Preparing a wedding budget

A wedding budget is one thing that you absolutely must have during your wedding planning process.

This is something that you and your fiancé (and your families, if they are contributing) should sit down and discuss upfront before you're ready to set a date. Weddings are a multi-billion dollar industry and expenses can very quickly escalate out of control if you don't make a conscious effort to rein them in by sticking to a wedding budget.

Put plainly, how much can you realistically afford to spend?

By working out your upper limit - the bottom line of your wedding budget - from the outset, you won't end up wondering where all your money went and struggling to pay when the big day finally arrives.

We have developed a handy wedding budget calculator to help you keep track of your expenses.

What to include in a wedding budget

The simple answer is all wedding-related expenses. The basic wedding budget expense categories are listed below:Bridesmaids

Bride's and groom's apparel
Wedding dress, accessories (shoes, jewelry, veil, etc), make-up and hair, Groom's suit, shirt, accessories (shoes, cuff links, belt, etc), wedding rings

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Dresses, suits, shirts, accessories, etc, thank you gifts

Ceremony
Ceremony venue hire, officiant's fee, catering, entertainment, other associated expenses

Reception
Reception venue hire, catering, entertainment, bonbonniere, wedding cake, other associated expenses

Flowers and decorations
Bouquets/hair pieces, button holes, table centerpieces

Photography
Photography fee, wedding album, individual enlargements for portraits, electronic files

Wedding cakeTransport
Bride and groom, bridal party, guests to and from locations (optional)

Stationery
Invitations, RSVP cards, menus, place cards, thank you cards

Honeymoon
Wedding night accommodation, honeymoon accommodation, flights and transfers, tours, spending money, any other travel expenses

When you create your own wedding budget you can organize the various expense categories and line items in any way that is logical to you. The main thing is to set it up in a spreadsheet that will then automatically calculate your grand total as you add, subtract and change the amounts. To help you do this, we’ve developed a wedding budget calculator where expenses can be tracked on your phone.