Weddings are fun! Creating a wedding budget? Not as much fun… But today we’ve got one of our local wedding planner, Melissa from Melissa Dawn Event Designs, sharing with you some tips for creating your wedding budget, a free wedding budget template, plus a list of ideas for smaller-budget weddings!
So are you ready to get on the budgeting train?!
Here are Melissa’s 3 Important Things to Consider When Creating Your Wedding Budget.
1. Figure Out the Basics
Before you nail down your numbers, make sure you ask yourself: Are you paying for everything yourselves or will any family members be contributing?
If either of your parents plan to contribute you will need to know the exact amount in order to factor it into your budget. When starting out, keep in mind that approximately 50% of your budget will go towards your venue, catering, rentals, and planner/designer, combined.
Knowing these numbers will give you a general idea of your budget. Make sure to be realistic about what you want your wedding to be like and what you can afford. Are you planning a luxurious wedding at the Banff Springs Hotel or an intimate wedding in your backyard?
Make your guest list and consider the numbers. Are you planning for 200 guests or 20 guests? Your overall budget will go up or down significantly depending on this number for stationery (think seating chart, place cards, menus), food, drinks, table settings/rentals, and favours as there is a standard cost per person for each of these to consider.
2. Determine Your Priorities
Before you set your budget, you need to ask yourself these three questions:
1. What are your top three priorities?
2. Alternatively, what are the three lowest priorities?
When you identify your top three priorities, such as gourmet food, a top photographer and lots of stunning florals, then you already know where you’re not going to skimp on the spending. If you said having a large cake, a live band and a designer dress aren’t as important to you, then these are the areas where you look to save a little money, allocating it to the other areas.
3. Know Your Hidden Costs
While many vendors offer free consultations or design mockups, that may not be true for all. Make sure to consider the costs for hair and makeup trials as well, not just the price for the day-of styling. If you go overtime with your photographer, venue or planner from your contracted hours, there will most likely be a fee to go with it. Be sure to know these costs up front so it doesn’t come as a surprise if you run into this scenario.
If your planner, designer or photographer are staying for even a portion of your reception, it is generally required that you provide a meal per diem or count them as a guest for your catering. Be sure to discuss this with your vendors ahead of time. These vendors are working anywhere from 8 to 15 hours on your wedding day, so a meal is always appreciated!
Educate yourself on additional service fees such as, Parks Canada, food and beverage gratuity charges, and tourism fees.
Suggestions for Smaller Budgets
Plan a Brunch Wedding
Consider an afternoon only reception, or serving guests brunch in the morning or appetizers in the early afternoon. Not only will you save on drink costs alone (people tend not to drink as much in the daytime) you’ll also save on dinner plate prices and additional lighting decor.
Track Your Budget
Set your budget AND track it. It defeats the purpose of creating a budget if you don’t keep track of where you are spending your money. We suggest tracking your budgeted amount and the actual costs for each vendor and category.
Have a Smaller Wedding Party
Having two bridesmaids or groomsmen – versus five each – will help to limit your costs. Obviously it’s cheaper to purchase gifts, or even hair and makeup for 2 people, plus they will feel even more honoured to be standing beside you.
Limit Your Guest Count
Let’s say for one guest the costs are $45 per plate, $25 per place setting for rentals (plates, charger, glasses, napkin, chair), $10 for stationery (menu, place card, place setting), $10 per favour, $10 drink ticket value. That’s a total cost of $100 per guest. While it’s not always easy (unless you really wanted a reason not to invite your old co-worker), cutting even 10 people from your guest list, in this situation, can save you around $1000 in this example. That can have a big effect on your overall budget.
We know creating a wedding budget can a bit stressful in terms of the wedding planning process, but we hope with some helpful tips from our local community, and some careful planning on your part, you and your fiancé can slay the budgeting game! As a treat, we have a free wedding budget template download (see below) so you can get started tracking your wedding expenses!
Download our Freebie!
Made in Collaboration with
Melissa Dawn Event Designs
Tips from the Pros
Melissa Dawn Event Designs
Melissa Dawn Event Designs specializes in designing & styling highly customized weddings and events for the modern day romantic because we believe everyone deserves to celebrate in style.