A photo of wedding rings and a bouquet wrapped in dollar iblls

How to Create a Wedding Budget

In the olden days, marriage began with a herd of goats, a small ceremony with a minister to make it official, a prim church organist banging out “Canon in D,” and maybe a potluck to celebrate the nuptials. But today, marriage begins with more pomp and circumstance. In fact, it’s a giant to-do—which comes with a giant to-do list.

Far from a chore, though, your wedding can be one of the most memorable and special days of your life! But before you jump all in to the Pinteresting, planning and prepping, you need to pause and take these four solid steps forward. 

Four Steps to Take Before You Start Planning Your Wedding

Step 1: Determine the type of wedding you want. 

Are we talking indoor, outdoor, destination, church, old train station, old train caboose, castle on the coast, White Castle? If you’re wavering at all, start your guest list. That calculation could dictate the location. You can’t fit 500 friends and family members in a woodland treehouse wedding.

Of course, one of the quickest ways to save is to limit your guest list. But maybe tons of people celebrating your big day is your number one wedding wish. That brings us to the next point.

Step 2: Resolve your nonnegotiables. 

As a couple, communicate with each other—tell each other what you want out of your wedding day. What are your top three most important wedding dreams? Food, flowers and filmography? Live band, location and lavender tuxedos? 

After your top three have been decided, think about what’s not important? Keep your most valuable and most trivial items at the forefront of your minds as you begin to take the third, and biggest, step. 

Step 3: Budget for the wedding of your affordable dreams. 

That sounds sort of . . . um . . . unromantic. Huh? It shouldn’t! Starting a life together is beautiful. But starting the union off by draining a savings account or going into debt to impress yourself, your friends or your family—now that’s unromantic. Instead, give your budget a realistic number that still includes everything you want out of your big day.

Step 4: Have the budget talk with family. 

In the past, etiquette dictated the distinct payment roles of the parents of the bride and groom. The couples were usually young and had little funds of their own to contribute. But this is 2018, when people are waiting later to marry and often paying for their own wedding. These days parents tend to pay around 46% of the wedding costs.(1

You’ll need to have a conversation with your parents about their role in your wedding. And remember, they don’t owe you that trip to Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, in November to wed in the ice hotel before it melts into a mere memory. But if they’re willing to help out, it’s good to know how much they want to contribute from the start.

These days, the average wedding (including honeymoon and engagement ring) costs $36,000.(2) That’s a whole lot of money. If $36,000 sounds like a solid investment to you, then keep reading. You’ll see how to put all that to the best use. If $36,000 sounds impossible, keep reading. We’ll share plenty of tips to show you how to have a sensational celebration for less.

That’s right! This is wedding budget central, straight from your favorite financial friends at EveryDollar. Because before you say “I do” to the rest of your lives together, you’ve got a lot of other I dos to figure out: I do want the chocolate-mousse-filled, cherry-ganache-covered cake with fondant orchids, or I do want our recessional music to be a duet between bagpipes and banjo.

We’re not saying all your decisions will be grand—but they will be yours.

Wedding cake

What are your main wedding budget categories?

On average, 42% of couples underestimate how much money they need for their wedding.(3) That means they must suddenly scramble to find money they weren’t planning to look for. Don’t let this be you! Prep now so you don’t pay more later.

As you start to account for all the dollar amounts, you can use our EveryDollar Wedding Budget Planning worksheet. It divides your spending into these main categories:

Average Wedding Budget Costs and Recommended Percentages

We’re going to break down each of these, sharing some average costs as well as important things to consider. Remember your nonnegotiables as you read. And keep in mind you don’t have to spend the average amount we listed. Allocate more if something is top priority; budget less on things that aren’t as important to you.

Are you ready to set a budget you can both have and hold? Let’s get started.

Wedding venue graphic

Venue Costs: Where the Magic Happens

Average Cost: $9,000               Suggested Budget Percent: 20–25%

Location 

The venue tends to be the first thing couples search for, usually around 11.1 months before the wedding. And the location of the ceremony and reception takes up about $9,000 of that $36,000 budget. (4

When you’re booking your venue, consider the impact the month and day make on the location’s cost. Spring weddings used to be all the rage, with pastel pantsuits a plenty, but that trend has been taken over. Fall ranks at the most popular season for ceremonies with October as the most popular month.(5)

Busy venues know they can charge more when their services are most desired. If you’re willing to get married in January or February, the two least popular months for weddings, you should look or ask for a discount.(6) Your dream venue wants your money in non-peak months, and you want your dream venue. It could be a win-win for both of you.

Saturdays are the busiest wedding days, with Friday and Sunday coming in second.(7) Changing the day of the week could mean lower costs. You’ll have to remember that weeknight weddings might make it difficult for guests (especially traveling ones) to attend. It also means extra days off if you need to prep anything beforehand. And you could be seeing a lot more “declines with regrets” on those RSVP cards. 

Wedding ceremony graphic

Wedding Ceremony Costs: The Moment That Starts a Lifetime Together

Average Cost: $3,900              Suggested Budget Percent: 8–12%

Officiant 

Find out what your state requires to make your marriage official. Some call for much more stringent specifications than others. If you hope for a friend or family member to perform your nuptials, it may be possible. Just know your guidelines. And while some officiants charge and some do not, cash or a small gift as a way to say thank you is always a good idea. After all, their signature will sit on your marriage license for all time.  

Music

Ceremonial tunes average $600.(8) If having a four-string quartet is crucial, you’ll pay that or more. But what about all those super talented friends you have? The ones who could have a music career if they applied themselves and knew the right people? Yes. Them. What if you asked them to perform your favorite love songs. How personal would it be if the processional was the first song you two held hands to—sung by your college roommate. Not the tone-deaf one—the one who can float through those vocal trills like Christina Aguilera. You could save money and create a more individualized moment. 

Flowers, Lighting and Décor

Decorative elements run an average of $3,000 for the ceremony and reception combined.(9) That’s a lot of petals, twinkle lights, and draped tulle. Some venues have enough charm on their own, but most couples like to spruce up the place and add personal touches.

If you’re limiting your spending in this category, think about what will show in photos during the ceremony. A wooden arch decorated with greenery and flowers to frame the happy couple is probably a better investment than elaborate centerpieces. That arch will set a scene that you’ll be showing your great-grandchildren when you leaf through the photo album, while the centerpieces are just wow factor for the day.

Décor isn’t the only floral need. Most weddings use bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres. Maybe you want a flower girl to sprinkle rose petals down the aisle. That costs money. Maybe the guys don’t want boutonnieres. That saves money. Maybe you’ve dreamed of hydrangeas, calla lilies, or tulips for the bouquets—these spring and summer blossoms will come at a high price for your winter wedding. 

This category is a major DIY-able zone. You don’t even need a florist: Check out the floral department at your local warehouse store or even supermarket. With any wedding project you want to take on, remember to consider the cost of supplies and how stressed you’ll get making it happen. Create everything far, far, far ahead of time so you aren’t hot-gluing paper petals (made from the sheet music of your favorite Beatles love song) into an elaborate bouquet the night before you wed. No one wants tired eyes and burned fingers in their wedding photos! 

Wedding reception graphic

Reception: After the Vows, It’s Time to Party

Average Cost: $8,350–10,950              Suggested Budget Percent: 20–30%

Catering

We mentioned before that the venue is the most expensive item in most wedding budgets. And coming in second place is . . . drumroll please . . . oh, you probably guessed it: FOOD. Catering costs come up to around $6,600.(10) So, if you subtract the price of the engagement ring and honeymoon, which we’ll discuss later, from the average wedding cost, that means you, your family, and your friends will be eating 24% of your wedding budget. 

That also means food is a fantastic place to get frugal. If you’re wanting a full meal, you can trade the sit-down, plated, four-course option for buffet style. You won’t be alone going that route: 54% of couples let guests fill their own plates.(11

Having an earlier ceremony with a luncheon reception is another great way to save on your food budget. Maybe a midday meal is the way for you. If you want to save even more, offer just appetizers, dessert, or both!

Note that some venues will dictate your caterer, either because they have their own or have an agreement with another company. An all-inclusive event space could save you money and time, so keep this in mind when looking for your venue and your caterer.

The Cake

Speaking of dessert—let them eat cake! After all, according to Julia Child, a party without a cake is just a meeting. Do you want a tiered wedding cake and a manly groom’s cake? Just one cake? Cupcakes? A donut wall? Milk and cookies? We won’t tell Julia Child if you break from tradition.

But since love is sweet, offering some kind of sweet is, well, sweet. Having a small buffet of homemade treats versus a traditional three-tier wedding cake is a great way to save cash.

Flowers and Décor

Flowers and décor are a consideration at the reception as well. You could ask a couple of groomsmen to move some decorations from the ceremony spot to the reception venue. It’s highly unlikely your guests will gasp and exclaim, “Can you believe they moved those rustic wedding mason jar lights from the aisles to the centerpieces? How paltry!” For one, no one uses the word paltry anymore (sadly). For two, they’ll either not notice or assume you just have your wedding act together. Using décor twice is a clever way to save money!

About 77% of receptions happen indoors, which means you’ll have some sort of lighting already provided, but you may want to ramp up the ambiance with spotlights or twinkly string lights.(12) You can also consider renting some of your décor, purchasing pre-loved décor from online marketplaces like Facebook or Etsy, or buying things you could use in your home or as gifts to people after the wedding is over. 

Music 

Peace and quiet is a goal of retirement, not your wedding reception. You need some kind of music. Everyone loves music, but certain people are crazy about it. Some relationships are formed on this shared enthusiasm. If that’s you, we bet you made the jams at your reception one of your three priority-spending nonnegotiables. 

A live band can cost $3,800. You could also hire a DJ if you want classic and modern hits to get people dancing. That costs far less at $1,200.(13) Both create a completely different ambiance—so once you figure out what you want, hire what you need. And if you want to get really thrifty, consider creating your dream playlist and plugging in to your venue’s sound system. Then you won’t have to worry about “YMCA” playing unless you want it to.  

Beverages

Beverages are a must. If your wedding is more DIY, you can go the water, soda, iced tea direction. If you’d like, you can offer your favorite beer and wine or have a champagne toast. This customizes the wedding experience and saves you from having to offer an open bar. 

If your venue includes an open bar, even better. Many venues build beverages into their per-person price. If adult beverages are important to you, an all-inclusive venue may be the way to go.     

You don’t want to leave your guests thirsty, but what you offer should be far more about the vibe you want to build balanced with the budget you’ve already built. 

Wedding photos graphic

Photography and Videography Costs: Capturing the Moments on Film Forever

Average Cost: $4,200              Suggested Budget Percent: 6–10%

Engagement Photos

He said, “Will you?” She said, “Yes!” And it’s time to announce. What better way than with engagement photos? In fact, many guys hire someone to film or photograph the moment the question is popped! When you’re searching for the perfect photographer, consider one who includes engagement photos in their wedding packages. It’s a great way for the photographer to get to know you as a couple, as well as learn what you want from photos before the big day.

Ceremony and Reception Photos

You obviously want the actual ceremony photographed. From the walk down the aisle to the groom’s face as he sees his bride to the first kiss as husband and wife—all of these need to be captured. Many couples pay to have the reception photographed as well, or at least portions of it. And because these photos last a lifetime, the photographer is usually the fourth highest expense at $2,400.(14)

To make sure you get the most memories captured for your money, carefully look over package options. Some photographers work by the hour, which means you’ll want to have a list ready with all the family and wedding party pictures you want. The photography assistant, your wedding planner, or a firm and direct friend can keep everyone moving in a timely manner from one shot to the next. Whether or not your photographer is hourly, you don’t want a frustratingly slow photography process. You have a party to get to!

Videography

Not only do you want still shots of your wedding moments, you probably want your ceremony filmed, and maybe the reception filmed too. Whether you’re looking for a basic recording of the event or an elaborate movie-like experience, videography is a hot-ticket item these days averaging $1,800.(15)

Photo Booths

Photo booths at weddings are becoming incredibly popular. These generate entertainment for your guests, up the numbers on your wedding hashtag, and offer a free (to them) memory for friends and family. You can save money by using an automated camera that emails or texts images rather than printing. 

You can save even more by not offering this at all. You could just set up a playful selfie station with props and décor so your guests can use their phones to fill their social media accounts. 

A photo booth isn’t expected, but is a fun addition if you’ve got the funds.

Wedding attire graphic

Attire Expenses: What to Wear to the Wedding

Average Cost:   $2,900              Suggested Budget Percent: 5–8%

Bridesmaids Dresses 

Oh, the jokes about bridesmaid dresses. Watch any 90s sitcom, and you’re bound to enjoy at least one moment of a leading lady lamenting over having to wear the ugliest frock ever fashioned. In the past couple of years, that trend has thankfully tanked, and a new one is on the rise: The bridal party is wearing different, yet coordinating dresses. About 59% of weddings support this wardrobe movement.(16

But who pays? Generally, the bridesmaids buy their own dresses, which added another level to the hideous dress joke. Not only was it ugly, it was expensive. And even if you got to wear a fabulous frock, it wasn’t something you could ever wear again. What a waste! 

Yes, this is your wedding. Yes, these are your choices. But when you ask your dearest friends to be a part of it, that privilege shouldn’t come with a giant price tag. There are multiple economical options such as renting, watching for sales, picking out a dress online, or buying pre-owned.

If you do jump on the multi-dress bandwagon, you can have final say in the selections, but it gives your gal pals a chance to pick out something in their financial comfort zone that they can wear again. 

The Wedding Dress

What’s a wedding without a wedding dress? Shopping for this gown is a pivotal moment in a girl’s life. Saying yes to the dress (and posting about it on social media) is a must. How much does that yes cost? An average of $1,700.(17) Some of you nodded your head at the reasonability of that number. Some of you did a literal spit take with whatever you’re sipping on as you read this. 

The dress is important. Seriously. As we said before, the photographs are what last forever, and guess what you’re wearing in those photos? Your wedding dress. But you might be surprised at how you can rival the beauty of a royal wedding dress for way less.

Don’t feel stuck going to bridal shops. Any formalwear store will have options in white. Look online or go to consignment stores for used dresses, either from unsentimental or runaway brides. If that feels weird, look for vintage versions on Etsy.  

The dress isn’t all the bride needs to think about. Veil or no veil? Converse or couture heels? Pearls or diamonds? Remember not everything has to be brand-new. Maybe you buy the dress but wear your mom’s veil and his grandmother’s jewelry.

Let your style that day reflect who you are—and what your budget allows. 

Beauty Services

Beauty services can range from having hair, nails, and makeup done to far more complex beauty rituals. We understand that if you have two left hands and can’t even get your hair into a pony tail you probably need some professional help getting picture perfect. Or do you? What about that friend who has a knack for painting nails or the half-cousin who does hair for fun?

We said it before, and we’ll say it again (probably again and again): Ask those friends who are talented to share their talents for a discounted price or in leu of giving you a gift. 

Attire for the Groom and the Groom’s Party

It’s time to suit up. Or tux up. That’s one of the first decisions. Just as girls are wearing less matching and less formal gowns, guys are often going more causal as well. But whichever you pick, remember the men usually pay for their rental, so don’t make them get decked out in tails, silk bow ties, ruffle shirts, top hats and canes. All that costs extra. Always be thoughtful of the costs involved.

The groom’s attire relates to his groomsmen. And the formality might relate to the venue. Are you going tux or suit? The benefit to the latter is you might be able to grab something that could be purchased and used again for other fancy affairs.

But renting a tux or suit is fairly common, and one of the lowest expenses coming in at $350.(18) In fact, that includes shoes and whatever accessories are needed (maybe the bow tie and suspenders, but not the cane and top hat—you’re not Mr. Peanut).

Rehearsal dinner graphic

Rehearsal Dinner: Practicing and Eating Together

Average Cost: $2,000              Suggested Budget Percent: 4–6%

The night before the wedding, the couple, family and wedding party generally do a run-through finished off with a rehearsal dinner. The cost of this pre-wedding event is about $2,000.(19) That can cover the food, venue and beverages.

Some venues will give you location and food, and some need a separate caterer brought in. Don’t forget the power of someone’s house, your friend’s backyard, or your church’s fellowship hall and loads of BBQ for this evening together. You’ll still have a good time without the expenses tallying up.

Wedding rings graphic

Wedding Bands: With This Ring, I Thee Wed

Average Cost: $6,800              Suggested Budget Percent: 11–18%

Engagement Ring

If you ask people to guess the average cost of an engagement ring today, you’re going to get quite the range. The answer? $5,000.(20) We’re not here to tell you what you can and cannot spend on a piece of jewelry that goes along with one of the biggest questions you’ll ask in your entire life. But keep two things in mind when you’re opening that ring box to the words, “Will you marry me?”

  1. Do not go in debt to buy an engagement ring. Set a budget, start a fund, and save up cash. You’re supposed to be walking into a shared financial future together: Don’t start on the wrong . . . knee. 
  2. Remember the proposal is about marriage—a life together—not a ring. 

Wedding Rings

The exchange of wedding bands is part of the ceremony. His and her rings average $1,800.(21) Many people look for bands that coordinate with her engagement ring, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Get something that suits your personality. That doesn’t have to be pricey platinum or a gold band.

Silicone rings are on the rise. These bands began as a safer option as they are easy to remove in case of an accident, but they’ve become popular with people who work out, work with their hands, or work in dangerous career lines such as firefighters or police officers. This isn’t the only nontraditional option for couples. Shop around.  

Stationary graphic

Stationary: This Just In—Someone’s Getting Married!

Average Cost: $560              Suggested Budget Percent: 1–2%

Save the Date

The general public’s incredibly busy lifestyle (or an incredibly clever paper marketer) has made save-the-date announcements a must. While it’s great to get your ceremony on everyone’s calendar, you don’t have to spend money here. Consider joining the 36% of couples who send their save-the-date via email.(22)

Wedding Invitations

Invitations, with RSVP cards included, are the next stationary expense. And don’t forget the stamps, both for what you send out and what comes back. It’s quite common for the RSVP envelopes to be labeled with your address and a stamp for convenience. These days, plenty of couples save money by asking for text or online responses. 

You want the invitation to speak to your style, perhaps giving a hint of the coming event’s vibe. But don’t spend a ton of money here. Except for your grandparents, parents and BFF—no one keeps these. 

Programs sharing the day’s sequence of events aren’t as common these days. You’re more likely to see a wooden pallet or chalkboard with flourished hand lettering. If that’s an alluring alternative for you, put it in your flowers and décor budget and save paper. 

Thank You Cards

The final paper you need to worry about are the thank you cards—which call for more stamps. Of course, you can shake a hand and share a verbal thanks. You can send an email or social media shout-out. But none of that compares to physical, handwritten thank you cards to people who spent their time and money to congratulate and celebrate your love.

You don’t need to spend hundreds getting cards that match your invitation. You can save money by going to a dollar store and grabbing a few twelve-packs. Or consider a personalized postcard. It’s the heartfelt thought that counts here, not the cost. 

Transportation graphic

Transportation: You’ve Got to Get There

Average Cost:  $1,000              Suggested Budget Percent: 1–3%

If you rented a limo for prom, you’re probably feeling like you need one for this far more meaningful formal event. You’ve got to get from one spot to another, but you don’t need to weaken your wallet to show up in style. Of course, not all vehicles can take your entire bridal party (if that’s something you’re needing) from the chapel to the reception. You may need to rent something sizable. Research local charter buses, trolleys, and limo services. Depending on the size of the vehicle and the time of day, week, year—you might be able to get something affordable and functional with just the right amount of flash.

And if drifting slowly down from heaven in a hot air balloon is one of your nonnegotiables, then this is one of the bigger budget lines for you. That’s all fine, as long as you’re keeping in line with your budget.

Wedding coordinator graphic

Wedding Coordinator: Because Someone Has to Keep It All Together

Average Cost:  $1,700              Suggested Budget Percent: 4–10%

Some of us have a calendar with each day’s events planned down to the hour, a meal plan schedule for the rest of the month, and a binder with tabs for each of these listed categories. If you love to plan, you probably don’t need a wedding coordinator who plans from day one to day of. But you might want someone who tells people when and where to go on your wedding day: where to get their pictures taken, when to begin walking down the aisle, when to start playing “I Feel Good” by James Brown at the exact moment you are pronounced husband and wife.

This can be someone you hire or that friend or awesome aunt who lives that organized life we mentioned above. This category’s a balancing act. You don’t want to spend absurd money for services you don’t need, but the bride and groom shouldn’t be giving anyone tips or direction on their big day!

Wedding gifts graphic

Gifts and Favors: Wrapped Thank Yous

Average Cost: $1,050              Suggested Budget Percent: 1–3%

Wedding Party Gifts

A good wedding party does more than stand beside you as you promise forever. They’re there to help when you need them, through planning the event and getting ready. A thank you in present form is no requirement, but it is considerate.

Wedding party gifts are usually a reflection of the relationship or something to use during the wedding, such as jewelry or a wedding-themed bow tie. Any bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers would fall into this category.

Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are also quite common, but shouldn’t break your bank. They are a token of thanks, a remembrance of the day, a symbol of the new unity formed. They are not a chance to keep up with what everyone on social media and Pinterest says they’re doing, but should be a personal reflection of you as a couple. 

Wedding accommodations graphic

Accommodations: Getting Out-of-Towners A Place to Stay

Average Cost:  $800              Suggested Budget Percent: 1–2%

Out-of-Town Guests

Do you pay for any out-of-town guests to have accommodations? Yes and no. No because you shouldn’t have to. Yes, because you may want to pay for certain guests who travel in, like parents, grandparents, or even the wedding party. Or you can work with a hotel to negotiate room blocks for a discounted rate. This is purely your decision. There’s not etiquette you’re breaking in any instance. 

Wedding Party

If you do decide to spend the night with your wedding party in a luxury hotel suite, you need to be up front about who is paying for what. When you plan to split the bill, that’s just between you, your future spouse and your budget. If you’re asking them to get in on the cost, be conscientious, like you were with their attire. Not everyone’s as excited to plop down thousands for your big day as you are. 

Paperwork graphic

Paperwork: It’s Not Official Until the Government Says It Is

Average Cost:  $275              Suggested Budget Percent: 1%

Marriage License

Here’s a fee many forget to fit in: the marriage license. This formal piece of paper is what makes your marriage legally binding. You need one. The cost can range from $10 to $115, depending on your state and sometimes even your county.(23) In Tennessee, you can get a discount if you complete premarital counseling, even if it’s a free service offered by your minister! 

You’ll need to apply for the license a couple days before the wedding—going in together with valid identification. You’re given the paperwork you need to get signed on your wedding day and sent off quickly. You’ll receive an official license in the mail. But you don’t want just one copy. Order extras! Why? Read on.

Name Change

If you’re one of the 70% who decide to change their last names after getting married, your (paper)work has just begun.(24) You’ll need to apply for a new social security card (which is free if you go through the Social Security Administration), passport (around $110), and driver’s license (around $50).(25) You need to change your name with your bank and job; You need an updated library card and aerial yoga membership id—and all these people want to see, you guessed it, a copy of your marriage license. Since you’ll be mailing it off in some instances, it’s easier to have more than one rather than wait until it returns or risk losing it in the shuffle.  

However, here’s a pro tip: If your passport is less than one year old, you can get an updated copy with your new name at no cost! (26)  If this applies to you, don’t dawdle and miss out on that savings opportunity. 

Not only does changing your name cost money you might rather spend on tickets to see your favorite band, but it also takes oodles of extra effort. Try to keep basking in that post-marriage bliss as you’re sorting through websites and signing checks to one government agency after the other. (Hey. You’re signing your new name. That’s fun!)

Honeymoon graphic

Honeymoon: The Vacation After the Event

Average Cost:     $4,000              Suggested Budget Percent: 8–11%

The honeymoon can range from the ultra-luxurious to the ultra-chill. When you’re planning, think about these three things: your couple personality, your time-off allotted, and your budget. 

  • Do you love to go, go, go and experience new things? You may want to see a new country and party on a cruise (which can actually be as calm or crazy as you want it to be). Are you happiest when you’re together in the quiet? Book a cabin in the woods and bring a stack of books. 
  • Be reasonable with how much time you take off work. You might have used a couple days for the actual day, especially if you were saving money by having a weekday wedding. Leave some vacation days open for the rest of the year. You’re a couple now, which means two sets of families to think about for every holiday. Life’s about to get double busy, so make sure you don’t plunder all your paid time off.
  • If you don’t have a lot of money to enjoy the vacation of your marital dreams right after the wedding, it doesn’t mean that day will never come. In fact, we believe it will, as long as you’re willing to get yourself into a financially sound space first. 
  • Save money on your honeymoon by looking for deals. Stay three nights, get the fourth free. Find mid-week or non-peak season specials. In fact, if a particular honeymoon destination is one of your top nonnegotiables, you might want to set your wedding date to align with your vacation visions. You may want to scale back on all the other items in the budget and focus your spending on the first trip you’ll take together as one. 

Miscellaneous expense wedding graphic

Miscellaneous: For What You’re Not Thinking of or Planning For

Average Cost:  $1,800              Suggested Budget Percent: 5%

Go ahead and plan 5% of the budget for anything you might forget! If you don’t end up spending this, put it in savings or treat yourself to something extra on the honeymoon.

Final Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

We’ve mentioned some of these throughout, but let’s do a quick roundup of the overarching ways to save.

  •  Ask friends or family to help in place of giving you presents. (See—we told you we’d say it again!)
  • DIY when you can—but make sure you aren’t stressing yourself to the point of not enjoying your big day. And don’t DIY when it would be cheaper in the long run (time and stress and costs included) to hire someone else.
  • Don’t book the first vendor you find—for anything! Compare prices and don’t be afraid to negotiate better rates!

In the end, the best advice we can give, beyond making and keeping your budget, is to remember the wedding is about you—and not about impressing or entertaining others. Communicate clearly and constantly together about what’s important and what’s not, and you’re on your way to the wedding of your dreams. 

And don’t forget to set up a wedding fund in EveryDollar now to start your financial union on the right foot.

Not ready to set up your wedding fund just yet? Start planning with our EveryDollar Wedding Budget Planning worksheet.