Mar 9, 2016

Wedding Q & A: Budgeting for the wedding & marriage

 The past few days, I have been sharing questions asked my engaged gals that have been answered by married bloggers who shared their wisdom about an assortment of topics. For review:

Today, the ladies are giving their advice on budgeting, both during the wedding planning and within marriage. I loved reading their responses and I know you will too!

Budgeting for the wedding

"Be reasonable about your expectations.  Figure out what you have (total) to spend, then do some preliminary research on venue, dress, and catering prices.  From there, you’ll have a better idea of how to split the budget into categories.  And, honestly, the best way to make yourself stick with it is to know you CAN’T not stick to it… if you can only afford so much, think what you’d have to sacrifice if you went overboard.  Would you go into debt you don’t want?  Would it delay home buying?  Would you have to take a second job?  Is the slightly “better” florist or cake or whatever worth that?"
- Katie Hodge, married 6.5 years; Blog:

"There are several good websites that help you break down the cost of a wedding into all the various expense categories. I love the one from The Knot. It gives you a recommended budget based on the hundreds of weddings & research the company does, which can help you begin to get an idea for how much things will cost. Once you have this broken down “recommended budget”, you can start to see where you’d want to save & where you’d want to splurge. If music isn’t your thing, maybe you can put more money into the food. If flowers are very important, you may be willing to sacrifice on stationery. This is a great starting point and should keep your total budget in check!"
- Alicia Murphy, married 4.5 years,

"The very first thing you need to do before you start any wedding planning at all is to come up with a realistic budget. The average wedding in the United States costs $27,000.00. Think of all of the vendors you want to include in your wedding: caterers, photographers, videographers, bakers, florists, DJ’s, bands, officiants or pastors, venues, wedding coordinators, wedding rentals. (They are all working people who have families, so I promise you they are not overcharging just because this is the wedding industry.) Once you’ve come up with a realistic expectation of what your wedding will cost, it will be so much easier to stick to your budget. My advice is to create a spreadsheet or buy an accountant’s journal to keep track of how much you are spending and when."
- Mandy Billings, Owner/Head Coordinator of Timeless Wedding Designs

"I would have to say to list your priorities, in order, take your maximum budget and take 1/4 of it and set it aside like it doesn't exist. Then start dividing that 3/4 into your list of what is going to be spent where. Start getting quotes and do your research to get the best prices. Make sure you're telling vendors if something you want is not in your budget, sometimes they can find other ways to make it happen, make a smaller version, or shorten time they're there. These vendors work in the industry for a reason, its their job to make something work in your budget, not for you to blow yours. If it starts to get to a point where your spending too much, pick an item at the bottom of your priority list and be creative to see if anything can be done on your own, a talented family member could assist in making, or even leave it out all together. Then when all else fails, you have that extra 1/4 as a fail safe, contingency, or if you made it through under budget, extra honeymoon $!"
- Jennifer Panehal- Pelayo, 11 years together with husband (5 years married). Blog:

Budgeting during marriage

"We use the Every Dollar Budget. You pay $100 upfront but that’s it, I believe. It syncs with your bank account to make it easy to transfer all of your purchases over. We used the first couple of months as a trial run. We just spent like we normally did and broke it down into categories to see where we were spending our money and on what. Once we got a good idea, we talked about where we were over spending and adjusted things for the third month and tried really hard to stay on track from there. We go over the budget every Sunday evening so we know where we are at and what that coming week should look like with our spending. This really helps us to stay on track and stick with it, especially when it gets hard."
- Kylie Paulsen, married 3 years ,

The key to budgeting success in your marriage is to talk about it often! (See HERE). Your budget will be ever changing because every month will have different expenses, your income will change, and the financial goals that you set will evolve. Talking about your budget often will improve your financial intimacy and the trust that you have in each other. It's ok to change your budget if it's not working! Talk about your expectations, your wants and your needs. Make sure that you are both on the same page about what you are saving for, how much debt you want to pay off, and where all of your money is going. (See HERE). 
- Amberly Lambersen, married 4.5 years. Blogs at

This could use a whole post on it’s own—it’s that great of a question. So. To get started with budgeting well, you first have to see how you spend money. Start by tracking expenses for a month. Write down everything you spend. Keep receipts, check your debit card account, keep track of checks you write.
 At the end of the month, sit down with that handsome fella of yours and go through it all. Make categories—for us, the main categories are currently Donations, Utilities, Health Care, Food- Out, Food- In, Personal Care, Pets, House Projects.
 Look at how much you’re spending in each category. Then look at your income. How much are you making each month, and how does that jive with your expenses? 
Then, talk about what you want to be saving for. For us, the House Project expenses were a long time coming, so we’d saved for those. Maybe you want to put away a third of your income, or set up an Emergency Fund of 6 months expenses. Decide how much needs to be saved each month, and for what, and write that down. Look back at your expenses. Where can you cut back? I’d also recommend Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System. We don’t use it currently, but the concepts he uses are very fore-front in our minds!
- Ally of The Speckled Goat Blog (; married 4 years

"I am a huge advocate of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. You can find a class at your local church."
-Tiffany Brooks Currie, blogs at 

Come back tomorrow for another Q & A!


  1. My parents paid for our wedding--I was in college, and the husband was working overtime like crazy to pay off his student loans before the wedding, so we set our budget according to what they gave us, and then just stayed under it. It did take some hard decisions, like choosing to not have real flowers at all because it wasn't in the budget, but I'm glad we did it. Our priority was to include as many people as wanted to come, and to make sure they got enough to eat, and to have pictures. We got all of those, and the extras didn't matter.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! Our parents helped out with some of the the venue and food costs which was a huge blessing. Romanians (my culture) are used to having big meals during reception, so that was a big part of the budget. It all added up so much, but it helped me to talk to my then-fiance and discuss what we wanted to prioritize in terms of budgeting for the wedding nd that helped cut out unneeded expenses


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice