From scrolling through Pinterest to trying on dresses, wedding planning can feel like all fun and games…until it’s time to talk numbers, that is. Setting a carefully outlined budget is one of the most important steps a couple can do, but starting the conversation isn’t always a cakewalk. Rest assured, we’ve taken out all the legwork with six steps to create a completely realistic budget that keeps your priorities in check every step of the way.

1. Start the Discussion

Before vendors are hired or venue contracts are signed, it’s so important to schedule a sit-down with your partner, family, and any contributing parties to discuss how much you’d like to invest in the event. Start by thinking big picture about where you’d like to have your wedding, how many guests might be invited, and how formal or informal you envision it to be. Of course, talking about money with your loved ones can be a tad uncomfortable, but it’s a critical step to avoiding a potential budget crisis down the line.

2. Do Your Homework

Once you and your partner are on the same page about how much you’d like to spend, it’s time to hit the ground running with market research in your area. There are many resources out there to help navigate the numbers, but make sure you’re taking into account the specific region you’re getting married in, the guest count, and any big-ticket items you’re hoping to include. It’s also helpful to schedule calls with local professionals or to ask friends who’ve recently gotten married in a similar area or venue style.

3. Set Your Priorities

As you think about putting together your budget, try to identify three or four of the most important elements that you’d like to prioritize. These could be areas that are really special to you, like a dream photographer or videographer. Or, they could be elements to heighten the guest experience, such as floral or lighting design. Most importantly, once you’ve established the top priorities, remember to stay flexible in other categories with cost-saving options to keep expenses from spiraling.

4. Create a Detailed Budget

Get down to the nitty-gritty with a plan outlining the percentage of your overall budget you’d like to allocate toward each category of your wedding. We recommend listing your budget in ranges rather than an exact number in each category to allow flexibility as you move forward in the process. No matter how you choose to allocate your percentages, make sure you’re both comfortable with the high amount as the absolute max you’re willing to spend.

5. Account for Extras

When you’re budgeting, always be sure to add a “cushion line” for any overage that might come up. We recommend that it be a large cushion fund because let’s face it, there’s always something you’ll find along the way that you'll want to add. Whether it’s an upgraded chair or the addition of a raw bar to the cocktail hour, you can decide how you want to spend that cushion fund once you’re further along in the planning process. 


In addition to your cushion fund, don’t forget to factor in those miscellaneous expenses, such as tipping, dress alterations, postal stamps and more.

6. Track Your Payments

Now that you’ve done all the hard work of budgeting, make sure to keep track of your payments in one centralized spot. By working with a pro on Aisle Planner, you can be granted access to the tools and features that allow you to keep tabs on your budget throughout the entire planning process.

Hero Photo Courtesy of By Julieta