Setting a Wedding Budget | How-To Guide

Setting a wedding budget is one of the most important steps in wedding planning. It is not one of the most exciting parts, but it is crucial to have a clear and realistic budget in place before you take a deep dive into the wedding planning world.

While budgeting is so important, it can also be extremely overwhelming! How do you go about budgeting for the biggest (and most expensive) party you will ever throw? You want to have everything you have ever dreamed of, but no one should go into debt for a wedding. Keep reading for our foolproof tips to help you set a wedding budget. 

pc Haley Terrell Photography

pc Haley Terrell Photography


  1. Set the budget FIRST: Before going on venue tours or making an appointment at a bridal shop, it is so imperative that you set your budget! This can help save you from the heartbreak of falling in love with vendors that you ultimately cannot afford.

  2. Determine WHO is paying: It may be the most awkward part of your whole planning journey, but you have to ask who is contributing money towards the wedding if you are not 100% sure. According to tradition, the brides parents foot the wedding bill, but that is not always the case anymore. Parents of the groom, grandparents of the couple, and even the happy couple themselves often pay part (or all) of their wedding expenses. As a couple you cannot assume that the bride’s parents will be paying. So schedule that coffee or dinner date with your parents (or anyone else who may be contributing towards the wedding fund) and ask them if they are going to be contributing!

  3. Determine how MUCH: Just knowing who will be helping is not enough, you have to know exactly how much they will be putting towards the wedding. This way you can plan to budget everything you need for your day in that amount, or fill in the remaining costs on your own.

  4. Determine HOW things will be paid: Once your parents or grandparents have offered to pay for a portion of your day you need to determine how they will pay. Are they giving you a check or cash up front? Are they paying vendors directly? Do they want to use a credit card? Making sure everyone is on the same page can help to avoid some awkward moments when vendors are ready to be paid and you have to call and ask for the money they promised.

  5. Pick your top three priorities: After you have determined your budget, pick the top three vendors (or other items) that matter most to you and your day. Maybe you want a killer band or the perfect photographer. Choose the top three priorities and figure out how much you will need to spend on them so you know the money you need is allocated to those top choices. After that, determine how much you have to spend on the rest of the necessities.

  6. Be realistic: When planning your dream wedding day this is not what you want to hear, but it is necessary to keep it real! Spending half of your total budget on a famous DJ or designer dress is not going to work out well once you start searching for your other necessities. You don’t want to have a killer wedding video but have to serve your guests pizza. Being realistic with yourself is necessary to make sure your day comes together.

pc Taken By Tate

pc Taken By Tate

Setting a wedding budget may be boring and awkward to think about, but we promise it will help make the rest of your wedding planning so much smoother. By getting the budget set first, you are allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy wedding planning and eliminate unnecessary stress.

Want more wedding planning help? Check out our latest post about five wedding tips you need to know before your big day!

Do you have any other wedding budgets tips that have helped you while planning your wedding? Leave them below and help out your fellow wedding planning couples!