6 Wedding Budget Mistakes

An aerial view of a bride walking next to a table setting with neutral colors.

Keeping to your wedding budget is one of the stickiest, most challenging aspects of wedding planning. It’s so easy to get carried away when you see a beautiful dress, find a venue of your dreams, or want to make the guest list as massive and welcoming as possible. If you’re worried about your budget and want to avoid common wedding budget mistakes, then this post is for you.

Here are six wedding budget mistakes that brides and grooms make all the time, and some tips for how you can avoid making them yourself.

1. Not Nailing Down a Budget

A table setting at a wedding reception with flowers and metallic dinnerware.

This may go without saying, but if you don’t clarify your budget from the beginning, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Having a “flexible” budget or a “general idea” of how much you want to spend on your wedding almost guarantees that you’re going to spend way more than you’re comfortable spending. Nail down your wedding budget as early as you can so you know what funds you’re working with and what you’re unwilling to spend.

2. Not Deciding Who’s Contributing What

Having conversations about money about who’s going to contribute to the wedding budget can be awkward, but it’s necessary. Talk with your family, your partner, and your partner’s family to get clarity on where the funds are coming from for the wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s family covers the wedding while the groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner, but modern-day weddings have become increasingly nontraditional; often, it’s the wedding couple handling everything. Before you jump into spending, you want to make sure you know who’s paying for what—even if that person is you.

3. Failing to Divide the Wedding Budget Appropriately

A pair of wedding musicians in a landscaped backyard.

Financing a wedding gets tricky, especially when you’re tempted to sign a contract on the biggest, best venue right away, if you’ve already fallen in love with a high-end photographer, or if you simply don’t clarify all your wedding needs. To ensure you don’t overspend or that you don’t end up missing things that are important to you, take time to divide your budget according to your preferences before you actually spend any money. This will help ensure you have enough for all the decorations you want, the DJ, the caterer, and so on.

4. Not Keeping Track of Spending

At the beginning of wedding planning, it may feel like you have money to burn. You’ve determined your budget, decided who’s paying for what, and now it’s time to spend. It’s so easy to forget about tracking funds—which is the easiest way to overspend. Set up a system for yourself and put some accounting skills to work. Track what you spend on your wedding—from the invitations to the wedding planner to the venue and more—so you keep yourself to budget.

5. Too Much Indulging

Vintage wicker chairs at an outdoor wedding ceremony.

It’s perfectly normal to fall in love with a venue that’s a little outside your allocated budget for that particular item. It’s totally fine to splurge on something that matters and will make your day so much more amazing. However, too much splurging—on both big and little things—is a great way to blow your budget. An extra thousand here, a few extra hundreds there, even an extra ten dollars on enough details of the wedding can blow your budget completely. Keep your priorities in mind and hold yourself accountable.

6. Unrealistic Expectations

We all want our wedding day to be dreamy and perfect. We want it to be everything we’ve always hoped it to be, which is perfectly normal, but sometimes you have to come into reality when you realize how much everything you want is going to cost. If your dream wedding is within your budget, then go for it. If it’s pushing the limits or even completely devastating your budget, tap the breaks. There’s no reason to go into debt for your wedding day. Realistically, you may need to sacrifice some things and get creative to stick to your budget.

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