Wedding Budget – The Breakdown

Being on a budget of any kind is tough. Don’t let anyone fool you – EVERYONE is on a budget and whether it is smaller or larger in dollar value, there is an amount that everyone must stay within. The budget for your wedding is no different, it is just a little trickier.

Decide on the total dollar value you are able to spend on your wedding, and divide the finances as follows, using your preferred wedding budget template. Using a template or specific program is a must – and there are dozens available on the internet!

Remember that taxes and tips are included in the total amount:

40 Percent – Estimate to spend 40 percent of a budget on the reception venue. This includes food, beverages, staffing, taxes and tip. 

10 Percent – Ambiance. Flowers, lighting, decorations will add up quickly.

10 Percent – Music for reception; band, DJ or both.

10 Percent – Photography for the entire event. If you plan a photobooth, include it in this category.

10 Percent – Attire. Brides entire ensemble (headpiece, veil accessories, shoes), groom’s entire ensemble – head to toe.

3 Percent – Favors and gifts for guests, including all attendants’ gifts.

3 Percent – Ceremony. This includes marriage license, ceremony flowers, officiant fee,  musicians (different from reception music). This is it’s own category!

3 Percent – Invitations, save-the-date cards, table markers, guest book, place cards, gift card holder, pen that guests will use to sign the guest book, programs… are all included in this category.

3 Percent – Sweets. Cake, sweet table, individual cakes or desserts.

1 Percent – Transportation costs, bus, limousine, however you plan to get your party from point A to point B (here’s to find out more).

The last 7 percent is for ICE. No, not frozen water… In Case of Emergency. Use this money if something suddenly happens and the cost of one of your categories increases. You fell in love with  gown slightly out of your price range, there is an unexpected surcharge or corkage fee or cutting fee. Having an emergency fund  will save you a lot of aggravation.

It is important to remember that every couple’s budget may vary depending on their vendor preferences and that each couple may have different priorities when it comes to their wedding. You can set yours accordingly, borrowing a percent from one category to make up in an other.

However, there is only 100% so, make sure your figures add up!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

How to Spend your Wedding Budget article photo



Wedding Expenses – Who Pays For What?

Many years ago it was completely understood that the bride’s family paid for the wedding. The groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon and everything else was up to the parents of the bride. Of course times change. Today’s couples are not only slightly older but, have usually lived alone or out of their parents home for an extended period of time. Nowadays, aside from how much you are going to spend on your wedding, the next biggest concern regarding your budget is who pays for what.

Before you start making the guest list, have an open honest conversation with all parents at the same time. Ask how much they are able or willing to contribute and then you can move on to figuring out how much you are able or willing to spend, keeping in mind that the average U.S. wedding cost hovers around $30,000.  Having an honest conversation will determine everything from where you have the wedding to what you will wear and avoid any unpleasantness related to the cost of the wedding.

In most cases, everybody has already had the discussion about finances leading up to the moment when the engagement ring arrives and they know full well how much they are going to contribute. In rare cases, nobody has any clue about their responsibilities. In order to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, here is a slightly modified traditional checklist of ‘who pays for what’ and remember these are NOT rules, just guidelines.

Bride & Family:

  • Invitations, announcements, programs, Thank You notes, place cards, guest book and accessories.
  • Church or synagogue, musicians, organist,
  • Bridal Gown, veil, shoes, accessories and trousseau.
  • Flower arrangements for Church, Reception, Bridesmaid Bouquets and Huppah ( for Jewish ceremonies)
  • All professional services, including food, drink, decorations, and music.
  • Engagement Party and all related expenses.
  • All Photography and video.
  • Groom’s ring.
  • Wedding transportation to and from ceremony and reception.

Groom & Family:

  • Marriage License and officiant fees.
  • Groom’s outfit
  • Bride’s bouquet and going-away corsage, boutonnieres for men, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers.
  • Complete honeymoon.
  • Rehearsal dinner.
  • Bride’s ring.

Of course this is merely a guideline and anyone who is willing to help is encouraged to do so. The absolute best scenarios are when everyone works together and shares the expenses equally.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago