Breaking down your wedding budget percentages can be one of the most difficult yet important tasks in wedding planning. Since creating this careful plan will eventually affect all of your other decisions – it’s important that you choose this figure correctly.
Just keep in mind that this is the average breakdown of the wedding cost and percentage of the wedding budget. How you make your own wedding budget breakdown is entirely up to you (along with whoever pays for the wedding).
Depending on your preferences and personality, you can spend more or less money in certain areas. Also, be aware that the breakdown of your wedding cost and wedding budget percentages may vary based on your wedding location, the size of your guest list, and other factors.
So, if your wedding is around the corner and you are planning for it or helping a friend or client plan a wedding, sit back and carefully go through this article to find out the Wedding Budget Percentages and How to make Allocations to maximize your money.
Is Wedding Planning Expensive?
As of 2019, the average wedding cost was just over $29,000, but for many people – especially in large cities – that number could barely cover the cost of catering.
Whether you need to spend $100,000, $10,000, or $1,000, here’s how to properly budget your wedding.
Expensive and stressful maybe two things that come to mind when you think about planning your wedding budget, but they don’t have to be
We also break down exactly how much each wedding item costs in general so you can determine how much needs to be allocated for each item and service. Once you have an idea of how to properly divide the funds, you can avoid potential budgeting mistakes.
What Do I Need to Know Before Preparing the Wedding Budget?
How much should you spend on your wedding? And how much of that should be spent on food, flowers, the wedding venue, and the myriad of other expenses that crop up?
While there isn’t a single budget, there are some helpful guidelines to follow when getting your calculator out. Here’s an introduction to planning your wedding budget.
1. Determine who will contribute to the wedding.
First, decide who will pay for the wedding. The old tradition that the bride’s parents should cover the entire bill is no longer a wedding canon.
Both families often get involved, and the bride and groom often help out too. Ask everyone involved how much they can contribute and you will get your bottom line.
2. Set a wedding budget before you start shopping
Avoid the usual risk of falling in love with an expensive venue, dream dress, and over-the-top cake before talking about numbers. Start on a budget, then explore providers within your price range, not the other way around.
However, if you find that your budget and wedding plans are completely misaligned – your parents insist they need to invite dozens of their friends but only want to make a small contribution – it is time to discuss the reality, to what extent if this is the case money will go and adjust either budget or expectations accordingly.
3. Categorize your wedding budget by percentage
Now that you know what you are working with, it’s time to take a macro look at how this affects each part of your wedding.
While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about how much you should spend on each category, there are some loose guidelines that can help you get off course.
However, when arranging and rearranging your wedding budget, a good rule of thumb is not to spend more than 40% of the total budget on the venue, food, and alcohol combined. While these are typically the most expensive line items, they shouldn’t be over budget.
Even the little things seriously add up – which is one reason why it is advisable to run an “other” fund, which accounts for around 5% of the total budget.
Here are some common things brides may not consider ahead of time: beauty treatments, bachelorette parties, marriage license, hotel room the night before, welcome bags, meals for salespeople (yes, you have to feed your waiters, planner, etc.), and overtime expenses.
Tips are a large, often forgotten, expense that needs to be considered in advance in each category. While many tips are included in supplier contracts, some aren’t.
5. Stay organized and keep track of your wedding expenses
Do yourself a favor and instantly create a Google Doc spreadsheet to keep track of your wedding budget. First, split your estimated costs for each category to provide a template when you contact vendors.
Every time you sign a contract or send a payment, write down the actual cost so you always know how close you are to your bottom line.
Share the document with your fiancé and consider sharing it with family members who will help with payment for the wedding if that will help streamline the process for you.
6. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with wedding vendors
Everything is negotiable. Many providers are ready to work with you to customize a package that fits your budget. Let’s say you’ve fell head over heels for a florist, but their minimum package is above your flower budget.
Be open and honest and let them know how much you love their designs but can only work with a certain amount. If you have a good attitude and are flexible, you can probably work something out with any provider. The offer to pay in full and in advance doesn’t hurt either.
Wedding Budget Percentages
Below are the wedding budget percentages to allocate to each important item, in other to minimize wastage and maximize your available cash while planning a wedding
#1. Venue, Catering, Cake and Rental: 50%
You will find that most of your wedding budget is covered by your venue and your meal expenses.
First of all, you need to make sure that you find a venue that is comfortable for all of your guests and has location options for different weather scenarios.
You’ll also want to find a venue that suits your style – be it a rustic barn, a hotel ballroom (bonus points if they offer space blocks for weddings), Or a modern industrial space.
When it comes to catering, it’s clear that your guests expect delicious (and abundant) food. Remember, however, that your catering bill isn’t just about the actual food – you pay for prep, equipment, staff, and more. If your caterer also manages the bar, the liquor and bartenders are part of that bill too.
Your wedding cake and any additional desserts also make up a part of this percentage of the wedding budget. From glamorous multi-level fondant confections to rustic bare cakes, there are many different types of cakes to choose from – the more elaborate and larger the cake, the more expensive.
#2. Photography and videography: 12%
It is the job of your wedding photographer and videographer to capture your wedding day moments in still or moving images to keep them for a lifetime. This is why these professionals should make up a good part of your wedding cost breakdown.
Pick a photographer or videographer who’s job you obviously love, but also people you really like and like to be around (you’ll be spending a lot of time with these professionals on your wedding day).
Also, remember that you are not only paying for the final products (photos and/or videos), but also your photographer and videographer’s time at your event, turnaround time, equipment, and much more – hence the sizable percentage of the wedding budget.
#3. Wedding Attire, Hair, and Beauty: 9 percent of the total wedding budget
You want to look good on your wedding day – and between your clothes, your hair, and your makeup, it can really add up.
Fortunately, there are many wedding dresses and tuxedos to choose from at different prices. However, make sure you know your budget well in advance when you start shopping.
And don’t forget to include changes in your wedding budget breakdown. Fitting your clothes can be expensive, but it’s necessary to make sure your dress or tuxedo fits like a glove.
For hair and makeup, it is a good idea to hire professionals to do the job. They know how to highlight your best features and guarantee that you will look amazing for your entire wedding day – and in photos too.
#4. Flowers, Lighting, and Decorations: 8%
This category is all about making sure your wedding looks beautiful with stunning flowers, lighting, and decor. Proper lighting, flowers, and decorations can really transform any space.
And when it comes to flowers, keep in mind that you are not only paying for the actual blooms, but also the work involved in processing the flowers, labor and productions, deliveries, delivery, breakdown, and more.
#5. Reception music: 7%
Music is an important part of a wedding reception. So, it’s important to hire a professional to coordinate the music to keep it running smoothly.
Whether you choose a band or a DJ for your reception is entirely up to you. However, there are different costs associated with live music than with a DJ.
Hence, it is important that you do your research before booking and consider the breakdown of your wedding budget.
#6. Wedding planner: 3%
There are many benefits to hiring a wedding planner – perhaps the greatest is that they can actually help you save money.
Using their knowledge and connections in the industry, a wedding planner will ensure that you stay within your wedding budget and on schedule and that your planning experience remains as stress-free as possible.
#7. Invitations and stationery: 3%
Printed products play a major role both before your wedding (save-the-dates, invitations, etc.) and on the day (ceremony programs, table numbers, accompanying cards, menu cards, etc.).
There are numerous options for wedding invitations and stationery. So be sure to choose paper products that suit your style and wedding budget.
Pro Tip: Include postage in your wedding budget breakdown. Depending on the shape and size of your invitations, you can pay an additional dollar per invitation in postage.
#8. Officiant and Ceremony Music: 2%
Officiant and Ceremony Music offers one of the best Wedding Budget Percentages. They are the people responsible for ensuring that your ceremony goes perfectly – and of course, your public officiant is the person who will legally join you and your partner in marriage.
Preparing for a wedding requires a lot of preparatory work. So be sure to read what the cost of a wedding official actually includes.
#9. Transportation: 2%
Renting transportation or limo services for your wedding ensures that everyone gets where they need to be safely and on time – yes, it’s an extra expense that goes into the breakdown of your wedding budget, but it’s definitely worth it.
You can choose to have transportation for yourself, your partner, family members, and the wedding reception, or you can provide transportation for all of your guests. This is a nice touch, especially if you have a lot of outside rookies who are unfamiliar with your wedding venue.
#10. Wedding Rings: 2%
Don’t forget these in your wedding budget percentages. The wedding rings are an ancient symbol of marriage and an important part of the wedding ceremony.
You and your future spouse’s wedding rings should suit your personality and style – and luckily, there are plenty of choices.
#11. Favors and gifts: 2%
Providing favors for your guests, whether they’re edible or as a keepsake – and don’t forget to buy gifts for your wedding reception and family members is a nice touch.
These favors and gifts are a lovely way to say thank you to those who helped you prepare for your big day and those who travelled to attend the celebration.
It may be the least glamorous aspect of wedding planning, but setting a budget – and sticking to it – is one of the best gifts you can get yourself as a couple.
If you can, delegate some of these less important tasks to your bridal party and close family who are willing to help.
Don’t forget that while wedding planning can be stressful, you are in a very special season of your life that cannot be compared to any other. Getting involved and planning your future with whoever you want to be with forever is such a blessing.
When the stress of wedding planning and budgeting becomes too much, put your planning to-do list aside, take a deep breath, and spend some time with your fiancé. Be grateful for your future with those you love.
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