When starting off planning a budget for a wedding, all of the pricing information can become a bit overwhelming. However, by breaking down your decided budget into percentages, it is a bit easier to keep each needed wedding detail within your budget. The first step is to figure out exactly how much you would like to spend overall. Once this figure has been decided, it becomes easier to determine how much to spend on individual wedding details. Of course, based on your personal preference, and plans, you can certainly adjust the suggested percentages to fit your taste and style. Every wedding is different, as every couple is different, so these budget percentages may not be exactly what you are looking to spend on each option. However, if you have no idea where to start, this is a great way to at least get an idea of how to break up your budget.
Once you have decided on your guest list, date, and venue, you will need to order, or create, your wedding invitations. Many couples also send out Save the Dates, especially if guests will be coming in from out of town, as those who live farther away may need extra time to plan for traveling. After the wedding, you will also need to send out Thank You cards to guests for any gifts you received. When adding up the cost of Save the Dates, invitations, and Thank You cards, you will also want to be sure to remember that you will need to account for postage. Most couples spend an average of 2-3% of their budget on stationary and postage. If you are hoping to use high end stationary, with lace cut out details, or gold leaf, you will want to be sure to set aside 5-6% of your budget. To put that in dollars, if you are working with a $20,000 total budget, the average amount to spend on stationary would be $400 to $600. The higher end percentage amount of your budget would be to spend $1000 to $1200 on your stationary. If you are a DIY couple, you may be able to cut these costs to be an even smaller percentage of your budget. Just keep in mind, DIY projects take much more time and effort than simply ordering premade or predesigned options. But if you are feeling up to it, this can be a great way to save money!
Not surprisingly, your reception will be a much larger percentage of your budget. Depending on your chosen venue, you may need to also consider setting aside a percentage of your budget for a ceremony site. For just the ceremony site, couples typically spend about 3-5% of their budget, although some couples will spend up to 9-15% for a site they really love. Some venues will include both the ceremony site and the reception site, which is a great way to combine this expense. An average reception will take up about 35-50% of your budget. Keep in mind, the high end of these percentages not only includes the venue, but also includes the cost of food, drinks, cake, and entertainment. Some venues offer all-inclusive deals, which is a wonderful way to simplify breaking down your budget, as well as take away some of the headache of planning. When calculating the percentages into dollar amounts, again estimating a $20,000 budget, you would be looking to spend $600 to $1000 on average for the ceremony site. Couples that decide to splurge a bit on the ceremony site, may end up spending between $1800 and $3000. For the reception, the average spent out of a $20,000 overall budget, would be about $7000 to $10,000. Remember to discuss all of the details of what is included in the price with the event coordinator at your chosen venue. This will help to determine if you will have to budget separately for other items or services, such as bartenders or music.
Hopefully, these percentage amounts will give you a good place to start when planning your wedding budget. Of course you may not have a $20,000 budget, but with the national average being about $30,000-$40,000, this is a great starting point for those couples looking to keep a lid on wedding spending. The percentages above can, of course, be applied to any budget, as well as adjusted for personal preference of spending. If you are planning on having a tented wedding, you may end up spending quite a bit less than 35-50% for your reception and ceremony sites. Again, DIY couples may be able to save hundreds on stationary by making their own invitations. You can divide up your budget however you feel works best for your plans, but using averages can be a very helpful place to start. Thanks for reading, and happy wedding planning!