5 Strategies for Sticking to Your Wedding Budget

A miniature bride and groom on top of a calculator to signify a wedding budget.

Weddings are wonderful celebrations of love and partnership, but they can also be expensive events that require intentional forethought and budgeting. It can be difficult in the flurry of wedding planning to make sure you stick to the budget you and your spouse-to-be have created, but keeping your money in check during this time will save you a lot of headaches later. Here are some tips to keep yourself on track as you get ready for your big day!

1. Create a Written Budget

A woman trying on a wedding dress with lace and buttons on the back.

When putting together your wedding budget, don’t just choose an arbitrary final number and consider it done. Your budget needs to be specific and include the different items and categories that you want to make sure you have earmarked for your wedding day. A great way to go about this is to begin by sitting down with your partner and creating a list of priorities for both of you. Maybe it’s very important to you to have a particular band or photographer, but you can wiggle a little on the choice of catering. Or maybe your first priority is a specific venue or a designer dress, but you can choose a more budget-friendly invitation suite. There is no right or wrong with this priority list; it’s completely up to you and your partner and what your genuine preferences are. This is incredibly useful, however, because once you know where each of you stand and have decided together where you’d like to focus your wedding finances, it’s much easier to make clear, informed decisions when it comes to cost. Do make sure you write all of this down, so you can continue to reference it throughout the planning process. And don’t forget to include a miscellaneous category for little things that will come up that you may not have originally considered—the last thing you want is for those “little things” to bust your entire budget!

2. Make a Wedding Bank Account

Whether you and your spouse-to-be have a combined bank account already or not, it can be a great idea to create a completely separate one that you both have access to and use exclusively for your wedding finances. You can each put money into the account as you decide together, and you can use it for all deposits, online purchases, and so on. It’s very helpful to have this account separate and exclusive to your wedding budget because it’s extremely easy to take a look at it and see where you are with saving the necessary funds. It’s also useful for making wedding-related purchases, as you can use your wedding debit card or wedding checks for whatever you need to get without accidentally cutting into your grocery money!

3. Save a Little Bit Each Month

As you put together your wedding account, take a look at what you’ve planned as your final number for your wedding budget, and then see how much time you have before the big day. When you divide it up, you’ll be able to see very clearly how much you and your partner will need to save each month in order to have enough. If you save up each month and put that predetermined amount into your wedding account, you won’t need to worry about coming up short at your reception. Along these same lines, it’s recommended that you save up for your wedding and only use cash, rather than loans or credit cards, to pay for the celebration. Although it seems easy to swipe a credit card for these purchases and pay it back later, it will be a real drag to return from your honeymoon and realize that you’re going to be paying for that reception dinner for the next year. It’s much better to have the money saved up and stick to your budget, so you can return from your big day with only positive memories and no loan payments or credit card bills!

4. Don’t Second Guess Yourself

A woman reading a wedding magazine in her living room.

As I’m sure you know, wedding planning involves making a ton of choices: dress style, white or cream table linens, music selection, and hundreds more! Once you’ve made a decision about something, allow yourself to accept that decision and move forward with confidence in your choice. For example, if you’ve chosen your wedding gown and know that you love it, don’t continue to look at dresses in wedding magazines or online boutiques. When you do things like that, you’re setting yourself up to second guess your own choices and it’s a recipe for stress and self-doubt. Trust yourself and your instincts and when you make a decision, check that right off of your list and move on to the next one.

5. Don’t Fall Into Comparison

Similar to the last point, but just as important, is the idea that you should not be comparing your wedding choices with anyone else’s. Once you get engaged and start to wedding plan, it seems like everyone around you is getting married or every show on TV features extravagant affairs with 6-figure budgets. Do not let yourself get sucked into the comparison trap of trying to make your day anything but your own! Your friend may have had her reception is a gorgeous ballroom, but don’t let yourself compare and start to worry that now everyone will hate your barn wedding. Your wedding needs to reflect you and your partner and no one else, so don’t allow yourself to get swept up in other people’s preferences, styles, or budgets; they might not look like yours and that’s perfectly okay!

With these tips in mind, you can move forward with your wedding (and your wedding budget) with confidence and clarity. Keep your priorities in mind, set up an account specifically for your wedding, save a little each month, trust yourself, kick comparison to the curb, and you’ll be just fine!

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