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How to create a wedding budget and stick to it

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Learn how to create and stick to a budget for your wedding, ensuring a stress-free planning process. Get tips and tricks to make your wedding dreams come true.

Welcome to our blog on wedding planning and overcoming wedding stress. In today's blog, I'll share how to create a wedding budget and stick to it, so you can have an stress-free and enjoyable wedding planning experience!

How do I create a budget & stick to it? That is a big ole question!

I’ll be honest, I love a spreadsheet as much as the next excel nerd… but I love Etsy and I went a little wild – I think these fake tatoos of our faces are proof enough? (They are amazing though, right?!).

But my hubby, he expected a budget tracked as if he was on his blinking construction site. And you know what… He was right, we had a tracking process that worked.

That is… until he got drunk on the wedding and put a ridiculous amount behind the bar.

Anyway… sticking to what should work, before 20 Baby Guinness.

Sister with a personalised tattoo wedding favour
Yes, this is my sister enjoying a 2am crisp sandwich with a tattoo of us on her arm! They were really good crisp butties.


Starting Up

Things all start with when you want to get married, if it’s next year, you’ll have less time to save, if it’s 3 years from now, you’ve got a bit of time.

So, step 1 is to choose a season(ish) and year.

Step 2 is to work backwards, how much can you feasibly put away each month, whilst having enough to live, and enough for contingency. It’s so important that you think about this sensibly, you could put away all the money you aren’t spending each month, but what happens if your car breaks down? Or your dog gets ill? (I really hope these don’t happen!), or you just realise, 3 years of no holidays sounds really grim?

I also want to say, it’s okay to think about a loan for your wedding, in fact, it’s a pretty good idea, if you get a decent interest rate. But make sure it’s a loan you can honestly afford, have a look at Money Saving Expert, they have some great advice!

Essentially, take your time on this really dull, really painful phase before you do anything else.

Step 3 is to see if there are funds coming from anywhere else, are your parents helping? Do you want some separate funds that you’ll pay for from elsewhere?

Then you have your overall budget to work with.

It may change, you may win some money, you may get a promotion (go you!) or you may have just a change in circumstance leaving some spare cash. Don’t worry about that at this point, work through that later down the line and amend your budget accordingly.


Get your wedding priorities right

This is where things start getting interesting.

Take a look at my previous blog ‘How do I start planning my wedding?’ for a few bits of advice.

Then take some time to think about what matters to you. What are your priorities? where do you really want to spend the time and money to get right? get this in order before you do anything.

This is where The Wedding Hand can really help you to get your priorities in order and decide where to spend that money. So get in touch.


Write everything for your wedding budget down

Brain dump your heart out, write down all the areas you want to spend money on.

Get everything down. Everything.


Do your research

Now it’s time to start doing a bit of general research on what you think things will cost, bearing in mind where your priorities are.

If your top priority is the smaller details for the guests, your stationary and favours budget will be higher. If it’s the venue décor… then the venue, flowers and décor costs will be higher. If it’s the entertainment… then the activities and band will likely be more expensive.

You don’t have to jump in and go with the highest costs out there.

Usually, the wedding venue and food takes up around 50% of the costs, but may be more or less depending on the vibe and priorities you have.

The Wedding Hand can simplify this for you and support with creating that initial budget.


Start creating your budget

Excel does the trick, build out columns for:

· Your budget

· What you get quoted from your favourite supplier

· How much you’ve spent

· Add at the bottom a calculation so you can see whether you’re under or over budget.

If you are an excel whizz, you may want to add in columns to say what else is left to pay, or the difference in spending.

Here is a simple template for you to use on the blog, this isn’t quite what we use at The Wedding Hand, but is a simple version for you to easily track spending!


Get your budget written up

Then it’s time to get decisive and decide how much is being spent on each area following your research.

Pop in those expected numbers into the budget column… these should all add up to your total budget. If you’ve got some left add it into a different area, if you’ve gone over, see where you can shave off some money.


Tips & Tricks

Once the budget tracker is set-up here are my top tips for keeping it useful:

1. Once you’ve got the wedding venue and food costs, amend the actual budget column as well as your quotes – you may want to do this for all things, but do bear in mind there may be additional last-minute costs.

2. Update the tracker at least once a month with your spending and quotes.

3. Note down the payment dates here as well, it will keep everything in one place so you don’t end up having a payment date spring up on you.

4. If things change, don’t panic, add and lose money where you need to, just keep balancing the budget column to meet your budget. I’ll do a later blog on what happens if you go over budget.

5. Get a wedding debit card, that way you have a bank account, with all your wedding spend in one place, you will know how much you have each month, and you will be able to update your budget really easily with just 10 minutes a month, since the spending is coming from one place. Money Saving Expert has great advice on the best cards!


And that’s it, it’s actually quite fun, just make it your own and enjoy doing it. Tracking your budget will make your wedding planning less stressful.

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