The Ultimate Wedding Budget Checklist

The full breakdown of potential wedding expenses. Brace yourself.

Wedding Budget Breakdown | Two grooms cheers at The Saguaro Scottsdale

The Saguaro Scottsdale | Jade Min Photography

Have you followed our 6 Simple Steps for Setting A Wedding Budget? Fab! Now that you have a dollar amount in mind, let's figure out how to best spend your wedding budget.

We've put together a Wedding Budget Checklist that includes the items most weddings entail, as well as the "typical" percentage of your budget you may want to reserve for each one.

HUGE caveat before we begin: The percentages below are solely based on industry averages and may not be right for you. Feel free to adjust them according to your needs and priorities—just make sure your adjustments add up to 100%.

(Have we mentioned we're slightly Type-A? Enjoy!)

FREE WEDDING PRINTABLE | Wedding Budget Checklist

There's nothing quite as satisfying as putting together a drop-dead *gorgeous* wedding binder to help you plan your big day in style. Which is why we've painstakingly written and designed these equal-parts-effective-and-attractive wedding planning PDFs.


Wedding Budget Planning | Bridesmaids in mismatched dresses at Kimpton Shorebreak Resort

Kimpton Shorebreak Resort

What that MAY include:

Wedding Attire Budget Tip:
Borrow outfits for your bach party or bridal shower from your most stylish friend, or use a budget-friendly attire rental service like Rent the Runway!


How To Spend Your Wedding Budget | Bridesmaids in floral getting-ready robes

Rebekah and Grace

What that MAY include:

Wedding Beauty Budget Tip:
Schedule your makeup & hair trial on the day of your engagement shoot—we're talkin' double-duty beauty!

CAKE → 2%

Wedding Budget Percentages | A cool modern sculpted wedding cake

BASH | Hayley Moore Photography | Two Sons Cakery

What that MAY include:

Wedding Cake Budget Tip:
Purchase a modest but pretty two-tier cake for display and cutting, and have a sheet cake sitting behind the scenes to serve your guests.


How To Plan Wedding Budget | An outdoor wedding ceremony at Sacred Mountain Julian

Sacred Mountain Julian

What that MAY include:

Wedding Ceremony Budget Tip:
Hold your wedding ceremony and reception in one place if possible. Not only will it cut down on transportation costs, but it will also reduce travel time for vendors that get paid by the hour.


Wedding Budget List | A cute signature cocktails sign with coral floral arrangement

LUCE on Kettner | Sara Elizabeth Photography

What that MAY include:

Wedding Drinks Budget Tip:
Host an open beer and wine bar only, or offer a signature cocktail. Guests can enjoy these free drinks, or opt to purchase hard liquor themselves at the bar. Also, don't feel like you have to pay extra for a champagne toast. Very few guests actually drink the champagne, and they can toast to you with their favorite hosted beverage instead.


Wedding Budget Breakdown | Disco ball straw cup wedding favors

Elizabeth Burgi Photography

What that MAY include:

Wedding Favors and Gifts Budget Tip:
Choose an inexpensive yet delightful wedding favor like the ones listed here (all $1 or less!).


Wedding Budget Flowers | A bountiful bridal bouquet with dahlias and roses

Royal Bee Flower Co. | Katie Jackson Photography

What that MAY include:

Wedding Flowers Budget Tip:
Two words will lower your floral expenses: Seasonal and local. When you buy what's in season, you get flowers at the peak of their supply and at a cost that's normally lower. Plus, when they're locally grown they don't need to be shipped halfway around the globe. So not only do you save money, but you also reduce your carbon footprint. Win-win.

FOOD → 18%

Wedding on Budget | Soup shooters for wedding passed apps

Colette's Catering & Events

What that MAY include:

Wedding Food Budget Tip:
Passed hors d'oeuvres can be pricey, so skip them entirely. Instead, place large crudité and charcuterie platters on a table for a self-serve appetizer station. Your guests will still be able to nibble during cocktail hour, and you'll save a bundle on hors d'oeuvres + service staff fees.


Wedding Invitations on a Budget | Minted wedding invitation suite and matching save the date

Minted | The Poffs

What that MAY include:

Wedding Invitations and Paper Budget Tip:
Go paperless! A stylish site like Paperless Post can generate e-invitations for everything from the Engagement Party to the Rehearsal Dinner. For more formal pieces like wedding invitations, choose a single-page postcard to save on both the cost of envelopes and standard postage. Also opt for a FREE wedding website!

MUSIC → 8%

Wedding Budget Checklist | Newlyweds dancing at their microwedding reception

Howe Farms | Nelya

What that MAY include:

Wedding DJ and Music Budget Tip:
Find a wedding DJ with a great, all-inclusive package that can cover you from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception. They'll be less expensive than live musicians and may provide everything from MC and DJ services to simple lighting design and even photo booth setup.


How To Plan Wedding Budget | A bride and groom in bright pink laugh as they feed each other wedding cake

Mary Costa Photography

What that MAY include:

Wedding Photography and Videography Budget Tip:
Find a photographer that will give you full rights to your digital wedding photos. You'll be able to print them out at your discretion, and will save money by using more affordable printing options—or simply emailing them to your loved ones!


How To Create A Wedding Budget | A tropical outdoor wedding reception at The Betsy - South Beach

The Betsy - South Beach

What that MAY include:

Wedding Reception Budget Tip:
Go "off" the beaten path when it comes to scheduling your wedding. Have it on an "off" day (e.g. Wednesday), or "off" season (e.g. December), or at an "off" time (e.g. morning) when venues don't usually book events. You'll benefit big-time with hefty savings off their normal fees.


How To Determine Wedding Budget | Newlyweds in front of their vintage wedding getaway car

L'Auberge Del Mar

What that MAY include:

Wedding Transportation Budget Tip:
Who says you have to rent a limo? Ain't no shame in a wedding party carpool caravan. And a bicycle built for two is an amazing addition to wedding photos.


*This percentage is on the low end of the spectrum, and may only cover a Day-Of Wedding planning package. If you're looking for a Full-Service Coordination package, expect to spend closer to 10–15% of your total budget.

Percentages for Wedding Budget | Two brides in sunglasses enjoy their outdoor cocktail hour

Vibrant Events

What that MAY include:

Wedding Planner Budget Tip:
A lot of wedding planners offer à la carte services, such as phone consultations, at low or hourly rates. So if you can't swing the full-service package, opt for something more affordable. Picking a coordinator's brain for an hour or asking them for venue recommendations can equal huge value for a small fee.


Tips for Wedding Budget | Wedding rings resting on cute porcelain dinosaur ring holders

Sevlynn Photography

What that MAY include:

Wedding Rings Budget Tip:
Our favorite place to shop for inexpensive jewelry? Etsy. They have beautiful options for wedding bands at all different price points.


Wedding Hidden Fees | A newlywed couple cheers during their outdoor elopement picnic reception

Christy McCarter Photography

What that MAY include:

Emergency Fund Budget Tip:
It's almost guaranteed that you'll run into some hidden fees or other unexpected expenses, so make sure to give yourselves a cushion. Example: Some venues may charge you extra for bringing in your own vendors outside of their "preferred" list, so be sure to ask about that before you set your heart on someone specific!


How To Figure Out Your Wedding Budget | A fun vintage pool at Graduate Nashville

Graduate Nashville

After all that, who can afford a honeymoon?!

Honeymoon Budget Tip:
We didn't include "honeymoon" as a wedding expense, but we love the idea of registering for one. Companies like Honeyfund make it easy! Guests are able to "gift" experiences in lieu of toaster ovens, and you get the honeymoon you thought you couldn't afford.

Man, we love a happy ending!

More Wedding Budget Help:

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Some clients may have paid to be placed in our editorial and some of these links may be affiliate; however, we never include a venue, vendor, or product unless they have a proper place here. This is part of our Core Values. We create our website first and foremost to be good for the couples using it to plan their Big Day. We won't stray from that for a few advertising dollars. #scoutshonor

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