Shake that money honey! It’s time to talk about how to create a wedding budget and save money on your wedding expenses. This is for all the couples who are on a budget and need some tips on how to keep track of their costs. As well as, how to plan an amazing wedding without digging yourself into debt.
When a friend of mine told me her wedding cost around $50,000, I couldn’t get my jaw off the floor for a solid minute. Her wedding was gorgeous, but $50,000!? No way could I afford that.
I think as a guest you don’t really pay attention to all the details and what could amount to that much money. However, as a bride and currently planning my wedding, I totally get it. The numbers add up QUICK.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty!
How to Create a General Expense List
Let’s first start with a General Expense List. It isn’t too difficult to create a wedding budget and save money. You just have to make sure you stay on top of all your expenses and the best way to do that is to create an expense list.
You can use Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or a notebook. Just use what you are comfortable with that allows you to make edits and additions.
A General Expense List is a great way to keep track of all of your expenses and is an organizational tool that you can continuously edit and refer to when needed.
On your spreadsheet or piece of paper you are going to create a table of 6 columns and however many rows necessary for your categories, similar to the table below.
This is a very basic table just to give you an idea of how to make your list. Based on the amount of vendors you have your table may have less or more rows.
Quick Guide for Table Setup:
- Category – you will list all of the different types of vendors. (Catering, florist, DJ, etc.)
- Vendors – you will put the company name of the vendor.
- Cost/Quote – you will put the total cost you agreed to pay, or if you are just planning out your budget make this column for the quotes you were given
- Deposit or Paid – this is where you will put how much money you have already paid towards this vendor/category
- Owe – the remaining balance you still owe
- Notes – here you can put what is included in the cost/quote or if there is a refundable deposit; pretty much anything you want to note that pertains to the expense
A simple General Expense List like this allows you to keep a running total of all your expenses and any notes that you may need to remember regarding the vendors or pricing.
Expense List With a Budget
Now if you have a limited budget and want to allocate a certain amount of money per category, you can set up your table a little different.
I would first start out by ranking your categories from highest to least importance. Where do you want to spend most of your money?
For example, if you care about having a really talented photographer more than having huge flower arrangements, you are going to be willing to put more money towards the photographer.
Write down what your total budget is, then disperse the amount accordingly across your categories. Making sure to allocate most of the money on what you consider top priority.
Below is an example of including a budget column in your expense list:
Once you know how much you want to spend per category, you can start reaching out to vendors and compare quotes.
- You decided that you cannot spend more than $1000 on flowers. As you reach out to florists, you would keep this budget in mind while also noting the quality of their work and their customer service.
- Please don’t just book the first person who can keep you under $1000 unless you really do like them. Do your research and talk to multiple people to get a feel for the best person that will suit your needs and bring your vision to life.
Off to the side or below the expense list, I suggest having another small list of the amount of money you have already saved or have been given.
Doing this will give you a good idea of how much more you need to save or what you need to reconsider in order to stay under budget.
Below shows the added savings list:
Having a simple cost list like this will help you keep track of all your expenses and help you figure out how much you need to save or allocate for your wedding.
Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
From what I’ve researched and talked to married couples about, there are a variety of things at weddings that you really don’t need to spend your money on. Some things may sound like a great idea but they can end up being a waste of money.
If you are looking to find ways to cut costs on your wedding day, here are few ideas:
Not having wedding favors can save you quite a bit of money. Many times guests will forget the favor at the venue and it ends up being thrown away.
If you really want some sort of favor at everyone’s seat, wrapping up a dessert cupcake or bag of cookies is a really cute option that can serve as the favor and dessert, so you aren’t spending extra money.
Wedding Programs & Menu Cards
Wedding programs and menu cards are very popular and are a unique touch to any wedding. However, at the end of the night they get thrown away. These are just something that aren’t 100% needed and you can do without.
Save-the-dates & Invitations
Although it is very common to send out save-the-dates, you do not NEED to. There is nothing wrong with sending one round of regular invitations and if you are worried about guests having enough time to plan for your wedding, send them out early.
Another option for save-the-dates would be creating a digital picture, and sending it via text message or email to your guests. It’s not as formal but at least you are getting it out there. Same goes for wedding invitations. I have a friend who sent both her save-the-dates and invitations over text and it worked great.
If you do want to mail out save-the-dates and invitations, another option that can save you money is creating your own on the free app/website Canva. All you have to buy is the cardstock and envelopes, and then you can make them all on your own.
The last tip I have is to use the website magnetstreet.com for ordering your invitations and save-the-date cards. They come with blank envelopes and if you want pre-addressed envelopes you can get them on minted.com. Magnetstreet.com is so much cheaper than using minted.com for the cards. I paid $95 for 90 save-the-date cards, which includes tax and shipping. Whereas, minted.com was $240 without shipping and tax. CRAZY.
These are just another piece of stationary that isn’t necessary. You can create a free wedding website on www.theknot.com and your guests can RSVP on there. This takes a tad more work on your part to upload all of your guests names, but it’s free so it’s worth it!
If you have a few older guests that may not understand how to RSVP online, then you can always send those few a physical RSVP card for them to mail back to you.
Flowers are very expensive, and this is an unpopular opinion but if you are really looking to cut costs, artificial flowers can save you a lot. Fake flowers that look real can be difficult to find, but they are out there! I have a friend who used fake flowers for the bouquets, but real flowers for all the decor. This saved her quite a bit of money. For instance, my bouquets are $65 a piece, which is $455 for 7 of us… that’s a lot.
My florist also gave me the idea of adding real greenery or flowers to artificial garland to make it look fuller and more real which would also be cheaper than buying an entire real garland.
Lastly, reuse your ceremony flowers and decor at your reception. It doesn’t take much to move stuff around and that way you don’t have to buy as many flower arrangements and/or garlands.
This is an obvious one, but some people need to hear it. The number of guests is the biggest factor in how expensive your wedding is going to be. You do not need to invite every single person you’ve ever met to your wedding. OR distant family you haven’t seen or spoken to in years or have never even met!
I know you are worried about offending people, but if they truly were close to you you would not be second guessing inviting them. Same goes for inviting children. If you simply do not have the budget or venue capacity to invite kids, don’t invite them just to make their parents happy. In the end, you have to do what is best for yourself because it is your day, not theirs.
Creating a budget and keeping track of your expenses is a wedding planning must. Going into booking your vendors without thinking about how much you can afford overall is an easy way to overspend and put yourself in debt. Be smart about your wedding planning now so you aren’t stressing about it later.
I hope this blog post helped you to create a wedding budget and save money. You can absolutely have a beautiful wedding without digging yourself into debt. The few cost cutting tips I discussed can help you do that.
If you enjoyed this post, check out 5 Best Wedding Planning Tips That Will Keep You Organized next!