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How To Establish Your Wedding Budget

Establishing your budget

Incase you haven't yet, one of the biggest things you can do before planning your wedding is make sure that you have an understanding of what your overall budget is. You have your dream vision on what you want your wedding to be like, I know that when I was a kid I was dead-set on having an ice sculpture of some sort (spoiler, I didn't have one). If that's something you can swing, then by all means! But for the average couple, it's a financial splurge that just isn't really on the list of things that they deem a requirement for their big day. It's important that when you establish your budget, you have a list of things that you absolutely have to have, things that you'd like but can go without if needed, and things you know you certainly do not want.

Now, think of a figure that you'd like your budget to be capped at.

According to the average wedding budget breakdown is:

  • 40% on venue and catering

  • 15% on photography

  • 10% Music/entertainment

  • 10% flowers

  • 10% decorations

  • 5% Attire

  • 3% Transportation

  • 3% Stationary

  • 2% Favors

  • 2% Cake

This isn't an absolute figure, each couple is going to do things a little different.

If you're anything like me, there are certain things that take priority. I didn't worry so much about fancy transportation, I would much rather have a bar. As you can see below, our largest portion of the budget was for photography and videography with the venue and attire tied for second. I could not have been more thrilled with our wedding photos or film, but that's what was most important to me.

I was fortunate and my uncle was my officiant while my aunt, whom is a licensed cosmetologist, did hair and makeup for my seven bridesmaids, my mom, and myself- hence why that section is not included within my budgeted breakdown.

You get the idea, you need to do what is going to work best for you and your soon-to-be spouse. Are there other factors that need to be considered?


  • What can you afford?

  • Are you planning on making payments or paying-in-full?

  • How much time are you taking to plan your wedding?

  • Your wedding style/aesthetic

  • Requirements/style of your venue

  • The day and time of year

  • Your number of guests

  • Factoring in forgotten expenses (postage, fuel, security, insurance, etc. )


The Knot has a really great article about this too!

Each of these can have a major impact when creating your budget. For example, for my wedding we opted to get married on a Wednesday in the middle of December. Our venue normally ran upwards of $7000 for a weekend date during peak wedding season. Having our wedding when we did made us eligible for off-season and non-weekend discounts, allowing us 15 hours of the entire venue for under $2,000.

Like I said, major impact.

Now that you've set your budget for your big day, but are wanting to try to save some cash, right? Who doesn't? Those savings could be put towards a honeymoon, a new house, or that new set of matching recliners.

Check out my tips to stay in your budget!

Photography by Heather Marie of HM ARTS

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