Creating Your Budget

Create a total wedding budget.  When it is all said and done, what is the amount you want to have spent.  Make this a complete amount.  If your parents are paying a certain amount, you're pitching in, and the grooms parents are covering certain aspects, include it all.  Now, make a list of everything you are going to need for the big day (you know I got your back, girl!).  Is there any items you don't have to pay for or things someone is gifting to you?  You can write a $0 by those things.

Order of Importance

I always have my brides give me their order of importance.  Some will tell you that of your total wedding budget you should spend x% on each item but I like to do it a little different.  Close your eyes.  When you think about your wedding day, what do you see 1st?  Is it you in your gorgeous couture gown?  Is it you and your new hubby dancing the night away to a 10 piece band? Take that itemized list from above and number them. With one being the MOST important and go all the way to least important. Spend your money on the things you and your groom are excited about and consider crucial.  When you prioritize from the get go, decision making gets a little easier.  Take care of those “must haves” first.

Who Pays for What

This can be a touchy subject.  Money matters can always be an awkward discussion.  But, power through and have the talk.  If this is done up front, there is no guess work.  Unmet expectations can be a tough start to your new joining of families.  Imagine this: You assume since your groom's parents paid for their other son's 7 day trip to Fiji that they are going to do the same for the two of you.  So, when you see the amazing online sale for an all inclusive honeymoon at the same resort you jump at the offer and pay with your credit card.  Later that day, your fiance comes home and you are jumping up and down about how you saved $2,000 and maybe his parents will just throw in the savings for that cool band you've been dying to hire.  But, your groom isn't smiling.  He forgot to mention that his dad had a major account fall through at work and they aren't going to be able to help with the honeymoon.  OUCH!  So, let's get all of this settled from the get go. You don't have to be pushy.  Clear communication is key!

Setting Realistic Goals

Believe me, I am all about dreaming big and doing the impossible. But girls, if you have 300 people coming to your wedding and your total budget is $4000, you cannot serve them a seated dinner with filet mignon.  Be realistic!


  • Lower that guest list!  It's not easy but it is the best thing to do to keep your budget in check!  It effects so many things (rental, floral, catering, etc.)
  • Have a smaller wedding party.  
  • Have your ceremony and reception at the same place.
  • Look for a gorgeous venue.  The prettier the surroundings the less decor you will need.
  • Unless you have a free venue, search for one that includes things like tables and chairs.  The more your venue includes the less your rental bill will be.
  • Don't pay someone for alcohol.  Find a place where you can bring your own.  This saves a ton of money.  Also, serve beer, wine, and a signature drink only.  Open bars are not only expensive but they are also a big liability.
  • Hire a great DJ instead of a band.  Not only do bands charge more but many of them have requirements in their contract that most DJs do not.  (If you have to feed a 12 person band, it obviously incurs more expense than feeding 1 DJ.)
  • Use your faves in small doses.  If you have to have peonies but can't really afford them, just use them in your bouquet.  Or if you don't want to spend a fortune on linens but love the custom look, place one on your cake table only.
  • Fall in love with greenery.  Floral arrangements that are packed full of mainly flowers are a great deal more expensive than those that have greens in them.
  • Be open to different menu options.  Food can be the biggest expense at a wedding. Shop around and talk to caterers.  See what will give you the biggest bang for your buck.


Lesson 1Lesson 2 - Lesson 3 - Lesson 4 - Lesson 5 - Lesson 6 - Lesson 7 - Bonus

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