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A Wedding Budget Plan


As you begin the task of planning your wedding budget, be sure to give some thought as to how much of your total budget will go to the venue, the flowers, the entertainment, and all of the other components that make up your very special day.


Once you have your budget set, it's time to start allocating it. But exactly how much are you supposed to apply to each item? Certainly it depends on which aspects of your wedding are most important to you. I want to offer you a starting point. So, here's an example of how a wedding budget may be allocated...


Wedding Planner

If you intend to hire a wedding planner, you'll also want to subtract that cost from your total budget before you break it down into other categories.

Approximate cost: 10 to 15 percent



This includes the site rental, catering, bar, cake (and cutting fee), rentals, and taxes and service fees. Even if you're having a home-cooked backyard brunch, chances are that the cost of buying ingredients, renting chairs (and possibly a tent) and hiring servers will eat up about half your budget. And by the way, don't forget about taxes and tips. Though your tax bill will depend on the total amount of money spent, as well as on the location of the event (taxes vary from city to city), it's a good bet to set aside a third of your total reception bill for both taxes and tips.

Approximate cost: 50 percent



Set aside cash for photography and videography (shooting fees, as well as the actual end product of prints, albums or edited video), plus any other elements you decide to include, such as an engagement shoot.

Approximate cost: 10 to 15 percent



Your wedding dress and formal wear fall into this category. This includes your dress (including alterations), headpiece/veil, hair and makeup, shoes, lingerie and other accessories, plus the groom's attire.

Approximate cost: 10 percent


Flowers and Event Design

Any floral arrangements (the bride's bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnières, corsages, and ceremony and reception arrangements), plus additional design components like lighting, specialty rentals (such as linens and chair covers) and decorations like signage and votives, fall within this budget.

Approximate cost: 10 percent


Music and Entertainment

This includes both the ceremony music (vocalists, string quartet, organist) and the reception music (DJ/MC or band), as well as any additional entertainment or music you will include in your wedding such as dancers, a photo booth or slide show montage.

Approximate cost: 10 percent


Ceremony and Officiant

Don't forget to budget for your ceremony: the ceremony location and officiant fees or a donation, programs and accessories (like an aisle runner or ring pillow), marriage license costs and wedding rings.

Approximate cost: 5 percent


Invitations and Guest Details

This final category tends to be where wedding budgets vary the most, but reserve some budget for the smaller details, including all stationery elements, transportation and accommodations, gifts and any extras like attendants' gifts, welcome bags and favors.

Approximate cost: 5 percent


Extra Expenses and Forgotten Fees

There will always be extra costs that pop up in planning an event of this size, no matter how carefully you track your budget. Cover yourselves by allotting a cushion for unexpected expenses that come up along the way (and believe us, they will).

Approximate cost: 5 to 10 percent

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