Wedding budget breakdown – Guide to calculate a typical wedding budget

Budget is always the first thing brides and grooms think about when starting to plan their wedding. The amount of expenses for a wedding might be overwhelming for some brides and grooms. However they are totally manageable, as long as you are organized and pay attention to details. Some of the most frequently asked questions about wedding budget calculation are:

How much should a wedding cost?

What is the average wedding budget in my area?

How will we divide to pay the wedding expenses?

How much each element of my wedding should cost?

This article is a wedding budget guide and will answer each of the above questions one by one. And by the end of the article you should have a clearer idea about how you will deal with the budget issue for your wedding.

What is the average budget of weddings in my area?

Wedding costs are on the rise, not only in the U.S. but in all other parts of the world. A average wedding in the U.S. costs around $22,000 while an average wedding in the UK costs about £20,000. In other to check how much an average wedding costs in your area, you can use this tool costofwedding.com to find out (this tool is only for average budgets in the United States).

How will we split the wedding costs?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents are responsible to pay for the wedding. However it is not as common nowadays as it was before. The average age of engaged couples are higher, and most of the couples are already at the age of a steady career and income. Thus they both have more disposable income to contribute to the wedding expenses. The situation is different for every couple. However the most common arrangement is that the couple pays part of the wedding while the bride’s parents also contribute a part.

How much should a wedding cost?

There is no “right” budget for your wedding. There are some couples who have weddings that costs more than 50,000 USD and some can manage with a budget of less than $5000. However if you are on a tight budget, you would have to make some compromises in order to fit your budget frame.  What has worked for a lot of couple in a tight budget is that they set a fixed budget, like a goal, and they try their best to arrange and move things around in order to fit that budget.

What is the breakdown of a typical wedding budget?

Although I cannot give you a right number on how much your total wedding budget should be, I could give you wedding budget percentages, which is an estimate of how much each expense category in your wedding would cost in percentages. Below is a wedding budget breakdown of a typical wedding:

  • Reception and rentals (including catering, rentals, reception venue fee, etc) – 40%
  • Photography & Videography – 10%

    wedding budget percentages

    Wedding budget percentages help couples know how much they have to spend for each expense category

  • Wedding consultant – 10%
  • Wedding attire (including bride and bridesmaids dresses, groom and groomsmen suits, etc) – 8%
  • Personal flowers and floral decorations – 7%
  • Music and entertainment – 7%
  • Wedding rings (not including engagement ring) – 4%
  • Stationery – 3%
  • Gifts – 3%
  • Transportation and lodging – 3%
  • Wedding cake and other pastries – 2%
  • Ceremony and legality (including ceremony venue fee, marriage certificate, etc) – 2&
  • Day-of preparation (including hair style and makeup) – 1%

Be aware that the above is just the day-of budget. The engagement ring, rehearsal dinner and honeymoon are calculated separately from the wedding day costs.

Tips on wedding budget management

  • You should make a wedding budget spreadsheet with all of the expense categories in order to keep track of all the costs. Each detail has to be jotted down carefully so that you will not miss any expenses and go over budget by accident.
  • Put reminders for yourself about the final payment date to vendors, so that you do not have to pay any late payment fees or have any problems with your vendors on the wedding day.
  • Keep all the receipts and contracts carefully in a folder and keep it close by on your wedding day.
  • Put aside around 10% of your wedding budget in case of emergency. You will never what unexpected situation will come up just around your wedding day and you will feel relieved that you already have some money ready for the emergency.
  • Many couples forget about tipping as a part in their budget calculation. You should make a list of people you might have to give tips on the wedding day for their services. If you do not want to think about tipping on your wedding day, prepare the change and assign the task to someone else.

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