Recently engaged? Congratulations! In just a few moments, your life can completely change (for the better). Soon, the questions will flow from excited friends and family members asking, “when are you getting married?”. After you’re engaged, take some time to soak up the moment with your partner. Pretty soon, you’ll have a wedding to plan!
After you’ve had some time to enjoy your engagement, it’s time to begin wedding planning! Paying for a wedding and budgeting can cause many couples stress. However, with good budgeting and communication, wedding planning doesn’t need to be a stressful event. This time should bring you and your partner closer together, as you plan an exciting step in your future together.
In this overview, we’ll help guide you through getting started with your wedding budget. This guide will cover the average cost of a wedding, wedding expenses to consider, financial responsibility, and the basics of wedding budgeting. Let’s get started!
The Cost of a Wedding
As weddings involve so many guests, they’ve always been expensive! However, over the years, weddings have become increasingly pricier. Of course, lots of details will impact how expensive your wedding will be. This includes the guest count, your location, price of vendors, food, and drink, and many other factors.
Statistics for wedding costs vary quite a bit, however, to give you an idea, the average 2020 wedding costs $38,900 (According to Wedding Wire). This included an engagement ring and the honeymoon in the wedding total. It is anticipated that the average cost for a 2022 wedding will increase quite a bit, given the post-COVID wedding boom and changes in the state of the economy.
Other Wedding Expenses
As you and your partner begin to plan a wedding, it’s also important to consider all the other wedding expenses besides the wedding itself. Over time, the wedding industry continues to change, as do standards and trends. Today, many modern couples find themselves facing additional wedding expenses. These include engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, post-wedding brunches, and so much more.
Who Pays for the Wedding?
Just like changes in wedding standards have modernized, who pays for the wedding has changed a lot over time too. Once upon a time, the Bride’s family was expected to pay for most of the wedding expenses. Traditionally, the Groom’s family would possibly pay only for the rehearsal dinner. The Groom himself would be responsible for other wedding needs, such as his attire, his and his partner’s rings, and the marriage license.
While this may have been a wedding standard years ago, times have changed! According to data collected by WeddingWire in 2021, 52% of weddings are paid for by the parents of the bride and/or groom, while 47% of couples pay for their wedding. Of the 52% of couples who have parents who contribute to their wedding expenses, 93% of primary contributors are parents of the bride.
It can be difficult to discuss financial topics with your partner. If there is a major difference in salaries, it can be especially difficult. One of the most common reasons for divorce is money and debt arguments. As you plan for your wedding, take this opportunity to have realistic, honest conversations with your fiancé about finances. While this is helpful for the wedding, it will also be helpful to start working on comfortable conversation techniques for every aspect of your future marriage.
Setting a Budget for your Wedding
Before you dive into Pinterest boards and wedding dress inspiration, begin your wedding planning process by starting a budget. Creating a wedding budget with your partner will help drive every decision you make as you continue through the wedding plan process. As previously mentioned, it’s also great to make sure you and your partner are on the same page!
Start with the Basics
There are so many components to wedding planning, both basic and complex. Before you get ahead of yourself, start with the basics. What is your vision? What is your partner’s vision? Do you dream of an elegant ballroom with 200 guests, or do you want a private elopement or a small wedding? Before you can set a budget and determine what you can and can’t afford, you’ll need to get in touch with what you want.
Be sure not to rush this process! Your friends and family members may even be throwing ideas at you. Big weddings, small weddings, destination weddings… there are endless choices. Deciding what your vision is may not be a quick process. Be patient and give it time to make sure you and your partner can truly get in touch with your vision.
Next Steps in Budgeting
Once you have a detailed vision for your wedding day, you’re ready to move on to the next step of setting a budget. This step involves putting in the research to determine how much it will cost to make your dream day a reality. When budgeting, it’s important to leave yourself adequate flexibility. Things have a way of always costing more than anticipated!
Depending on your wedding vision, this step could vary quite a bit. Create a list of all the vendors and items/things you need for the wedding and begin to get quotes. After you’ve received a few quotes, you’ll start to get an idea of the average cost for the day.
What to Include in the Budget
To get your budgeting started, below are some important categories to consider:
- Ceremony Location
- Reception Location
- Wedding bands for both Bride and Groom
- Food and Drinks (Open bar or no open bar? Dry wedding?)
- Photographer and/or Videographer
- Cake and Desserts
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Wedding Dress and Groom Attire
- Wedding Coordinator
- Invitations and Stationery
- Wedding Décor/Signs
- Marriage License/Paperwork
- Tips for Vendors
- Prenup Costs
As you can see, there are so many aspects to budgeting for a wedding. While these are some of the most common components of a wedding, this is not an exhaustive list. Add categories to personalize your budget!
Determining a Maximum Budget Number
As your wedding planner, you’ll find that new ideas and visions seem to pop up. Soon, you’ll find your list of expenses getting longer and longer. To keep this in check, we recommend creating a “maximum spend” number. This number is the absolute most you can afford to spend on a wedding. While you should aim to keep your wedding total well below this maximum, this will give you a buffer if new wedding costs arise.
When creating your budget, don’t stress! Although weddings can be expensive, there are lots of creative ways to spend money. Endless resources are available for planning on a wedding on a tight budget. Check out these seven ways to help save money on your wedding.
As previously mentioned, the bride’s parents used to be responsible for paying for wedding expenses. This is no longer the case! In 2022, determining who is responsible for wedding expenses can be tricky. Before you approach your family about responsibilities, it will help to have a detailed budget number. Approaching your family without details could lead to sticky situations.
The best way to handle determining responsibility for weddings is by being honest! Though it can be uncomfortable to ask for money, the right approach can make all the difference. Before either partner approaches the family, be sure you’re both on the same page about your contributions and approach to asking for help.
Paying for a Prenuptial Agreement
Have you and your partner discussed a prenuptial agreement? You may want to add the expense of a prenup into your wedding budget. Using HelloPrenup makes getting a prenup simple, quick, and cost efficient. HelloPrenup charges a one-time, flat-rate fee of only $599 per couple.
Besides the low price, HelloPrenup also makes getting a prenup super easy. The online questionnaire takes only about 90 minutes to complete. Think of all the money and time you’ll save! To learn more about getting started with your personalized prenup, check out HelloPrenup today!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected]