Wedding Budget

The Basics of Creating a Wedding Budget

The moment you announce that you’re engaged, everyone you know (and their uncle, and their mother) will have opinions for you on what you should do. Before getting inundated with those, take some time alone; sit down with your future spouse and talk about what you envision your wedding being. Set clear expectations about who will be involved with making decisions and who will handle which tasks in the planning process. Here is a brief checklist you should be able to fill out before looking at dollar amounts:

What kind of event do you imagine your wedding to be?

  • Formal
  • Relaxed
  • Intimate
  • Large
  • Festive
  • Casual
  • Traditional
  • Elegant
  • Non-traditional
  • Themed
  • Ethnic
  • Religious

How many people would you like to invite?

  • Less than 50
  • 51 to 100
  • 101 to 200
  • More than 200

What time of year or season would you like to have your wedding in?

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Specific Month _________________________________

Don’t even worry about things like what colors you imagine the backdrop being and what the centerpieces should look like until you’ve got some parameters set. After you’ve filled out this checklist, the next thing you need to do is find out who is contributing.

  • What are the two of you able to contribute toward the wedding?
  • Are either of your parents (as a set or individually, depending on their marital status) able to contribute toward the overall budget? If yes, in what way: as a specific amount or by paying for a particular element of the wedding?
  • Is there anyone else who is planning to contribute or is able to contribute?

You should, at this time, have a solid idea of what your wedding budget amount is, and what you’re looking at spending it on. These are the absolute foundations for a wedding budget!

A Basic Bride-To-Be Checklist

Wedding ChecklistWith so many things to keep straight while planning a wedding, the most common method that brides use is a checklist. Having all of the tasks that you need to accomplish on a nice organized sheet can be very helpful and you can simply cross each item off as it is done. The length of this checklist will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the wedding, where the wedding is being held, and whether or not you have hired a wedding planner to handle some of the details. Here are a few of the most basic things that should be included on a bride’s checklist when they are starting to plan their wedding.

Guest List

The very first thing you’ll want to do as a bride is determine the size of your guest list. Most of your wedding will revolve around how many guests you’re inviting including the amount of food you need to supply and the size of the venue for the event. If you are in a big hurry and need to start looking at venues right away, your best bet is to figure out what the absolute largest number of guests you could imagine inviting and work from there. Having less guests come to your wedding is easier to manage than having too many.

Arrange the Venue

The next thing on your checklist should be arranging your venues. This not only includes choosing a venue where you’ll be holding the wedding ceremony, but also choosing a venue for the reception. Since you already know how many guests you’ll be inviting, you can start looking in your area for venues that are large enough to accommodate your needs. If money is an issue, you can always consider getting a single venue for both the ceremony and reception; but most brides prefer to have separate venues for each part of the wedding.

Food and Drink

Next, you’ll need to have the food and drink that you’ll be serving your guests on the checklist. Most brides choose to serve dinner to all of their wedding guests followed by a piece of wedding cake a little later in the evening. Additionally, it is customary to have a bar that serves drinks to your guests that are old enough to indulge. Often times a bride will choose to offer free drinks for all of their guests, but it’s not uncommon to have what’s known as a “cash bar” where the wedding guests pay for their drinks themselves.


Lastly, you’ll need to make sure that you have transportation arranged between the church or ceremony site and the reception venue. Most commonly, the bride will plan for transportation for the wedding party and give clear instructions to the other guests of how to drive themselves to the wedding reception. However, it is also popular to have transportation arranged for everyone depending on the size of your guest list, but this is only if your budget allows for that type of expense.

After you’ve crossed all of these important things off of your checklist, you can focus on the elements of the wedding that are more fun and focus on you as a bride. This includes picking out your wedding dress, flowers, and other items that will make your wedding distinctly yours. However, smart brides get the main items crossed off their checklist first so they don’t need to deal with distractions while planning the details of their special day.