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How to Set a Wedding Budget

Keep your special day’s expenses on track so you want have to start married life in debt.


  • Step 1: Calculate the total Calculate the amount you and your future spouse have to spend on the wedding. Include contributions from family and friends.
  • Step 2: List all expenses List all of the items and vendors you will need and dedicate a percentage of your budget to each.
  • Step 3: Research Research the vendors for every item. Prices for food, flowers, music, and photography can vary greatly.
  • TIP: Adjust each percentage to reflect your priorities. If floral arrangements and bouquets are particularly important to you, you can add money there and cut back in other areas, like on music.
  • Step 4: Determine guest list Determine exactly how many people you plan to invite. A good portion of the expenses, such as catering, invitations and postage, and centerpieces, depend on the size of the guest list.
  • Step 5: Decide what to wear Consider costs for attire, such as the wedding dress, headpiece and veil, shoes and accessories, jewelry, hair and makeup, and the groom's tuxedo or suit. Plan to spend about 10 percent of your budget on attire.
  • Step 6: Consider reception costs Determine how much to spend on the reception. Nearly half of a wedding budget is typically spent on the hall, catering, wedding cake, and favors.
  • TIP: You may want to purchase wedding insurance to protect yourself from the unexpected.
  • Step 7: Remember details Don't forget the little things, like transportation for the wedding party, valet parking, gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen, and gifts for out-of-town guests.
  • FACT: The train on Princess Diana’s wedding dress was 25 feet long.

You Will Need

  • An expense list
  • Research
  • A guest list
  • Wedding insurance (optional)

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