One of the most important tasks when planning your wedding is setting your wedding budget. It might sound like an extra work to do, when all you want is to have the most amazing day of your life but believe me, you’ll be glad that you’ve done this bit of preparation work right at the beginning of your wedding planning. Your wedding budget is absolutely crucial for delivering your special day, and you certainly don’t want money to come between you and your partner. If you are not careful, your wedding cost can run away with you, and you certainly don’t want to end up with a huge bank overdraft at the beginning of your marriage.

The average wedding can cost in the USA can cost over $30.000, and that doesn’t even include the honeymoon. Some can even cost over $50,000. In the UK the average cost is about £30,000, which has rapidly grown over the last 20 years from about £10,000 in 2000. That’s a lot of money to spend on one day!

So, before you get rushing off to the most expensive bridal shop, let’s sit down and hopefully, still with a cool head, work out how much money you have to spend on your big day.

Yes, it may be the most important day of your life, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. You have to decide what kind of wedding you really want and incorporate your plans into what you can afford. Once you have an idea about what sort of money you are able to allocate for your special day, you can start to break it down to each individual costs.

Here is a breakdown of each element of your wedding and an approximate percentage of what the cost is likely to be.

The wedding budget percentages breakdown

bride’s dress, accessories & groom suit – 10%

Wedding Rings – 10%

ceremony – 5%

reception (venue hire, food, drinks) – 40%

Wedding Cake – 5%

Bridal Cars & Transport – 3%

Wedding Invitations – 2%

professional photos or video – 10%

music – 5%

the wedding planner (if using) – 10%

flowers and venue decorations – 6%

Favours & Small Gifts – 4%

miscellaneous & stash money for emergencies 5%

Not included in the cost, but you’ll need to allocate some money towards:

Honeymoon (including honeymoon outfits, spending money etc.)

Hen Night

Stag Night

These are, of course, only approximate percentages, and once you know the exact cost for each category, you can start deciding on where to trim your budget.

For instance, if you have a £10,000 budget (or $10,000), this means you can spend $200 or £200 on wedding invitations. The question now is, can your supplier provide you with all your wedding invitations for £200 or is this cost too high or too low? At this point, it’s a good idea to get some quotes in, especially for the large items in your wedding budget, such as the wedding venue, the bride’s dress and catering.

Once you figure out how much you can spend in each category and how realistic these costs are, all decisions suddenly become much easier to make. If for example, you find that the cost of live music is too much, you can change it to a venue provided DJ and re-allocate the budget somewhere else.

No wedding budget is too big, but no matter how much money you have to spend, your budget planning needs to be realistic.

Weddings that are formal and are held in hotels, stately homes or other popular wedding venues can be quite expensive and may require more money than you had planned.

The time of year for your wedding can also make a difference. The summer months typically are the most popular and also expensive.

Even the type of day you choose will make a difference to your budget. Weekend weddings are always more expensive than weddings held during a week. You’ll notice this as you go to your favourite wedding venue and they offer you two different types of prices. Weekend hire could be as much as 100% more than hire during the weekday.

Also, keep in mind the size of your wedding. Remember, the more guests you invite, the more expensive your wedding will be.

If you are looking to choose a formal sit-down dinner, it will also be more expensive than a buffet. Drinks – alcohol and champagne can also take a large part of your wedding reception budget.

Don’t worry if your wedding budget doesn’t pay for everything you were dreaming of when you first started planning your wedding. By writing everything down and looking at your budget, you’ll be able to see where all the expenses are going and perhaps decide that some elements are not as important as you previously thought. You can always re-allocate your budget from one item to another.

The bride and groom should set up and manage the wedding budget together. Remember, it’s easy for things to get out of hand, so keep it tight and organized.