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I’m Engaged! Now What? Part 1: Wedding Budget

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This post on working with a wedding budget is just Part 1 of our “I’m Engaged!” series. You can learn more about planning the wedding of your dreams with Part 2 and Part 3!!

Congratulations, you’re engaged!! Finding the person you will spend your life with is so joyful, and now? It’s time to plan that wedding!

There are two main categories of brides: The “I’m planning my own wedding and loving every minute of it!” bride,


the “I really don’t care what color the invitations are/I don’t really enjoy organizing an event/I just wish someone else would handle all of this and that would be just fine with me” bride.

Whether you are one of these brides, or a bride that falls somewhere in between, the first thing I would recommend you do before anything else is to establish a wedding budget.

how to set a wedding budget - Splendry


Part 1: Wedding Budget

Your budget can determine what type of wedding you will have – formal or informal. To get started you need to decide who is going to pay for what, how much you actually have to spend, where the money is going to come from, and how it will impact your overall budget and lifestyle.

Who is paying for what?

Below are the traditional divisions of financial responsibilities for a wedding. It is very possible that you may have agreed with your fiancé and your families on a different division of responsibilities. This is a guideline based on tradition, not “wedding law set in stone”.


  • Bride and family pay for a facility and included fees
  • Groom and family pay for marriage license and officiant’s fee


  • Bride and family pay for bride’s dress, veil, accessories and trousseau (lingerie and honeymoon clothes)
  • Groom and family pay for groom’s attire
  • Typically all attendants pay for their own attire, but that is your decision


  • Bride and family pay for arrangements for church (including huppah if a Jewish ceremony) and reception, plus bouquets and corsages for bridesmaids and flower girls.
  • Groom and family pay for bride’s bouquet and going-away corsage, boutonnieres for men, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers.


  • Bride and family pay for all wedding photos and video.

Pre-wedding Parties

  • Bride or groom’s family plans and hosts engagement party; if there is more than one, bride’s family hosts the first one.
  • Groom’s family plans and hosts the rehearsal dinner.
  • Bride plans and hosts bridesmaids’ luncheon.
  • Groom hosts and plans bachelors’ dinner.
  • Maid of honor and bridesmaids host shower.
  • Best man and ushers host bachelor party.
  • Friends may throw additional engagement parties or showers.


  • Bride and family pay for all professional services, including food, drink, decorations, and music.


  • Bride and/or her family pay for groom’s ring.
  • Groom and/or his family pay for both of the bride’s rings.


  • Bride and family pay for invitations, announcements, and wedding programs.


  • Bride and family pay for transportation of bridal party to and from ceremony and reception.


  • Groom and family pay for complete honeymoon.

How much can I afford?

Before you go any further you need to assess exactly how much you can afford to spend. Remember that the funds must come from somewhere, so be very considerate when planning your budget. You want to make sure you still have money to live on now, and after your wedding.

Below are suggested percentages for what you can expect to spend for each aspect of your wedding. (*Note: These are only examples.) Next you will need to decide what portions of your wedding are most important and least important. Then you may want to adjust the percentages accordingly. I have included a FREE budget tracker outline to download to use and adjust to your needs.

Here is a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:

  • Ceremony: 2%-3%
  • Reception: 48%-50%
  • Attire: 8%-10%
  • Flowers: 8%-10%
  • Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
  • Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
  • Stationery: 2%-3%
  • Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
  • Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
  • Gifts: 2%-3%
  • Miscellaneous: 8%
  • To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund.
  • If you’re paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.

Where is the money coming from?

Whether you are paying for it yourself, or your family is able to help you out, you need to be aware of where the funds will be coming from to get you that dream wedding. It would be a good idea to calculate how much of your monthly income you will need to begin setting aside, as well as being more limited on your “non-wedding purchases” (i.e. Starbucks, trips to the mall, movies, etc.)

You should also keep your wedding funds separate from your everyday funds so as not to confuse the two. To make the most of your money look in to putting your wedding savings into a money market account, if you have a longer engagement. Using a money market instead of a traditional savings account can earn you enough interest to cover your “just-in-case” fund. Otherwise, creating an account that is just for wedding expenses will make it much easier to stay on track.

** My {added}Two Cents: I highly recommend  that all who will be involved with finances for the wedding (i.e. bride’s parents, groom’s parents, and bride & groom together, other participants) be open in communication about the division of duties and make sure you are on the same page as those helping out. This will prevent miscommunication, possible hurt feelings, and it makes sure that your bases are covered and understood.

Most of all, remember that the most important part of your wedding is not the event itself, but the union you are creating. Have fun planning and making that day special & at the end of that day you will be husband and wife!

Happy  planning!

Originally published October 7, 2015

Ready for Part 2? Find out why this is one of the most helpful things you can add to your wedding prep!

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