One of the most crucial elements during the early stages of planning your wedding is to come up with an accurate budget. In most cases, your expenses should be decided before any other decisions are made. Generally, this will help you choose what your price range is for certain wedding related expenses. Additionally, it allows you to look at practical options that suit your needs. However, in order to do it right, you absolutely need a wedding budget worksheet.
For this purpose, I’ve created a simple yet effective PDF that you can download and use for free. The wedding budget worksheet below has itemized expense sections for ceremony, reception, attire, rings, flowers, music, photography, transportation, stationary, and gifts. Each section has budget percentages based on an average wedding cost. Using this PDF, just like all of our free downloadable templates, will help you allocate the right amount of money for certain aspects of your wedding. Additionally, it will make the planning process a whole lot easier. Just click on the download link below.
A Breakdown of Our Free Downloadable Wedding Budget Worksheet
Below, I’ll break down the different line items on the sheet. This should help you have a better idea of each aspect and how it fits into the overall budgeting strategy. Remember, the more you prepare in advance the more successful you’ll be. Here’s what you need to know.
The top line of the worksheet is the most important because it will determine the full price of your wedding. In order to breakdown each expense, you need to know what you’re working with. Once you know your total, you can breakdown a micro-budget for each of the subsequent sections.
Your ceremony is one of the most important parts of your event, but it’s certainly not the most expensive. In fact, it should only take up about 3% of your expenses on average. Ceremony costs include the location fee, officiant fee, marriage license, musician’s fees, ring pillows etc. This percentage is driven by the fact that most people use the same location for both the ceremony and reception; so most of the expenses are rolled into the reception fees.
Your reception is by far the largest expense you should face at a lofty 48% on our wedding budget worksheet. Of course, it covers the reception site, food, drinks, party rentals, cake, decorations, and favors such as wedding sparklers; so the high price tag shouldn’t be too surprising. However, it’s important to spend a lot of your time on this section so you don’t end up going over-budget. By compartmentalizing these items, you can easily get the celebration your want and keep it within your overall cost target.
Buying and renting attire is another considerable expense to pay attention to on the wedding budget worksheet. At a substantial 10%, you need to pay attention to these details. Additionally, you need to acquire a lot of different items to look great on your big day! Here’s a quick breakdown of what this section covers.
- Bride’s dress and shoes
- Undergarments and hosiery
- Hair and makeup
- Groom’s tuxedo or suit and shoes
- Bow tie
- Cuff links
Lots of people think that you need to go crazy on how much you spend on rings. However, most people are actually quite modest compared to the overall price of the event. Overall, the average couple reports only spending around 3% of their entire budget on his and hers rings, as well as custom engraving. However, most people don’t include the cost of the engagement ring in this expense since it’s usually been owned for awhile before the actual wedding. If you can keep your expectations down to Earth, it will go a long way in keeping you on target.
You guessed it; flowers are always expensive for your wedding. At 8%, it’s nearly triple what most couples spend on the ceremony! However, flowers are a classic item that most people feel are essential for your wedding decorations. This section includes the bride’s bouquet, maid-of-honor and bridesmaid bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, centerpieces, and the flower-girl basket; as well as the arrangements you want scattered throughout the ceremony and reception. So, many couples don’t feel like they have any choice in the matter at all. Fortunately, there are plenty of great alternatives such as wooden roses or paper flowers that can keep your costs down. Overall, this can be a great place to save a little money on your event.
Music is the lifeblood of any good reception, and it shows on our wedding budget worksheet. Though 8% may seem a little high, it will include things like ceremony musicians, reception band or DJ, cocktail hour musicians, and the sound system rental. Sadly, some people try to skimp on the entertainment by plugging in their iPod or MP3 player. Unfortunately, this rarely works out well and your entire event ends up being a bust. Trust me; this is one section you want to pay close attention too.
Hiring a great photographer for your wedding is vital to commemorate the moment beautifully. Whether you want just still photos or also a videographer, you should expect to pay about 12% of your entire nut for these memories. Remember, this will include the photographer and videographer’s fees, photo albums, additional prints, and disposable cameras for candid shots. However, if you do your research and choose the right people, the price will be well worth it.
Transportation is a “luxury” expense for some couples, but for others it completely sets the mood. Additionally, there are situations where it’s completely unavoidable due to your venue choice. For instance, sometimes you need to shuttle people between the ceremony and reception sites. This portion of the wedding budget worksheet covers transportation for wedding party, and guest shuttle or parking attendants. Overall, it adds up to about 2% of what you’ll spend in total.
Stationary is one of the most overlooked expenses during the planning process. It’s easy to forget about how expensive things like invitations, response cards, thank you notes, postage, calligraphy, and guest books are. At the end of the day, you can expect to be hit with a bill around 3% of your overall costs.
Lastly, you should never forget about the gifts that you need to give out to your wedding party and guests. You need to take into account things like bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, something for your parents, and welcome baskets for out-of-town guests. When you add it all up, it should be around 3% of what you have in your overall budgeting plans.
Customizing Your Wedding Budget Worksheet
Of course, these are just guidelines created from what a survey of married couples spent their money on. If you want to save money and get creative, there are plenty of ways to customize your wedding budget worksheet to correct it. For instance, perhaps you are having your event outdoors in a garden and can eliminate the flower costs. Or, maybe your maid of honor happens to be married to a photographer. Feel free to alter or change things to suit your personality and expense needs. If you’re looking for ways to save money, check out our inspiration galleries for some help. With some creativity, you can have the wedding of your dreams on any budget!