A 6-Step Guide To Budgeting For Your Wedding

Are you currently planning a wedding? One thing you might have heard a thousand times is that the biggest mistake when planning is going over the budget. While it’s true that it’s quite easy to go over the budget, it’s also possible to achieve the perfect wedding within a figure that is reasonable to you. Today, we’re delving into a step-by-step budgeting guide that will help you do just that. 

Wedding budget

Step 1: Conceptualise your wedding

Before even thinking about your wedding budget, you should be considering your wedding as a whole event. This helps you to collect concrete ideas about what your wedding will actually be like, and will help give clarity to your budget planning.

You should think about these things before moving onto your budget:

  • How many guests will there be? Many items in the budget depend on the number of guests. At the very least, try to have a ballpark figure. This will help you figure out most other costs like the venue, catering and transport.
  • What kind of atmosphere do you want to achieve? Try to describe your wedding with illustrative words like casual, fun, intimate, formal, relaxed or entertaining. Think about the weddings you’ve been to in the past. It may even help to collate these words visually to understand your ideas in a more concrete way.


Step 2: Set a blanket budget figure

Now you should be thinking about how much money in total you’re allowing yourself to spend. At this point, it’s well worth sitting down with your partner and discussing how much you’re both willing and able to spend on the big day. If your family has offered financial assistance with the wedding, don’t forget to factor this into the final figure as well.


Step 3: Break down that figure

The next step is to split your wedding into various categories and then break down your total figure into smaller figures for each category. It might be helpful to break down your figure into percentages if you aren’t sure about the exact dollar cost yet. This allows you to prioritise based on percentage, too.

Some examples of wedding budget categories include:

  • Venue (and church rental)
  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Flowers
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Cake
  • Attire
  • Hair and makeup
  • Décor and lighting
  • Invites (and other printed goods)
  • Legal paperwork


Step 4: Keep an emergency allowance

It’s absolutely essential to set aside money in your budget for unexpected costs. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 5% of the budget for hidden expenditure.

Obviously, we can’t predict what these costs are going to be. However, based on other weddings, some commonly unexpected costs include:

  • Meals for vendors
  • Beauty treatments
  • Overtime costs for vendors
  • Open bar costs


Step 5: Rethink

In the process of planning your budget, you might find that you can’t afford to have the exact items – whether it’s the flower arrangement, lighting or decorations. In this case, you’ll have to rethink these items and find ways of reworking them into your budget.

Here are some ways you can rethink aspects of your budget:

  • Ask yourself, is there anyone invited that can contribute to the wedding? You might have a great photographer in the family or someone who can bake a wedding cake. That way, you won’t have to spend anything (or perhaps you’ll spend less) on those items. This might be the difference between keeping and giving up the desired item that might just be out of reach at the moment.
  • Try to negotiate with vendors. Always be polite and humbly explain that you love their work and it would be perfect for your wedding, but it’s just out of reach. You might find they’ll be willing to customise a package just for your budget!
  • See if you can find replacement items. Be open-minded and flexible – the cheaper alternative can be just as good.
  • Can you DIY anything? It’s surprising how much you can save by doing so. There are plenty of online resources that will show you how to achieve expensive-looking décor, gifts and even flower arrangements by yourself.


Step 6: Keep strict records

It’s time to get more specific with your budget. For example, you might know the food allowance percentage, but what exactly does that involve? What kind of food is that, and does that amount allow for the extra-hungry guests?

You should keep a running document of quotes as well, so you can easily compare prices offered by various vendors. This will make your job much easier when you go on to the next step and actually start putting down payments.


If you’re looking to factor transportation into your wedding budget, you should look into a wedding bus hire service. Melbourne On The Move offers wedding bus hire as well as corporate coach hire and bus tours. Call today on 1300 55 86 86 and our friendly assistants can help you plan your wedding transport.