Setting a wedding budget and sticking to it

Setting a Wedding Budget (... and sticking to it!)

How to Set a Realistic Budget for Your Wedding

How Do I Start Setting a Wedding Budget and Stick To It?

You’ve got your ring. The love of your life. Now, you’re probably seeing dollar signs! $$$$

When it comes to setting a budget for one of the biggest days of your life, where do you begin? It’s not an easy question to ask but start with ‘who’s paying’. Setting a wedding budget: Whether your budget is $10,000 or $100,000, have a set number in mind and make sure that the budget includes what is important to you.

Wedding Budget Breakdown:

  • Talk with your families about who will pay for what, if they plan on contributing.
  • For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions.
  • Decide how much you two, as a couple, can contribute between now and the wedding.

Don’t Dip: If you are financing part or all, put your wedding money in a separate bank account. This will help with overspending and dipping into your savings. If you are using credit cards, choose a card that gives rewards or cash back.

Prioritize the Percentages: For example, if photography is more important to you than flowers make sure a larger percentage of your budget goes to what you want out of your special day.  

Mike Staff Productions has developed a simple spreadsheet to help keep your costs organized and balanced. (Download the Wedding Budget Spreadsheet Here)  Here’s a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:

Reception: 40-50%

  • Venue, rentals
  • Food, service
  • Beverage Alcohol
  • Cake

Photography: 10-14%

  • Photographer(s)
  • Additional prints, albums
  • Engagement session

Videography: 7-9%

  • Videographer
  • Photo montage

Attire: 7-8%

  • Gown, alterations
  • Head piece, veil
  • Bridal accessories
  • Groom’s tux

Flowers/Decorations 6-9%

  • Floral arrangements for ceremony
  • Brides, bridesmaids bouquet
  • Boutonnieres, corsages
  • Centerpieces
  • Reception decorations
  • Linens, chair covers
  • Lighting

Entertainment: 5-9%

  • Ceremony music
  • DJ
  • Photo booth

Stationary: 3-4%

  • Save the Date Cards, postage
  • Invitations, RSVPs, postage
  • Programs, seating, place cards
  • Thank You notes

Ceremony: 2-3%

  • Site fee
  • Officiate fee or church donation

Favors and Gifts: 3%

  • Welcome gifts
  • Bridal party gifts


  • Transportation / Parking
  • Honeymoon

Where You Can Cut

Get strict with the guest list: It’s not always easy but fewer dinner entrees means keeping more money in your pocket. Whether it’s a smaller bridal party or not having that table full of 4th cousins — getting strict with the guest list will help keep costs down.

Bundle services.  It can be a huge savings to bundle multiple services with a single company.  Simplify where you can! Centerpieces, attendant’s flowers and ceremony decorations with one florist.  Invitations, wedding programs, and personalized stationery with one printer. A win for everyone.

In season means in a budget.  Choosing flowers that are in season can result in major savings and chances are you can still achieve the beautiful look you are hoping. Ask your florist for recommendations using less costly blooms for your time of year. If you want something out of season, ask to use them as accent flowers rather than the primary. The key is choosing wisely!

One and done. There are multiple benefits of combining your ceremony and reception location.  In addition to the convenience, you can reduce the cost of multiple venues, transportation, and decor. Again, simplifying equals savings.

Make it twinkle.  Candles create a sense of romance, they help set the mood.  Whether you use exquisite candelabras for an elegant feeling or simple hurricanes for a rustic reception, candles can be a beautiful and inexpensive way to make a statement.

Personalize the venue.  Load the wedding reception up with photos from your engagement session, mementos from your relationship and wedding pictures of your parents and members of the bridal party! It’s personalized reception decor that tells your story and saves money!

Ways to Save from Mike Staff Productions Team:

You don’t want your wedding to look like a kids art project for the sake of saving money, so we polled the team here at Mike Staff Productions and collected some ways to cut the cost without cutting style!

“Think about giving each other gifts to start off your new combined lives rather than some over the top present,” Michelle Chevatewa, Mike Staff Productions

One thing I would cut back on is the cake. I would get a tiny cake to cut for the sake of pictures and tradition. As for dessert, I’d have cookies and milk. I’ve seen other folks have milk and cookies and I like that idea,” – Kevin Joynt, Mike Staff Productions

“While I did go all out for my wedding invitations, I knew a good place to save money would be the wedding shower invites! My (very creative) Maid of Honor and I came up with a theme, bought the supplies and spent a few nights crafting them together. We had so much fun, saved money and I got so many compliments!” – Lauren Wallis, Mike Staff Productions

“You can have a beautiful centerpiece without all the costs.  Consider using succulents (totally on trend!) or greenery to stretch your budget.  After your wedding you can make someone’s day by donating plants to a senior center,” Michelle Chevatewa, Mike Staff Productions.

“You can save money on flowers or centerpieces by putting them on every other table and still get the overall look you’re going for. Another area to save, the officiant.  Do you have a family member or friend who is a good public speaker?  There are ceremony templates online that they can fill in. You can have them ordained cheaply online,” – Jimi Siffin, Mike Staff Productions   

“Flowers are beautiful but diversify your table decorations. Don’t feel you need to spend all of your money on decorations because there are other ways to set the mood. Check out what’s available to rent or throw some candles on the table and then maybe you’ll have some extra money to get some uplighting, which can really fill the room,” Kurt Colone, Mike Staff Productions

“Keep written documents of what you need, what you’ve seen and what you have left.  Those three numbers will keep you on track,” Michelle Chevatewa, Mike Staff Productions

(Download the Free Wedding Budget Spreadsheet Here)

3 Steps to Building the Ultimate Wedding Package


1. Pick Your Wedding Photographer(s)

Whether you want ultra-creative or classic photos, our professional wedding photographers can deliver whatever kind of aesthetic you’re looking for. Each photographer offers their own unique professional approach to wedding photography, and you can pick the right one for you. The photography is just the start of the ultimate wedding package.

2. Pick Your Wedding Videographer(s)

One of the biggest regrets we hear from the over 25,000 couples we have served is that they didn’t get a professional wedding video made. Don’t let that be your regret! Like our photographers, our videographers can create cinematic wedding videos that spotlight your love. Whatever you’re looking for, our videographers will deliver a wedding video that you’ll be able to enjoy for years and share with future generations.

3. Pick Your Wedding DJ & MC

In order to capture photos and videos of the touching, hilarious and memorable moments at your wedding reception, you’re going to need the right music at the right time. The final piece of the ultimate wedding package, our DJs will bring your wedding celebration to the next level. Pick the music, don’t pick the music, create a “do not play list”, or give us no list at all, we’ll get to know you and your guests and construct a playlist that fits just right. But our DJs do more than just play songs, they bring energy to your wedding with engaging announcements, introductions and more.

30 money saving ways to keep within your wedding budget

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