How to Determine the Budget for Your Wedding

It's one of the first things you should do when planning.

Before making any decisions about the big day, it’s important to determine how much money you are willing to spend on the occasion.

Photo: Michael Segal Photography

Once the excitement of your recent engagement starts to wear off, reality sinks in: how are you going to pay for this wedding? No matter how much money you or your family has, and no matter how big of a celebration you want, there will likely be at least a rough idea of how much you want to spend. Even the rich and famous have their limits! Before making any decisions about the big day, it’s important to determine how much money you are working with. 

how to figure out your wedding budget

Photo by Switzerfilm

While many couples may feel uncomfortable outright asking their parents for money, this can greatly affect how much there is to work with. Give your parents a chance to offer on their own, and then gently open the door to ask if they were planning to contribute. Make sure it’s a pressure-free environment where they feel they can say no. While this may go without saying, if you know your parents are struggling financially, do not even bring up the issue, as it should not be their priority. Once you know how much, if any, you are getting from your parents, it’s time to look at your own savings. Do you already have enough in an emergency savings account? Are you debt-free? This will open up how much you’re able to spend. 

You’ll then need to determine a rough idea of your guest list. While it’s virtually impossible to have a precise list of attendees so far in advance, this will help figure out how far your dollar can go. It’s then a good idea to research costs in your region, as that can vary. Talking to your future spouse about your priorities for the wedding will also help you figure out how much to spend on each aspect of the day. There are many budget guidelines out there, but they can be adjusted based on what’s the most important to you. For example, maybe you’d rather have large quantities of elaborate florals than a unique venue, or more inexpensive comfort food instead of a gourmet meal. 

For more tips, find out what's worth splurging on for your wedding and read budget tips from Suze Orman.