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5 essential steps to decide on a wedding budget

By Clara Haslauer

You say yes – you tell your loved ones about the great news and that’s about the time you have to figure out your wedding budget. No budget, no wedding. Hence, this is the very first step you take once you are engaged!
But how can the two of you decide on something so central? These 5 steps make it easy!

1. What type of wedding do you want?

When you close your eyes and imagine the big day – how does it look like?
Do you want to go all William and Kate and have 1,900 people (this would exceed my facebook friend list) or do you want to keep it to family only? Of course those are both extremes, in the U.S. the average wedding has 141 people. The average cost per person is $245 (the knot real wedding study) – so choose wisely who of your acquaintences is worth that money.
Determining how many guests approximately you want to have will make your budget calculation a lot easier.

2. Where do you want to marry?
No need to say that a destination wedding will cost more than elsewhere with the same amount of people. Yet if you only wanted a small wedding anyway – you might even be able to save some money. Nowadays you can find great packages for just 74$ per guest.
Yet, 80% Americans decide to marry close to their home or families. Now the budget will depend on the state you live in – Arkansas is the cheapest U.S. state according to Bloomberg with an average of ‘only’ $19,522, whereas Manhattan is the most expensive spot, with an incredible average of $78,464.

3. Do you have a financial supporter?
Although nowadays, couples usually get married later ensuring income of their own, it is still a custom for parents to at least chip in. On average, the bride’s parents pay 44% and the groom’s around 13%. This shows that although gender inequalities were decreased in the workplace, for a wedding etiquettes it has not. Yet, more importantly it shows – you are not alone and financial help is most likely to come!

4. Prioritize!
You and your partner might have different expectation for your big day – this is the time to share them! If your dream wedding looks the same – perfect, but highly unlikely. To solve this, both think of a list of 3-5 things that you absolutely want and can’t wed without. Add those things to the budget right from the beginning to ensure you can pivot other points around those fixed costs.


5. Spreadsheet it!
There is a big difference between saying you will stick to a budget and actually committing to it. You don’t want to lose track of the numbers halfway through planning and in the end realized you went way over your estimated cost. The only real way to keep your expenses in mind is to write them all down – what better way to do so than in Excel? Here is a template spreadsheet for your budget we are in love with!

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