Beginner's Guide to Wedding Budgets

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

Sticking to the wedding budget is one of the things that couples struggle with the most when planning their wedding. Once you’ve established how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your wedding, breaking this down by area will help you to keep on track and make sure you don’t overspend on certain things. Do your research on what your budget will allow so you can manage expectations. As a Wedding Planner, I work with my clients to do just that, alongside providing reminders so you never miss a payment to your vendors, you can find out more about my services here.

Break down your budget into sections

Looking at your total budget can seem overwhelming, breaking it down into smaller sections will help you to work through it easier. Allocate a percentage of your budget to each section, below I’ve included the sections I would recommend and a rough guide to how much you should assign to each. Adapt these to reflect your priorities, what is the most important element of your wedding? Increase the percentages to reflect this. Not interested in spending much on a certain element? Adjust the percentages down and spend it somewhere else – or save it. One important point to consider – leave money aside for incidentals. If something goes wrong at the last minute or you forget to factor in the cost of something like stamps for your wedding invites, you’ll be grateful you have this money spare.

Research vendors in your area

It’s important to initially do your research to get an idea on what prices each type of vendor may charge. It may surprise you! But don’t go for the first vendor and the first price you find on Google, there are a lot of great vendors out there so make sure you find one that will compliment your style and make your day as fun and stress-free as possible. There are numerous supplier directories online you can scroll through, such as Hitched and BrideBook. A Wedding Planner will have an arsenal of tried-and-tested vendors they trust, as part of my wedding planning service I provide each of my couples with a proposal for vendors that are tailored to their needs. A Wedding Planner will have well-established contacts with vendors and will be able to negotiate prices down on your behalf. Don’t be afraid to have a frank conversation about price, a lot of vendors will create a bespoke package for you based on your exact wants and needs.

Keep track of your budget

Whether you use Excel or prefer to write everything down on paper, keep a record of where Whether you prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet or want to write everything down on paper, keep a record of where you are with your budget as you go – What have you spent so far? Do you need to adjust any of your planned numbers to account for any areas where you are over/under budget? Being organised and keeping a clear and concise record will save you a lot of time and stress further down the line. It also creates a checklist of where you are with booking parts of your wedding and will help you to keep track of payments to your vendors.

Be strict with your guest list

The size of your guest list has the single biggest impact on your budget – around 80% of your budget will be dictated by the number of people you invite. Think about it – the size of your venue, the food and drinks to be ordered, the number of tables required and consequently the rentals, favours and decorations needed, the save-the-dates and invitations are all determined by how many guests you’re inviting. If you need advice on how to reduce your guest list, I recently wrote a blog post on how to reduce your guest list and whether you should give your guests a plus one or not. Work out your ‘per head’ number by dividing the cost by the number of people so you can see exactly what impact adding or cutting guests will have to your wedding. For example, if your catering is costing £9,000 for 150 people, that’s £60 per head, if you were to invite an additional 5 people that’s an extra £300 just on catering alone.

Ask for help from friends and family

Don’t underestimate how much help your friends and family can give you; don’t be scared to ask. You may know someone who’s a creative genius who can help you design and make you personalised invitations or an excellent cake maker who can save you a small fortune by baking your wedding cake. The people who love you want to be involved in your wedding and will often be happy to help, just make sure to strike a balance between asking for help and becoming a bridezilla, listen to your friends and family about how much of their time they can give you.

If you're looking for any further wedding advice or tips, please visit or contact me at for more.

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Based in Somerset, UK and covering the rest of the South West, Leah Olivia Weddings provides wedding planning services to modern couples.

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