wedding budget list

How to Create the Perfect Wedding Budget List

One of the most difficult things about a wedding is a budget. Most people don’t have tens of thousands of dollars, despite the fact that the average wedding in America is $26,444. The tricky part is making sure everything is included such as jewelry, photography, planners, venue, flowers, and everything else that goes into making your wedding beautiful. Here is how to build your perfect wedding budget list.

Think about the kind of wedding you want.

Everyone has a dream wedding, and it’s impossible to figure out the price when you don’t know specifics. Do you want to have the ceremony at a park or church? Do you want a summer or spring wedding? These are huge questions that impact the price of your wedding. Additionally, do you want a large wedding with hundreds of guests or a smaller one with only a few closer friends and family? Think about what you want your wedding to look like—the style, the people, and feel. When you’re done figuring out what you want, you’re ready to move onto the next phase of wedding budget lists.

Determine how much your dream wedding will cost.

Some couples have the ability to get money from relatives and friends to help cover the cost of the ceremony. Unfortunately, that isn’t in everyone’s wedding budget. How much money do you have to spend? Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. There’s no point trying to aim high if the savings is unrealistic. A true amount in this stage of planning is what will make the next steps easier and overall make planning simpler.

After you’ve determined the amount you have to spend, make a list of what you need to purchase. So many things go into weddings: hair, makeup, flowers, ceremony programs, food, alcohol, venue, gifts, entertainment, and so much more. If you’re looking for a full list of things to consider, you can find one at Cost of Wedding. At the bottom of the home page, you can find a list of everything that goes into your average wedding from attire to venue, catering, and rentals. Begin recording the price of each of these items. You may need to call and request quotes for venues, bands, and caterers.

Prioritize your wants and needs.

Now you have what you can spend and what you want to spend. If these numbers match up, or if you have more that you can spend versus what you want to spend, you’re golden. For most, you'll want more than you can spend. First, prioritize what you have to have, whether it’s the limo to your venue or the open bar. Once you’ve done this, you know what you absolutely cannot cut. You have a better view of what you can start cutting or compromising.

Maybe inviting hundreds of people with a low budget isn’t the best option. Instead of hiring both a live band and a DJ, you can choose one. It’s time to start cutting prices where you can. No one likes this part, but compromising is part of fitting your dream wedding into a smaller budget. If you need to, you can do this part on another sheet of paper or document so you still have your original prices on hand for later reference. Begin deducting what you can do without.

Re-evaluate at a later date.

Prices change, especially when it comes to the cost of live entertainment and other various things. Maybe you realized that you could create your own bouquets at half the price. Re-evaluating and estimating a second time can give you a better view of your perfect wedding budget.

Last Updated: May 17, 2016