Thursday Hitched Tip :: How much to budget in each category

The less fabulous part of planning. Numbers, budget, spreadsheets. It makes my life flow beautifully, but isn’t the fun part that brides dream about. In order to keep your sights on gorgeous blooms and fancy lighting options, I will break it down for you in a more realistic approach.

Also, for our full and partial service brides, you have access to our online planning portal that has my most favorite budget of all time.

The budget number will come from a few different avenues and is important that you keep those lines of communication open! What they want to contribute to, i.e., flowers, reception, alcohol, I don’t care. It is also important to figure out how they want to pay. Cut you the check or pay the vendor directly.

The second most important number is the guest count. A $60,000 wedding looks very different with 100 people vs. 400 people. I should know…we had 380 guests attend our wedding. First, figure out budget, then get that guest count and see if you are still in the realm of what you were planning.

Then comes the break down of each area. We don’t use this as an absolute number, because everything can fluctuate. Your mom may have an “in” with a baker, so you only use 1% instead of 2% of the budget. It is still important to have an idea when sitting down with each vendor to realistically see what you can afford. They say don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach. Don’t sit down with a vendor with a blank budget sheet! It is also important to know that you cannot use the higher percentage in each category, or you will be over by 10%.

Sample Budget
Budget: 60,000
150 people
Rings- 2% : $1,200
I put this fist for a reason. You need something to seal the deal. A lot of people forget this part all together or to add in the big numbers. It is a little more important than the rest because you will wear this for the rest of your life. The wedding part is only the day. Choose wisely and budget appropriately!
Emergency Fund- 5%: $3,000
This is what you will more than likely use 2-4 weeks before your big day. Trust me…leave a few dollars for those last minute issues that WILL arise.
Wedding Planner- 5-10%: $3,000-$6,000
If you are looking for just a day of coordinator, 5% is more realistic. Looking for someone to take over every step…it’s going to be 10-15%. Ask my previous brides, we end up paying for ourselves with all of the money we will save!
Photography- 10%: $6,000
Wonder why all of the pretty photographers are so expensive…there is a reason!! Because they are THAT good. To trust the best, you have to pay for the best. It’s called an investment, my friends.
Reception Fee- 15-18%: $9,000-10,800:
Includes the site and any other fees the site requires. Additional hours, parking, etc.
Music- 8-10%: $4,800-$6,000
Depending if you want a band or DJ, that number will fluctuate. Bands are more than double a DJ, but can really bring the house down with the right crowd! This also includes music for cocktail hour and ceremony.
Florals- 8-10%: $4,800-$6,000
This is for everything. Ceremony. Reception. Bride, groom, bridal party. Every. Single. Stem.
Food- 18-20%: $10,800-$12,000
This is the all inclusive price. Catering rentals, food, apps, trash, tax, gratuity,
Stationary- 2-3%:$1,200-$1,800
This includes ALL paper. Invites, menus, escort cards, place cards (2 different things), programs.
Bar- 6-8%: $3,600-$4,800
Welcome cocktails, cocktail hour, dinner. Water, tea, coffee. Add it all to this list!
Ceremony- 2%:$1,200
This includes your marriage certificate, the officiant fee, ceremony site and all ceremony decor!
Dessert- 1-2%:$600-$1,200
This number is dropping every year! People just are not as much into desserts as they used to be. Remember that! Put those funds somewhere else if you are not dessert people!
Beauty- 2%:$1,200
This is VERY important. Invest in your beauty team! Also, this only includes YOU. NOT your bridal party. They will pay for their own hair and make up.
Rentals- 3-5%:$1,800-$3,000
This will include your rentals for cocktail hour and reception. The ceremony is in it’s own budget!
Transportation- 2%:$1,200
This also includes gratuity for the driver. Don’t forget that important part!
Favors/gifts- 2%:$1,200
Gifts for your bridal party and your guests