What Is a Wedding Budget Worksheet?

A wedding budget worksheet is a working file that lists the requirements, provides the details, and summarizes the expenses involved in wedding planning. It typically comes in a table or spreadsheet format. 

According to The Knot Worldwide, the estimated average for wedding reception spending cost roughly $22,500 in 2021. Back in 2019, the average cost was only slightly higher than the current estimate, at $23,000. 

Typical Wedding Expenses

Weddings are notorious for their sometimes outrageous expenses. But when it comes to these special occasions, there are your non-negotiables, like wedding rings; and then there are the flexible items, such as liquor or giveaways. Whatever your preferences, couples can expect to shell out some expense no matter how simple the ceremony. The items below are some examples of typical wedding expenses:  

Venue: One of the major decisions a couple has to make is booking the church and reception venue. Although some prefer to hold the ceremony at home or in their backyard, some homes simply cannot accommodate the sheer amount of guests. Popular wedding venues are beaches, hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Destination weddings are popular as well. Wedding Cake: For most people, an event cannot be officially considered a wedding without a wedding cake. Considered a staple in any wedding, a cake is not only food for the couple and their guests. The symbolism that the cake represents runs much deeper, thanks to centuries of tradition and cultural beliefs. Flowers: Like the wedding cake, flowers are a basic requirement in most weddings. They can sometimes be synonymous with these events because everything from the church floral arrangement, reception centerpieces and decoration, to the bride and bridesmaids’ bouquets, all these have an element of flowers. Modern weddings like to use sparklers or confetti, but flowers are a time-honored tradition that still hold much appeal. Invitations: Aside from booking a venue, one of the first things an engaged couple must do is send out invitations. But prior to getting the word out to guests, make sure your guest list is updated. Some couples end up adding people to their guest list as they go along, so it’s good to prepare extra invitations in case the need arises. Also, invitations don’t always need to be done by a professional. DIY invites are perfectly fine and they can save you a lot of money. Wedding Dress: It’s not only the bride’s dress that is involved. Many brides and their entourage have their dresses custom-made to fit a common theme or motif. In addition to the dresses, another expense is the bridal makeup on the wedding day itself. Sometimes, bridesmaids and flower girls have their hair and makeup professionally done too; while others choose to do their own.Photography and Videography: Documenting the special occasion is a no-brainer. Some couples go all out and hire seasoned professionals to document their special day. Wedding photo packages can vary. They can range from affordable, mid-range, to expensive. Prenuptial photo shoots are also common. And on top of that, plus the actual wedding day documentation, some couples also hire photo booths for their guests to use. Food and Drink: Just like the wedding cake, food is also a non-negotiable expense. Wedding receptions do not have to be grand and ostentatious with a big stage or dance floor. Couples just need to play host and entertain their guests. Feeding your guests is typical and is expected in most cultures. The common practice for most couples is hiring a caterer to prepare and serve the food. Whether plated or buffet style, sharing meals is a way of social bonding and enjoying the event.  Lastly, no wedding reception is complete without drinks to toast to the bride and groom’s marital union. Drinks are normally included in the catering package. Other times, the couple must provide their own wine or champagne. Sometimes, having an open bar is a popular option for a lot of couples as well. Music: A wedding without music would come up short. Whether it’s a DJ, soloist, quartet, or a live band, music adds life and sentiment to the special occasion. To pay for live music, you would normally have to cover the musician’s professional fee, meals, and other miscellaneous charges. Some couples opt to outsource musically inclined friends or family instead to help cut costs. Souvenirs: For a momentous occasion like a wedding, couples like to give keepsakes for guests to bring home as a memory of the special day. This is where things can get creative. Wedding mementos can include anything from magnets, shot glasses, chocolates, coasters, to succulents. It is always good to show your guests appreciation by gifting them with small tokens. Marriage Ceremony: Most people tend to focus on the grandeur of the reception rather than the intimacy and symbolism of the wedding ceremony itself. Getting married in a church entails booking reservations, renting the venue, and paying a stipend for the priest or officiating minister.

Tips on Controlling a Wedding Budget

Are you on a tight budget? Or maybe big weddings are not your thing. Some couples choose to have a low-key wedding then go all out on their honeymoon expenses. Many people find lavish weddings to be somewhat overrated. Others would prefer to be resourceful and keep to a modest budget when it comes to wedding planning. The following tips can help you stick to your budget and prevent overspending:    

Consider having the wedding at home: There are some people who love the idea of a romantic and intimate backyard or garden wedding. Having the wedding at home means it won’t cost you any rent and you don’t need to spend on a venue. If you are concerned about how to accommodate your guests in your own home, you can also try asking a friend or relative who could be willing to host their residence or private property. Skip the wedding planner: Wedding planners can charge ridiculously high, especially the famous and in-demand ones. Having a DIY wedding may seem like a daunting task, but with the right support and people around you, the responsibility can be shared and the tasks can be divided. You can end up cutting costs when you skip the wedding organizers or planners. Say no to video: Documenting the special occasion is important. Others stick to photos, while some like to record the entire program on video. Hiring a good photographer is a necessary expense. However, if you want to save extra money, you can resist the urge to record your wedding. You can be content with just the beautiful pictures to remember the occasion by. Plus, with the advent of smartphones, documenting everything- whether photos or videos- is much easier now. Videography is optional and usually an added expense in most cases. Go for simplicity: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone wants a luxurious and big-scale wedding; others go for simplicity and intimacy. It is perfectly fine to go against the current and shun the overrated and grand weddings that social media or magazines tend to highlight. Minimalism, as a lifestyle, is also becoming more of a trend; and there’s no reason why a wedding can’t be minimalist too. Simplicity can not only be classy and elegant, but it can also prevent unnecessary spending. Skip the rehearsal dinner: Unless the pre-wedding party is completely sponsored by someone else, rehearsal dinners can incur additional charges and unnecessary expenses. This pre-wedding ceremony is like holding a reception twice over. If you are on a tight budget and would want to focus on the wedding day itself, it is best to just skip the rehearsal dinner altogether.

How to Create a Wedding Budget Worksheet

Preparing a budget worksheet will help couples keep track of expenses and deadlines. Depending on your vision of what you want the wedding to be, your worksheet can be as detailed as you need it to be. Follow the easy guide below to get started! 

Step 1: Decide the Size of the Wedding  

To begin planning, it is important to know what you want before creating your worksheet. It helps to have a clear goal of the kind of wedding you and your partner envision for yourselves. How big do you want your wedding to be? Are you envisioning an intimate and tight-knit group of close family and friends? Or are you planning to invite at least 150 guests? The planning stage is crucial. It’s helpful to create a timeline for when to begin acting on your plans. You can also come up with an initial guest list and start working on the wedding invitations.  

Step 2: Prepare Your Worksheet

You are free to use any format and application that you find most comfortable. Using an Excel spreadsheet is a convenient way to organize your budget and to-do lists. A simple table on MS Word is also an option. Others choose to integrate a calendar into their budget worksheet. Whatever your preferences, just make sure it is organized and editable, so it’s easier to make changes.    

Step 3: List Down All Important Information 

Your worksheet can be simple or detailed, depending on your budget plan. Fill in all the necessary details of your wedding requirements. You can arrange your items in whatever order you prefer. Some order it alphabetically or according to priority and urgency. For each item, you can include the name and contact details of the vendor, estimated budget, actual or total amount, and payment deadlines.  

Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid of Changes

It is important to note that changes are sometimes unavoidable. It’s good to have vision and goals; but at the same time, also learn to be flexible in case things do not turn out the way you expect them to. Minor changes here and there are perfectly normal and acceptable. Maybe you happened to stumble upon a better photographer with a better offer? Or maybe you’re not happy with how the caterer has been handling things so far in your planning. If you do get a better deal or a lower cost option, make sure to weigh your options accordingly. It’s best to plan early so that you won’t be rushing and stressing over everything when the wedding day draws near. 


What should your wedding budget be?

According to Brides.com, a typical wedding breakdown would look something like this: Couples should expect that a big chunk of the budget will go to catering and venue, typically 40% is spent on this alone. Photography and videography come in second place, where around 15% of the budget is spent on event documentation. Other important areas like flowers, décor, and music make up roughly 10% each of a wedding budget.

How much should I save for a small wedding?

Take advantage of your engagement period (or even earlier than that) to set aside money and build your wedding fund. Of course, families and parents will normally pitch in too. But as a couple about to get married, the earlier you start saving, the better. Set aside 10-20% of your monthly income to save for your wedding plans.

What is the most expensive part of a wedding?

Parts of a wedding that incur the most costs normally involve logistics and rentals. The venue and catering tend to take up a large chunk of a wedding budget. You need to think about the tables, chairs, hall decorations, centerpieces, etc. Usually, it would also depend on the number of guests. The more people on your guest list, obviously the more people you need to feed. Documenting the wedding day can also be quite expensive. Photography and videography package rates can range from affordable to costly.

Why set a wedding budget?

It is important to set a wedding budget for two main reasons. First, it’s to promote responsible spending. It can be easy to get carried away sometimes with wedding preparations and plans; which is why couples need to stay within a reasonable budget. The other reason is weddings are only part of a marriage. The wedding ceremony and reception is only the beginning of a married couple’s life together. Starting a family will entail a lot more expenses than just flowers or decorations. So it’s wise to always keep these things in perspective.

What to include in a wedding budget?

A wedding checklist can be pretty long. It is crucial you know the items you want included and prioritized. Create your wedding budget worksheet by starting with the basic requirements first. List down the venue, photography, videography, wedding dress, catering, invitations, décor and floral arrangements, tokens, etc.

How to decide on a wedding budget?

Wedding organizers and hotels offer various wedding packages that a couple can choose from. These wedding packages enumerate everything that is included, so it makes the decision a little easier for the engaged couple. These packages can range from affordable to expensive. Another way to decide on a wedding budget is by collecting sample quotes from different suppliers. You can use these to weigh your options. One way to do this is by creating a table of the pros and cons of each of your top two or three choices.

A wedding day is a significant milestone for anyone. But just because it is an important day, it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to have a memorable wedding. Be smart with your finances and resourceful with what you have. Budgeting requires careful planning and unwavering commitment. Are you eager to start your wedding plans? Pick any customizable and printable template above!