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How to Create a Realistic Wedding Budget

Ahh… the wedding budget.

I find that couples get the most stressed about setting a wedding budget. You want your wedding day to be special, but not set you back and break the bank. It’s a thin line to walk, so here are a few things I recommend considering when you’re creating a wedding budget.

Is anyone else contributing to the wedding budget?

Have you talked to close family members on both sides to see if they are planning on contributing to the cost of your wedding? See if and how much they are willing to contribute. It’s always worth it to ask! I know it’s not possible for every family, but I’ve had couples whose parents had been saving for their future wedding without them knowing! You never know until you ask.

How much are you willing to contribute?

After seeing how much each family is willing to contribute, decide what you and your partner are willing to throw in. Don’t spend your life savings, but be willing to chip into the cost of your wedding. After these two steps, you’ll have a rough estimate of your wedding budget.

Estimate your guest count

The cost of your wedding heavily depends on how many people you want to invite. It will determine the size of the venue, how much food and alcohol to provide, and possibly things like chairs and tables. I recommend writing your invite list out. Think of everyone you would be happy to have at your wedding. Then, separate people into two categories: “absolutely invite” and “the bench.” The bench list is people who would be nice to have at your wedding, but only if the budget allows.

You also want to consider that only 75-85% of people you invite will actually attend. That’s another reason why you might want to have a “B team” of invitees.

Choose your non-negotiables

What are a few things that you absolutely need to have at your wedding? Decide between the two of you what you aren’t willing to negotiate on. Those things will probably take up a good chunk of your budget. Here are a few ideas of non-negotiables to consider.

What are you willing to DIY?

There are definitely ways to save money on a wedding. However, don’t compromise quality for a cheaper cost. I recommend thinking about DIYing your negotiables. You already established your non-negotiables. Hire professionals to take care of those, so they turn out how you want them to. Everything else, consider DIYing. 

Plan for surprises

If I’ve learned anything from weddings, it’s that nothing goes 100% according to plan. Make sure to budget for surprise expenses such as vendor transportation, custom cocktails, and wedding planners. If you’re one of the lucky few that doesn’t use their “surprise budget”, then you can splurge on the honeymoon!

Tips to Save Money on Your Wedding

You don’t have to sacrifice what’s important to you to stay within budget. Here are a few ways you can save money on your wedding.

  • Buy in-season flowers
  • Simplify the menu
  • Get married on a weekday
  • Dress shop early
  • Reduce printables or order everything at once to cut shipping costs

You can read more tips here.

Creating a realistic wedding budget doesn’t have to be stressful! You just need to think about things that you 100% need at your wedding and things that you can skip or reduce to fit within your budget. With the right budget, you’ll have the wedding of your dreams without draining your savings. When you’re ready to hire a wedding photographer, I’m here for you! View my packages to see if my services fit within your budget, then book a call with me. I’d be happy to chat with you!

About Harry McLaughlin Photography

I take pride in creating a fun environment and connecting with vendors so that everything can run smoothly on your big day. I’ll be with you every step of the way. From engagement shoots to day-of photos, you can rest easy knowing I’ll give you the photos you’ve always dreamed of. When you book with me, you’ll get a custom experience unlike any other. Let’s create special moments together! Fill out this form to get started.

Wedding Budget

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