How to devise a realistic wedding budget

Devising a budget during the early stages can help every bride and groom get a handle on wedding planning stress and ultimately enjoy a beautiful big day – without the money worries. Your wedding day is likely to be the biggest, most important and priciest party you’ve ever hosted.

But with a little organisation, you can have your dream day, set a budget you’ll actually stick to, and put time, energy and the money you save into your happily ever after.

Devising a realistic wedding budget however isn’t easy. Here’s how to create a wedding budget that works for you.

Scope out the wedding scene

Even if this isn’t your first time tying the knot, chances are things (and more specifically prices) have changed dramatically since you last walked down the aisle.

If this is your first time planning a wedding, you may be more shocked about how much things really cost when organising the most important day of your life.

If you have an early vision of what your wedding day looks like, break it down with a list of must-haves and do your research into the cost of making each happen as part of your homework. This will give you a ballpark figure for how much your ideal wedding could set you back.

Weigh up your wedding fund

Whilst your research will reveal a ballpark figure, counting the cash that’s available to you will help you decipher just how near (or far away) you are to achieving your ideal wedding day.

Whether you want to use both sets of information to make up the shortfall or alter your wedding plans is up to you.

Don’t forget some expenses may be covered by family and friends. Your parents for instance might want to contribute, whilst your wedding party may also like to have a hand in helping you finance your big day dreams.

There are some expenses that loved ones will expect to foot the bill for – here’s what expenses bridesmaids traditionally pay for.

Consider how much you can save

If you seem to be financially further away from the figure you need, don’t give up on your wedding day dreams right away.

The average couple spends 13 to 18 months planning their wedding, which means you have extra time to top up your wedding fund should you need to.

Be smart with your savings in the months leading up to your wedding date by transferring a manageable percentage of your monthly income to a separate savings account.

Avoid just transferring what’s leftover at the end of every month. Instead, review your outgoings and set up a direct debit or standing order to automatically transfer a certain amount of money to your wedding fund every pay day.

By making direct deposits, you can devise a realistic and accurate wedding budget that will serve you well as you approach your wedding day.

Prepare for the unexpected

When devising your wedding budget, don’t forget to set aside a contingency fund. There are lots of unexpected costs that surprise couples as they plan their wedding days.

Here, The National Wedding Show reveals one of the biggest unexpected costs that couples often forget to budget for:

“Whether you buy off the rack or have your wedding dress ordered in, realistically your gown is going to require some alterations. This is a cost that most couples forget to add to the budget and can include all kinds of modifications, such as hemming the gown, taking it in (or letting it out), or structural changes. Some salons offer a flat fee, while others will charge you for every alteration, but it’s worth asking about rough costs at your bridal boutique.”

Pre-wedding beauty treatments, hair and makeup trials, male grooming, wedding morning attire, dry cleaning, wedding underwear, pre- and post-wedding outfits, accommodation, cake cutting, and corkage fees are other costs that can creep up on unsuspecting couples..

Don’t go into wedding planning unprepared, set aside 10 to 15% of your wedding budget to fall back on.

Make your money go further

There’s a long list of ways that you can slash your wedding spend and enjoy an even better big day in the process.

Using credit wisely, claiming cashback on purchases, and getting creative with some do-it-yourself projects are all great money savers.

Saving no to expensive spa treatments and opting for our at-home pre-wedding pamper session will also provide a cost effective yet utterly indulgent treat for you and your bridesmaids.

Stay organised and on your budget

Organisation is the key to successful wedding planning so start as you mean to go on by putting your wedding budget down in writing and actively tracking your spend. Google Sheets is an easy to use and free tool that will come in handy.

Use Google Sheets to set up a spreadsheet, noting all your big and little costs, how much you expect to pay for each (your early research will be useful here), your contingency fund, and your total budget.

This spreadsheet should be updated regularly and can be accessed by both you and your partner.


If you have any questions relating to having your wedding at St Audries Park, please don't hesitate to call Sally via the contact details below:


T: 01984 633 633

Add a little extra SPARKLE to your wedding this Christmas...Tell me more!