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10 Budgeting Tips for Wedding Planning

couple planning their wedding

Are you searching for budgeting tips for wedding planning? You’re not alone. It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive. Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially when it comes to thinking about finances. Fortunately, creating a budget ahead of time can help you save more and avoid common financial pitfalls, like overusing lines of credit and excessive spending.

In this article, we’ll cover the ten top budgeting tips for wedding planning to help you reduce your wedding costs and get your marital finances started on a positive note.

What Is a Realistic Budget for a Wedding?

In 2021, the average wedding in the United States cost $28,000. Thus, a realistic budget for you and your partner may be near that number. That said, there are plenty of ways to reduce the cost of a wedding, especially if you’re flexible and willing to cut unnecessary services and features.

What Is Considered a Low-Budget Wedding?

A low-budget wedding is anything below the national average for weddings ($28,000). Several factors will contribute to the overall cost of your wedding, including:

  • The venue you choose
  • Optional services, such as catering or a live band
  • How many guests you invite
  • Wedding attire costs

What Is the Most Expensive Part of a Wedding?

When creating a budget for a wedding, it’s important to understand where you’ll be spending the bulk of your wedding funds. Generally, your reception and wedding venue will be your biggest ticket items. After the venue, the most expensive wedding services include live entertainment, photography, and catering services.

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The Top 10 Budgeting Tips for Wedding Planning

Want to save more money on your big day? Spend less with these ten budgeting tips for wedding planning!

1. Create a Wedding Budget

The first step in budgeting for wedding planning should be to create your budget. How much money do you expect to spend on the wedding in total? Where are your finances coming from? Will you and your fiancé be saving for the wedding yourself? Will a family member be contributing? How much money can you save from your current income to cover the wedding expenses?
These are all questions you should ask yourself to determine how much you have to spend on a wedding and how long it will take you to reach your desired budget amount. Then, start saving up as early as possible to prevent delays, and give yourself an extra financial buffer in case must-haves are more expensive than you’d anticipated.

2. Keep Track of Your Spending

Once you know your wedding budget, you must track your spending. Tracking your spending along the way and setting aside money for expenses from greatest to least important will prevent overspending and help you stay on track to your savings goal. When paying for venues and services, set aside money for gratuity, or note if it’s already included in the service price. For example, some caterers automatically include gratuity estimates in their service fees.

woman breaking her bank3. Prepare for the Unexpected

One reason the final cost of the wedding may exceed your initial estimate is unexpected expenses. For example, vendors may tack on additional fees for add-on services, such as:

  • Transportation for out-of-area vendors
  • Setup and breakdown fees
  • Signature drinks or custom cocktails
  • Digital photography vs. printed photos, or photo editing services
  • Event coordinator services
  • Permits
  • Parking and transportation fees
  • Overtime expenses
  • Wedding attire alterations

When working with a vendor, venue, or service provider, always get a detailed list of their fees upfront and ask about any add-ons that are not included in the price provided. Doing so will help you avoid surprises later.

4. Get Married During the Off-Season

Did you know that wedding venues and services have off-seasons? It’s common practice for wedding-related expenses to be higher during peak wedding season—typically during the summer and fall. So if you’re searching for budgeting tips for wedding planning and would like to spend less on your big day, consider getting married between November and April.

5. Hold Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue

Your wedding venue will likely require the bulk of your wedding budget. However, some venues offer discounts if you host your reception and ceremony at the same location. You’ll also spend less on decorations, furnishing, and equipment because you’ll only need a singular space versus two separate ones.
If you’re looking for variety, many wedding venues can have an outdoor wedding and indoor reception or two separate locations within the same venue (for example, a chapel for the ceremony and a banquet hall for the reception). This will give you the illusion of two separate venues without the additional cost.

6. Forgo Anything That’s Not Important to You

At the beginning of the wedding planning process, sit down with your future spouse and list what’s important to you and what isn’t. If you’re not in love with a particular service, save money by cutting it.

Some examples of common extra services you could forgo include:

  • Open bars
  • Live entertainment, including a DJ or live band
  • Three-tiered cakes
  • Wedding favors
  • Professional photography services
  • Catering

If something is important to you and your spouse, however, include it. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how the decision might impact you years from now. Will you look back on your big day and wish you were holding a bouquet of fresh flowers? If so, keep them. You’ll find other items in the budget to cut instead.

7. Be Choosy with Your Guest List

The larger your guest list, the most expensive your wedding will be. Most venues, caterers, and wedding-related services ask how many guests will attend your wedding and charge you accordingly, even if a guest doesn’t show. Therefore, one of the best ways to save money on a wedding is to keep things small and shrink the guest list as much as possible.

8. DIY Wherever Possible

It’s not uncommon for wedding services to nickel and dime you for everything, including décor, invitations, wedding favors, and more. You can save a lot of money by DIY-ing some of these tasks instead. While being crafty can help, you don’t need to hand-weave your own flower girl basket to save money if art projects aren’t your forte.

A few simple DIY projects might include:

  • Creating and mailing out your own wedding invitations—It’s common for wedding planners and venues to charge extra for this service. You can use software online to create your own for free.
  • Work with florists directly—Cut out the middleman and partner with a florist directly. This can save a lot, especially when you buy in bulk.
  • Find your own live entertainment and catering service—Some venues won’t allow you to use other caterers, but if they do, you may find a cheaper option by calling around.

9. “Shop Around” for Deals and Discounts

If you’re searching for easy ways to save money on a wedding, start by “shopping around” for deals. Weddings are not one-size-fits-all, and every venue, caterer, photographer, wedding planner, etc., will have their own pricing. Consider multiple venues and service providers before settling to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

10. Make the Food Yourself

Catering services can be expensive, especially with a larger guest list. One simple way to save more on your wedding day is by cooking the food for your reception. Of course, this may not be easy if you plan on having dozens of guests in attendance. If you choose to make the food yourself, ask your friends and family if they’d be willing to help. Or, host a potluck at your wedding rather than catering or cooking everything yourself.

Power Finance Texas Can Help

Our budgeting tips for wedding planning can help you save tremendously on your big day, but what should you do if you’re still coming up short? If you need extra cash, Power Finance Texas can help.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, having a baby, or seeking emergency funds, we offer installment and personal loan solutions to help you get the finances you need fast.

Learn more about our loans and services today!