing to spend on your wedding day, and where the money will come from. Luckily I had funneled some money into a separate savings account at that 6-week mark, so we had a little starting money to work with for deposits and such. The next step is to talk with your parents and find out if they will be contributing to any of the wedding funds, and if so, how much. You would hate to plan a five-figure wedding, expecting your parents to foot the bill, and then later find out you weren’t on the same page. My parents were extremely generous in covering a good portion of our wedding expenses, and I am oh-so-thankful!


Next you will need to discuss priorities with your significant other. Everyone will have their “thing” that is most important to them—for me it was photography and the venue. Some people may insist on a designer dress; others won’t settle for anything less than a fully catered, plated dinner; one of my relatives spent thousands of dollars on a custom cake. Find your top priority, and know that you may have to sacrifice in other areas to make it work.

This is another area that it took us awhile to figure out. I think Laszlo got scared when I was willing to shell out what equated to 50% of our budget on just two of the necessary expenses, because he was expecting the rest of the bill to climb in proportion. Once I explained that I was willing to sacrifice catered meals, dj’s and professionally arranged flowers in order to have the photographer and venue I wanted, things went a lot smoother.


Finally, make sure you track your expenses as you go. It’s easy to over-spend, especially when you are making a trip to Michael’s every week for “a few more things.” Those little things really add up! I used an excel spreadsheet and it worked wonderfully for me. I did find it helpful to have our wedding money in a separate account because I didn’t have to differentiate wedding expenses from everyday spending.

I really wish I had an awesome printable or downloadable budget sheet for you. Unfortunately I don’t, because, well, I’m a newlywed working girl, and let’s be honest-we’re lucky I’ve made it through 3 days of this series! But they are out there- Google away!

Don’t get too terrified when you see the numbers on these sample budgets, however. This is your wedding, and regardless of if you’re spending $30,000 or $3,000, it will be beautiful and you will make it work!

Here are some potential categories to include in your budgeting and tracking of expenses:

  • Venue (Ceremony and Reception)
  • Photography/Videography (including engagement photos)
  • Bride’s expenses (dress, shoes, accessories, hair, makeup, etc.)
  • Groom’s expenses
  • Flowers (centrepieces, altar, bouquets/boutonnieres, etc.)
  • Officiant Fee
  • Invitations (and Save the Dates)
  • Thank You Cards
  • Postage (for invites, save the dates, thank you’s, and return postage if including RSVP cards)
  • Programs
  • Address Labels/ Calligraphy/ Addressing Service
  • Marriage License
  • Lunch on wedding day
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Reception Food
  • Alcohol
  • Cake
  • Decorations (for ceremony and reception)
  • Rentals (chairs, cocktail tables, sound systems, etc.)
  • Linens
  • Plates/silverware
  • Attendant gifts
  • Insurance
  • Music (Ceremony and reception)
  • Favors
  • Rings
  • Transportation
  • Honeymoon
  • Accommodations
  • Other

 Once you have your budget set, you’re ready to start in on the official planning!


Check out the other posts in the 31 days…to the altar series here.

31 Days to the altar

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