The wedding budget is a not-so-fun but very necessary part of planning your wedding. Talking about money can seem uncomfortable but here at Bridal Musings, we're not ones to shy away from uncomfortable conversations!

Your Free Wedding Budget Spreadsheet

Our Editor-in-Chief, Claire Eliza, has put together an all-encompassing wedding budget spreadsheet template (that she used for her own wedding!) to help you and your love get grips with your budget.

Claire is keen to point out that this template isn't an exhaustive list of all the things you ‘should' have at your wedding but manages to cover everything you ‘might' be included in your day – and thus help you not forget!

This spreadsheet will help you in the initial stages of wedding budgeting as you estimate roughly how much each service & vendor is going to cost, right through to after you've booked your dream team of vendors and receive those ‘final payment due' emails.

It'll help you to keep your budget in check along the way with the handy addition of a ‘difference' column – which calculates how much over or under your estimated budget you are.

Claire has done all the hard work for you – all you need to do is input the figures. (* If you'd like to use a different currency, go to the ‘123' button at the top left of the spreadsheet – then scroll down to ‘more currencies'.)

And the best part is – it's absolutely free to download!

How to Download Your Free Wedding Budget Spreadsheet

Best of luck with your budgeting, folks! The key is to prioritize the things that are most important to you and your partner – and that goes for all aspects of wedding planning!

We've also made an extremely in-depth wedding planning checklist, available as both Google Sheets and Excel spreadsheets. Available for free here.

5 of Our Best Wedding Budget Posts

Here are 5 of our most useful, purse-friendly planning posts to help you make the most of your wedding budget, whether it's $200,000 or $2000.

Wedding Budget FAQs

What is the average cost of a wedding?

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $27,000, according to market research firm The Wedding Report. This is up from $20,286 in 2020. The increase appears to be because many people were forced to reschedule their weddings originally set to happen in 2020, and then again in 2021. Recent inflation have also had a significant impact on prices.

How do I save money on my wedding budget?

  • Start planning early to save money on your wedding budget. The sooner you start planning, the more time you have to research vendors and compare prices.
  • Plan your wedding around your preferred vendors, and don't be afraid to negotiate prices. If you have a few vendors you really love, try to work with them as much as possible. And don't be afraid to negotiate – most vendors are open to it!
  • Use creative ideas to save money on decor, food, and rentals – there are plenty of ways to save without compromising the big day! Get creative with your decorating – DIY projects can save a lot of money. And for food, consider serving simple but elegant dishes that won't break the bank.
  • Consider a wedding not on a Saturday. Getting married on a Friday or Sunday can often be cheaper than getting married on a Saturday – talk to your venue about pricing options for different days of the week.
  • Keep your guest list as low as possible. This will help you save on food and drink costs, as well as venue rental fees (if applicable). So only invite people that you really want there – immediate family and close friends only!
  • Offer just wine and beer at your bar. This can be a lot cheaper than offering a full liquor bar. And your guests will still be able to enjoy themselves!
  • Select an off-season wedding date . Getting married during the fall or winter can often save you money, as venues and vendors are typically less busy (and therefore, less expensive) during these times of year.
  • Consider non-traditional venues. If you're open to thinking outside the box, there are lots of unique and affordable places that would make for a beautiful and memorable wedding ceremony and/or reception. Just do some research to see what's available in your area!
  • Go paperless and explore casual dining options. Save money (and trees!) by sending electronic invitations instead of traditional paper ones. And for food, consider serving simple but elegant dishes that won't break the bank – like hors d'oeuvres or a buffet instead of a sit-down meal.

What are some common mistakes people make with their wedding budget?

  • Not Having a Budget at All
    This might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many couples don't sit down and figure out how much they're willing to spend on their wedding before they start planning. Creating a budget is the best way to avoid overspending on your big day. Sit down with your fiancé and figure out what you can afford to spend before you start looking at venues or booking vendors.
  • Underestimating the Cost of Vendors
    Good vendors book up fast, so it's important to have an idea of how much you're willing to spend on each one before you start contacting them. Keep in mind that popular vendors will likely charge more than less popular ones. Once you've decided how much you're willing to spend on each vendor, add a 20-30% cushion to your budget in case any unexpected costs come up.
  • Not Tracking Your Expenses
    Once you start booking vendors and making payments, it's important to keep track of all your expenses in one place. This will help you stay organized and on budget. There are a lot of great wedding planning apps that can help with this, or you can create your own spreadsheet. Just make sure you update it regularly!
  • Forgetting About Hidden Fees
    When you'rebudgeting for your wedding, don't forget about hidden fees that can add up quickly. Things like postage, gratuity, taxes, and travel costs can really add up if you're not careful. Be sure to factor these things into your budget so you're not caught off guard later on.
  • Overspending on Your Dress
    Your wedding dress is probably the most important part of your outfit for the big day, but that doesn't mean it has to be the most expensive! It's easy to get caught up in the moment and overspend on a dress you'll only wear once, but try to resist the temptation. There are tons of beautiful (and affordable!) dresses out there, so take your time and find one that fits both your style and your budget.
  • Having unrealistic expectations
    Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration for your wedding, but it's important to remember that not every wedding needs to be straight out of a magazine spread. It's okay if your wedding is simpler or low-key than what you see on social media—in fact, it'll likely be more memorable (and affordable!) that way. Be realistic about what you can afford and don't try to copy someone else's dream wedding—make yours unique!

What are some unexpected wedding costs that I should be aware of?

  • Vendor Tips
    While it's not technically required, it is customary to tip your wedding vendors (think: officiant, photographer, band/DJ, etc.). This is often an unexpected wedding cost that can easily sneak up on couples who are on a tight budget. To avoid any last-minute scrambling, we recommend setting aside 10-15% of your total vendor costs as a contingency for tips.
  • Overtime Fees
    If your ceremony or reception goes over the allotted time, most venues will charge an overtime fee. These fees can range anywhere from $250 to $500+ per hour, depending on the venue and location. To avoid being hit with an unexpectedly large bill, try to plan your timeline carefully and build in some buffer time in case things run late. And if possible, see if your venue offers a discounted rate for extending your rental time.
  • Postage
    When it comes to wedding invitations, don't forget about the cost of postage! If you're planning a destination wedding or your guest list is on the larger side, expect to spend more on stamps than you would for a local wedding with fewer guests. Depending on the weight and size of your invitations, you could be looking at $0.70-$1 per stamp (or more). Keep this in mind when budgeting for invitations and factoring in how much you'll need to spend on postage.
  • Parking/Transportation
    If your ceremony or reception is taking place at a venue that doesn't have its own parking lot or valet service, then you'll need to make arrangements for guests to park their cars off-site. In addition, if you're providing transportation for guests between the ceremony and reception (or from the airport to the hotel), that will also need to be factored into your budget. The cost of parking and transportation can vary greatly depending on the location of your wedding and number of guests, so be sure to get quotes from several different companies before making a final decision.
  • Taxes and Service Charges
    Depending on the state where your wedding is taking place, there could be taxes levied on certain services (such as catering) or products (such as alcohol). There may also be service charges added onto your bill by the venue or other vendors involved in your big day. These service charges are used to cover the costs of things like linens, staff gratuities, etc., so they're usually around 15-20% of the total bill. Be sure to ask about these charges upfront so there are no surprises later on!