Wedding Planning: Where to Begin With Your Budget!

Yay you’re engaged!!  Congratulations!!  Did you pick a date yet?  Great!  Oh Fun!! Let the planning begin!!

The number one question and the first thing I ask my clients is what is your budget?  For some they are able to spit out a number quicker than I can blink.

Wedding budget Planning
Source: google images

For others, This is where I either get the deer in the head light looks or quick wince. Or even better? A big blank stair with a strained look from trying not to look confused. Some don’t even know what a budget is.

Guess what?  Yes Hunnnaaaee, you need a budget! If you don’t have one, get one! If you don’t know what one is, well, it’s about time you find out.

A budget for your wedding, is similar to a budget you would create for your home or business. It is a necessary and critically important tool to keep you within your financial means and boundaries. Hopefully, if you stick with it, a budget will keep you debt free. Not just for your wedding, but for life.

Think about it this way.  You wouldn’t have a million dollar home and lifestyle on a $3500 a month budget ($42k a year salary).  You would find yourself in debt within the first month.  It is the same with your wedding budget.  Simply put, a detailed budget will keep you from entering into your marriage with debt.

I am going to cut to the chase and let you in on a little secret. If you do not create a budget this is where sneaky wedding vendors can and will take advantage of you. There are vendors out there that prey on engaged couples who have not set a monetary limit or haven’t done the research.  So do the research and know how much money you are willing to spend for every aspect of your wedding.  Decide what is necessary and what is not.  Do not be oversold or accept something that you do not need or want within your wedding ceremony or reception. And then stick to it.

So now you know you NEED a budget and you know why.  Let’s get to work.   It’s okay, no need to panic.  Take a deep breath.  I am not going to leave you hanging.

The first step in creating a budget is to understand the average wedding cost in your area.  For example weddings in New Jersey average between $41k to $47k. Throughout Pennsylvania the cost of a wedding varies between $27k for the central PA area to $40k in the Philadelphia area.  If it helps, research what the average percentage breakdown will be for each item you will be paying for within your wedding.  From there you will know how much to spend on each line item (category) within your wedding.

Second step,  is to write a list of every thing you are willing to spend money on to create the day of your dreams. Now be realistic.  Remember you can’t have caviar dreams on a canned tuna fish budget.  This list will be your must haves.  Note: if you are a DIY bride, consider not only the basics. For example, flowers.  Include your hard goods (supplies) costs for all your decorations, food, attire and so forth.

Third step, decide how much money you are willing to spend on each category.  This is where knowing the overall amount you are willing to spend on your wedding and then breaking it down by a percentage of the cost will help.

Did I just confuse you?  Okay! NO problem…here let me help.  for example My wedding (not actually my wedding) I decided, I will not go over $25,000.  I created a list of must haves and created a percentage how much I am willing to spend for each category.  Here are some to name a few:

  • Venue (includes food) will be 40% of the cost
  • Decorations (includes flowers) 20%
  • Attire (includes jewelry and shoes) 20%
  • Photography: 10%
  • Music: 10%

Do you get where I am going here?  Once I understand the breakdown of cost, I need to figure out how much is that percentage.  Don’t panic! Breathe!!  Here is how you figure that out.  Trust me, I am not a mathematical genius.  If I can figure out how much the percentage is of an item on sale, then I can figure it out for my weddings.  So here it goes….Breathe!

For a $25,000 wedding: (formula total cost x percentage.  example 25000 x .40 = 10,00)

  • Venue: $10,000
  • Decorations: $5000
  • Attire: $5000
  • Photography: $2500
  • Music: $2500

Still confused:  click here Percentage calculator  This will help you work out those percentages.

Wooo! Wipe the sweat from your brow!  Now you are armed with how to create a budget.  See that wasn’t to bad.  Now you can get right to it…the planning that is.  But suddenly you are feeling overwhelmed.  So here, let me help you out with a little bit more information.

There are two ways you can create a budget now a days.  Actually three.  You can go about creating a spreadsheet on excel or on a notepad.  This is probably the easiest.  But then you may need to print or create a file for yourself so you don’t lose or forget your information.

For those of us who need a little extra help with keeping everything organized, the next two options are available and a huge lifesavers.

If you are technology savvy and don’t  mind working in a cloud based software or App then go for budget tracker online.

One of my favorites online budget trackers is cloud based and offered by  ” WEdding wire Budget tool.jpg’s  Budget Tracker. offers a free account, the ability to create and track your wedding budget online, and plan your entire wedding with not only a budget generator and tracker, but vendor and guest list management.  There is also a check list to keep you on track with your planning timeline.  All of this without cutting down one tree and it’s FREE!  You know what I say about that right!? “If it’s free, it’s for me!”

Then there is, for those like myself, a need to hold something in your hand and see it.  There are tons of  printed binder planners that work just fine.  My favorite, was created by The Knot.  Once upon a time (during my former years a full service wedding planner and designer) I gave these to my clients to help them keep everything in one place.  Like’s online service, the binder helps to keep you organized and everything in one place.  

For just under $20, this binder has everything you need to plan your wedding from tips on how to pick your vendors, awesome tab dividers with pockets to store all your vendor information and contracts.  They even have a few inspirational ideas with color photos.  There is a handy checklist and timeline and budget sheet for you to complete and follow.  And sooooo much more.  Now do you see why its my favorite? Click on the picture it will take you to my affiliate link on

If spending money on a notebook seems to be a bit much for you, then there is an option to print out a wedding organizing binder for free.  Here are are a couple that I found to be helpful.

If you need additional help with planning your wedding, I have created a Wedding Planning Pinterest board to assist you with just about every area of your wedding.  I add to the board often so follow it, so you’re not missing out great tools to help plan your wedding.

File Jun 26, 5 59 53 AM
Pinterest Board

I really hope this helps.  Perhaps you still have a few questions?  Not a problem.  I am always available and willing to offer some free advice.  Send me a message on Facebook or comment below.  In the meantime, do you have any budgeting tips that you’d like to share or questions you’d like me to answer?

I am looking forward to hearing from you!  Until next time, have a great week!

For a free consult contact us at: or call us at (717)627-3050



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