Budget Guide

Breaking down your wedding budget can be one of the most confronting (yet most important) tasks you will encounter when planning your day. Since coming up with a solid budget can influence all of your other decisions—location, guest list, which meal options to select, and if you can spring for those pricey florals—it's essential you spend the time to come up with this figure correctly and realistically. Be prepared to spend the most (around 40 percent) on taking care of guests’ basic needs—that's venue, food, and beverage. The remaining amount includes costs that are fixed, like your photographer, videographer, and entertainment. Then, there's the more logistical and arbitrary stuff—transportation, labor, lighting, stationery, and anything else you’ve decided is essential to your wedding.

Now more than ever, couples are finding creative ways to please their guests while doing something meaningful for themselves, which makes for some incredibly beautiful and personal celebrations. Use the handy guide below as a rough outline for spending breakdowns and adjust according to your priorities.

Venue and Catering: 40 percent of your budget

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Photography and Videography: 15 percent of your budget

Wedding Attire and Beauty: 5-10 percent of your budget

Music/Entertainment: 10 percent of your budget

Flowers and Decor: 15-20 percent of your budget

Favors and Gifts: 2 percent of your budget

I am a huge fan of nixing wedding favors (outside of thank you gifts for parents, vendors, and attendants) and putting that budget elsewhere, like adding a photobooth or springing for a killer DJ!

Transportation: 3 percent of your budget

Stationery: 3 percent of your budget

Cake: 2 percent of your budget

Food for thought: what are your non-negotiables when planning? Peonies? top of the line photos? A four tier cake? If it will put you over budget, cut down in another area that matters less to you. If it isn't as important to you, find another vendor that will save you a bit.