We’ve all heard about the importance of having a wedding budget and I recommend them to anyone going through the planning process, as they can be an important tool to understand, plan, and track expenses. Many couples (61% according to our recent Wedding Finance Survey) are surprised by the cost of various items once they start shopping around, so creating a realistic wedding budget early in the planning process can be very helpful in setting expectations and understanding where trade-offs can be made. However, sometimes creating a budget can be a daunting task, especially for those who are less familiar with “typical” wedding expenses and the process of creating a budget. Therefore, I believe that most couples can benefit from using a budgeting tool that provides a template for their wedding budget.
A good budget tool will provide you with a few things:
- The typical breakdown of expenses across different categories of wedding expenses, which will allow you to understand how a budget is typically allocated by other brides.
- The ability to create your own budget by choosing which items apply to your wedding and then entering in your estimated expense allocation for each.
- The functionality to update your budget during the planning process, and track your actual spending against your budget to understand where you are under or over budget.
- An easy-to-use interface! After all, the easier it is to use, the more likely you’ll be to keep your budget updated.
Of course, building your budget is just the start – managing it is the most important part. I strongly recommend updating your budget frequently as you plan your wedding. For example, Sunday nights can be a good time to re-group with your future spouse on planning and current expenses vs. budget. You’ll also find certain expenses that are higher than initially expected, and it’s helpful to discuss the tradeoffs.
Wedding budget tools can be found online on a number of sites. Try searching for “wedding budget tracker” or “wedding budget calculator” and you’ll see a variety of tools that can provide a helpful base for your planning. We also provide a free, downloadable Wedding Budget Spreadsheet you can use to build and track your budget, in additional to other Wedding Tools, such as our Wedding Checklist.
My colleague, Brad, has also shared some of the key steps in building and managing your wedding budget that you may find helpful.
I wish you all the best in your planning!