After years of kissing a lot of frogs, you have finally found your prince. Your parents and your

siblings adore him. You know the perfect place to get married. And your friends are eager to

be bridesmaids. All your romantic dreams are coming true and then your mother asks, “What

sort of budget do you have for this wedding?” “Budget?” you wail. “Really, mother?” And in

one sentence your wedding planning comes to a grinding halt.

But that’s life, isn’t it? For all the ideas we have about dream dates and dream homes and

dream weddings, the word ‘budget’ is a big consideration for 99% of us. Somewhere on our

wedding planning checklist – usually at the top – there is a note about how much we have to

spend on our big day.

So how do we go about planning our dream wedding without having our budget take the

romance out of everything?

  1. Decide Who is Contributing

Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for almost everything. In some cultures that is still true.

More often though, the bride and groom pay for everything themselves OR the bride, groom,

his parents and her parents split the costs. Once you’ve made the decision to have a

wedding, ask those tough questions and find out who is going to contribute financially. If

possible, get together as a group and document who is paying for what.


  1. Determine What Your Budget Will Cover

There is nothing to say that a couple that spends $50,000 on their wedding will be any

happier than the couple that has $7,000 to spend. But you know their weddings are going to

look much different. Crunch your numbers and build your dream wedding based on what you

have available.


  1. Decide What is Non-negotiable

If you have an unlimited budget – and wouldn’t that be nice? – then you can have everything

and anything you want. But if you have a more restricted budget, decide what is non-

negotiable. Do you absolutely, positively have to have fresh orchids? Perhaps you can but

you need to but back on other parts of the ceremony and reception. Maybe a horse-drawn

carriage from the ceremony to the reception is something you can live without.


  1. Research! Research! Research!

There are lots of options for live bands, for instance. A local college music department may

have students eager to play at events for a lot less than a professional group. A small, start-

up bakery might be able to offer you a better deal than a franchised business.


  1. Don’t Go Into Debt

Play the long game. Would you like to spend $60,000 on your one-day wedding OR would

you prefer to start married life off without debt? Debt repayment is, by its very nature,



For more information about planning events, go to for a list of cities

and dates for the Institute of Wedding & Event Design courses.


How did you set your wedding budget? Post a comment. We would love to hear from you.

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