Wedding Budget Breakdown

In this post, I wanted to share more about how to create a wedding budget breakdown. It’s a question I’ve been asked a million times, and there are quite rightly a million answers because of course, it depends on each couple and their plans! So I turned to my industry experts – the wedding planners and coordinators where they share top tips on setting a wedding budget, guidelines for amounts, how to prioritise, what to consider and all the things you might not have thought about! 

wedding budget breakdown blog

Be realistic from the start

Revelry Events: “One major reason couples overspend in the first place is that their original budget figures weren’t realistic – numbers plucked out of thin air or based on what a magazine told you other people were spending. Talk to industry professionals about what you can roughly expect to pay for certain areas, or even speak to a handful of friends who recently got married.”

How much can you save?

Katrina Otter: “First and foremost, when it comes to setting and allocating your wedding budget, you need to take the time to really think about what your total budget is. How much can you save? Will you be getting any financial contributions from parents or relatives? How much can you afford to spend? How much do you want/are you happy to spend?  It’s not as simple as plucking a figure out of the air or basing your budget on a guide you’ve read. And then before you start to allocate that budget, you also need to know your number of guests.

Is anyone else contributing to your wedding budget?

Caroline Sian Weddings: Have the awkward conversations early – If family members are kindly contributing to your wedding then have thorough conversations with them upfront regarding how much they are contributing (and if it’s for a specific item!)”

Emma Joy The Wedding Planner: “Has anyone offered to gift you certain elements of the wedding (your wedding dress or champagne for example) or are there any aspects that you see as separate to your main wedding budgets like your rings or honeymoon? Try to get as accurate a figure as you can because this will help you to make the right choices about your suppliers.

Prioritise what’s important to you

Katrina Otter: What aspects of your wedding are most important and what aspects are most likely to make the biggest impact?  The food, the location, the venue, the music, the décor, the details? What’s essential and what’s nice to have?”

Caroline Sian Weddings: Once you have your total budget allocate it to the various aspects of your wedding according to your priorities. Book your priority suppliers first so that you can stretch these areas of your budget if needed, cutting back on other lower priority areas. 

Occasion Queens: “Think carefully about what is important to you as a couple and that is where you should invest as that is what will make you smile most on the day and be remembered. If you love food, get a brilliant caterer that specialises in what you love. If you are obsessed with peonies, make sure your florist knows the perfect way to get them in bloom for your day. Whatever happens though, don’t feel pressure from anyone, including your suppliers, to spend extra where you don’t feel comfortable, trust your gut!”

Add a contingency fund in your wedding budget breakdown

Katrina Otter: My biggest budgeting tip is to always add a contingency fund (ideally 10-15% of your budget) for emergencies or unforeseen costs as it’ll mean that you’ve got a little flexibility and room for manoeuvre.”

How much does it cost to plan a wedding?

Cranberry Blue: “This is something that we hear a lot and the simple answer is that there isn’t one!  What I mean by that is that it depends on a wide range of factors, such as the type of wedding you wish to have, the number of guests, location, the amount of design and décor etc.  Make sure you discuss your overall vision of the day with each other to ensure you’re clear about what’s most important to you both. Understanding this will help you to prioritise and therefore allocate a good proportion of the budget to these key areas.” 

Revelry Events: Trick yourself – When we’re budget planning with our couples, we always suggest taking your maximum wedding spend and hiding 5% of that from yourself in case of emergency overspend. So for example, if your absolute ceiling is £25,000, put £23,750 in the spreadsheet in your wedding budget breakdown. Then, if you find closer to the day you’re going over in some areas – hey presto – you still have that magic £1250 buffer to cushion the splurge.”

What percentage should I set aside for venue, food and drinks?

Cranberry Blue: “The cost of your chosen venue, food and drinks is likely to be in the region of around 40% of the overall wedding budget breakdown so this is a good place to start when putting a plan together.”

Emma Joy The Wedding Planner: “You can expect to spend about 45% of your budget on your reception i.e. your venue and catering. Other big costs include your photographer and videographer, your florist and entertainment. Remember though, it’s your wedding and you shouldn’t feel pressured into spending money if something’s not important to you.”

wedding budget breakdown

Do your research

Caroline Sian Weddings: Don’t get caught out by “all-inclusive” venue packages – venues often sell themselves based on packages and it may seem like it includes everything you need for your wedding. In reality, venue costs are often less than 50% of the total final spend.”

Slash the guest list

Revelry Events: Spoiler alert! One of the biggest reasons weddings cost so much is the number of people attending. Every extra chair, champagne flute, and place card will see that spend creep up – and that’s without counting the food and drink!”

Isn’t the case of the bigger the wedding, the higher the budget?

Helaina Storey: “We have planned and styled weddings with a £10K budget that are every bit as beautiful as those which cost £100K+. Size doesn’t matter. It’s how you use it that really counts. We are big believers in spending on the elements that matter most to you. It is important that you follow your heart and consider your own individual priorities, as there will almost always be some compromise required somewhere.

Photography provides lasting memories

Helaina Storey: “We do often recommend to our couples that they stretch as far as possible within their means on their photography, as the everlasting memories of your day will be captured according to the standard of photographer or filmmaker that you choose. You generally do get what you pay for in this area.”

Save money vs value for money

Revelry Events: “There is a difference between looking to save money and looking for value for money. For example, you can pick up a pair of high street shoes that work perfectly with your dress for £25. You’re only going to wear them once – what’s the point in paying more, right? But what if that one time wear is for 10 hours, how comfortable are those shoes going to be when you want to hit the dance floor at 11 pm? Buy a better-made pair at a higher cost and your feet will thank you. It works the other way too. You can serve Champagne during a drinks reception but most people can’t tell the difference between that and Prosecco (some even prefer the latter). Choose the cheaper option and most guests will be none the wiser.”

Keep the budget visible

Revelry Events: “One of the best ways to stick to something (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?) is to be reminded of it constantly. Keep a shared document open on your computer all the time where you can update and keep a beady eye on that bottom line, or set a reminder on your phone each week to check it.”

Speak to the professionals

Emma Joy The Wedding Planner: Once you’ve had a think about your priorities, it’s time to talk to a wedding planner! We’ll be able to advise you straight away about whether your budget is realistic, as well as how you might like to allocate it.”

Thanks so much, everyone! I hope you found this helpful when creating your wedding budget breakdown. I learned loads and hope you did too.

Fee x

Huge thanks go to the professionals who contributed their advice (in alphabetical order)

Caroline Sian Weddings

Cranberry Blue

Emma Joy The Wedding Planner

Helaina Storey

Katrina Otter Weddings

Occasion Queens

Revelry Events