Wedding Budget Planning
Planning your wedding budget is one of the most important parts of planning your wedding. There are so many expenses involved and so many ways in which you can spend more than you planned to and land up with a wedding you cannot afford or wasting money that you hadn’t planned to spend.
Our free wedding budget spreadsheet will help you calculate all your wedding expenses. The wedding expenses list should include the items you will need to budget but you can add additional items if required. For more wedding planner printables see how to plan a wedding.
How to create a wedding budget
Open the wedding spreadsheet on the first tab (budget). Add your “initial target wedding budget”. This is the sum you initially budget before you start checking any costs. To fill in this sum you will probably ask how much does a wedding cost? or what does the average wedding cost?. According to The Knot, the average wedding cost was $33,900 in 2019. Therefore, we have set the initial wedding budget to $33,900 as per the average. The average wedding budget is only meant to be a guide. Feel free to change it to your target budget.
Wedding Budget Breakdown
You will see that the budget is broken down into five different categories. Each category is color coded.
Each category is broken down into subcategories to include all expenses in the final wedding cost breakdown.
Wedding Budget Percentages
The wedding expenses breakdown has been divided into 16 subcategories. Each category has been given a percentage of the final wedding budget. Feel free to change this percentage if you prefer to prioritize a specific category or to reduce the importance of another category. For example, both music and drinks have been set at 8% of the budget. If you want to spend more on drinks and less on music then you can change drinks to 10% and music to 6%. Feel free to change any percentage as long as the total stays at 100%.
The spreadsheet opens with an example wedding budget based on an average wedding cost breakdown. Once you change the target budget and/or the percentage of each category, the built-in wedding budget calculator will automatically change the budget for each category.
Click the button above to download the wedding spreadsheet in Excel format.
To open the spreadsheet in Google Sheets, download the Excel file as above.
- Open Google Drive.
- Double-click the Excel file you downloaded previously.
- A preview of your file will open.
- At the top, click Open with Google Sheets.
- Click File.
- Save as Google Sheets.
Wedding budget checklist
Use the wedding cost checklist to make sure that you don’t forget to take care of anything before your wedding and that you don’t forget to budget it. You don’t want to go over budget because you forgot to take something into account. If there are additional expenses you want to add then feel free to add them to the spreadsheet.
How to plan a wedding on a budget
A cheap wedding doesn’t have to feel or look cheap. There are many ways to plan a wedding on a budget.
12 Tips to Save When Planning a Wedding
Planning a wedding can become very expensive very fast. When you’re beginning the wedding planning process, each service may not seem that expensive. However, when you add up all the little expenses, it can be easy to spend more than your original ideal budget.
If you want to save money while planning your wedding, you need to look for easy ways to cut down your vendors’ price and decorating costs. There are many ways to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your wedding. We’ve put together our top 12 tips to save when you’re planning your wedding.
For most venues, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s are typically the most expensive days of the week to get married. The price increases because most people are off from work on the weekends, so it’s a popular and convenient day for many couples to get married. Plus, if you’re looking at a resort, they will have to balance your wedding with other guests who travel and stay during that same weekend, increasing the overall price.
If you’re not set on a weekend date, think about choosing a weekday instead. Mondays through Wednesdays are typically less expensive because they’re less booked. Venues will usually offer special discounts for booking your wedding on an off-day.
Cut Down Your Guest list
Every guest you invite is an additional cost because you must pay per guest for the meal at your reception. The smaller you can cut your guest list, the better it is for your budget. Even if you only cut down twenty percent of your list, you could potentially save thousands of dollars on your wedding. A great way to narrow down your wedding list is to ask yourself if you’d like to spend two hours alone with this guest. If it’s a no, take them off your list.
Look for Unique Venues
While many weddings take place in traditional settings like churches, wedding venues, or hotels, your wedding doesn’t have to follow that same route. You can book your wedding at unique venues, which will help you cut your budget and offer an unforgettable memory. Some examples of a unique venue might include a public park, library, art museum, or even an empty warehouse.
Choose In-Season Flowers
Choose flowers that are blooming during the season you’re going to get married. These will typically be available at your local flower shop and sell at a competitive price. Choosing out of season flowers will incur an additional fee for importing your flowers over to your location.
Bring Your Own Alcohol
Check with your potential venues to see if you can bring in your own alcohol or if you have to select one of their on-site beverage packages. If you’re allowed to bring your own alcohol, you can buy it in bulk and save tons of money. It also guarantees that you only have drinks at your wedding that you actually enjoy. You’ll only need to pay for one bartender for a few hours to help serve the alcohol you purchased.
Create Your Own Wedding Favors
Wedding favors can be costly, especially if you customize them with your guest’s name or order them through a wedding favor company. Many wedding favors don’t even get used, so maybe instead, invest in creating your own wedding favors. This could be something simple like homemade jam, flower jars, a signed photograph, or packets of seeds. These wedding favors are not only useful to your wedding guests, but they can help you save hundreds of dollars.
Skip the Cake
Many couples spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding cake that won’t even be consumed by guests. Instead of investing in a cake, consider spending money on smaller treats for your guests, such as cupcakes, macaroons, or even donuts. If you still want a cake, you can invest in a small-sized cake just for the bride and groom.
Search Online for Décor Sales
After the wedding, brides want to get rid of their wedding décor. Decor, crafts, fake flowers, and little wedding trinkets end up sitting in an extra room or garage gathering dust. Recent brides will resell these items for a low price because they have no need for them and don’t want the clutter. Try browsing Facebook Marketplace or your local thrift store to find wedding decor for very little money.
Choose a Buffet over Plated Meals
You’ll often find that a plated meal is the most expensive food option you can choose to serve your wedding guests. Plated meals are charged per portion of food. However, many times your guests will not even eat their full food plate, resulting in wasted food and money. Instead, ask your caterer if you can see buffet options. Your guests will only take the food they want, and your caterer will pack up the leftovers for you to take home.
Limit Plus Ones
You don’t need to allow every guest to bring a plus one, especially if you don’t know the person your guest will bring. Make it straightforward on the invitations that plus ones are not invited and only allow them to RSVP for themselves, with no option for a plus one. Not allowing every guest to bring a plus one will help you save money on the number of guests at your wedding.
Instead of investing in paper invites, consider using an electronic invite. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they can also save you almost a thousand dollars. Many online wedding websites allow you to make a custom wedding website, send out registry details, provide venue information, track RSVP’s and send updates to your invitees.
Don’t Invite Children
If you don’t want to have children at your wedding, consider hosting a child-free wedding. It’s essential that you make it clear on your invitations that children are not invited so your invitees can book babysitters or make other arrangements for their children.
By following the above tips, you’re sure to save money on your wedding. Saving a little bit on multiple vendors can add up and help you save thousands of dollars. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors for alternative options and find the best options for your wedding budget.
Disclaimer: A lot of effort has gone into preparing the spreadsheet and checking its accuracy. However, we assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the spreadsheet. The information contained is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.