Building My Wedding Budget


The budget leads the way throughout your wedding planning process.


You’re engaged!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now what? What do you do first? Find a dress, choose a wedding date, find a venue, have an engagement party? Nope! First things, first. Although it isn’t the most glamorous or fun part of your engagement time, it is very important to deal with building your budget first and foremost. In my experience as a certified wedding planner who has planned all types of weddings whether intimate in size of very large in size, whether close to home or destination weddings abroad, whether you are paying for it as a couple or your family is assisting…. You need to build your budget first and I am here to help you build your budget as quickly and painlessly as possible.


To begin, think of all the income sources that will be contributing to your wedding. (Yourself, your parents, your partner’s parents, or any others that you know will be offering to help pay.) Add up the amount of money you believe you will have available to budget with. Then remember to only use 85% of that number in your wedding budget. The additional 15% will get added back on when miscellaneous items arise and when it is time to tip your vendors. You may want to use this free Tipping Guide to help you more accurately calculate your tips.


Secondly, using 85% of your total budget you will then decide what percentage will be spent in each wedding cost category. An experienced wedding planner will inform you of the general percentages to use as a starting point. After the general percentages are filled in, you will look at the amount that leaves for spending in each category. Now, the fun begins. It is normal for you and your soon to be spouse to not see eye-to-eye on what should hold top priority. For example, it is very typical for brides to want more money spent on florals. Grooms may want more money spent on bartending than the general percentage amount shown. Your certified wedding planner is well trained in ways to save money in each category on your list. Lean on him/her for this valuable information.


No two weddings are the same. Neither are the budgets. An outdoor wedding ceremony will need some budget categories that an indoor ceremony will not. A destination wedding is planned in a very different way than a local wedding; therefore, it also has a bit of a different list of categories. For this reason, the general percentages per category would be customized to fit your unique wedding needs.


Did you know that often, wedding planners save couples a tremendous amount of money in several ways? They know which areas you can take a short cut in and which you cannot if you are to have a smooth and beautiful wedding day. Wedding planners also, have built excellent working relationships with a variety of vendors and know how to obtain special discounts for you. A certified wedding planner reads over your contracts before you sign with your vendors to be sure that wedding industry standards are being followed. Sometimes, contracts are revised to save the couple money through the careful diligence of the wedding planner. The fact that the wedding planner knows each of your contracts inside and out also saves you money when it comes time to implement the contract on the day of the wedding. They know exactly what will allow you to get your full security deposit back and oversee all the vendors who are setting up so that they do not violate your contract with the vendor.


Your budget is running the show, whether you are aware of it or not. You can meet and greet your budget from the beginning, knowing ahead of time how much to spend in each category, and walk into all your vendor meetings with confidence knowing exactly where you stand. Or you can ignore your budget, and have it become the unwelcome wedding crasher at each of your vendor meetings.


Some couples jump right into planning the part of their wedding that they like most only to later find out that their funds will soon run out before all the planning is completed, and BOOM unexpected stress is piled onto the wedding planning process. A certified wedding planner guides you in creating that just right budget which includes the typical hidden costs most engaged couples are unaware of.


Remember, you are not alone. Every couple has budget limitations no matter how large or small their salaries are.


Sometimes, couples think that by starting their planning way in advance they can save and pay as they go giving them a false sense of security. It is always best to nail down your wedding budget at the beginning of the process. Just because you have started planning early does not mean there is no need for a wedding budget. In fact, much like Christmas shopping, the earlier you begin, the easier it is to overspend.


Think of your wedding budget as your friend. Once you sit down with a professional wedding planner to decide which categories your wedding planning will need, what the hidden costs are, and discuss together what your top priorities are for your special wedding day, your budget becomes your personalized road map. And that, my engaged couple, is a priceless thing to have!


Most people realize the obvious spending categories for planning your wedding: Dress, Venue, Entertainment, Flowers, Photographer, Caterer, and Bartender. Some of the less obvious ones are: Transportation, Stationary, Rental Items, Tips, and more. Ah! Tipping! Who gets a tip and how do you know how much to tip them? Make sure you know this information early on and build this amount directly into your budget as you go so that there are no unnecessary stresses on your special day. Use this free Tipping Guide.


If your budget only allows a smaller amount for your wedding planner, choose services wisely. It is well worth it to hire a certified wedding planner to assist in building your budget, so that you can get started on the right foot and be headed in the right direction with your roadmap in hand for the rest of your decision-making process. The two fundamental wedding planning services every couple needs from a certified wedding planner is the Budget Building Mini-Package and The Day-of Wedding Management Package . The combination of both the budget and the day-of package are worth their weight in gold in relieving stress and helping you sail smoothly through the process of planning your wedding!



Pam McClendon

Lead Event Specialist

Certified Wedding Planner / CWP Society

Certified Design Specialist

Destination Wedding Specialist

Independent Travel Agent

Owner of Event-Serendipity, LLC








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