The Foundation of a Wedding Budget

Having trouble determining the budget for your wedding? It can be expensive… So, below is our guideline on making your money count them most.

Your wedding budget is based off how much you want or can spend. Some couples have spent years saving up for their wedding; while, others will have to take a wedding loan from their bank. Some couples will pay as they go; conversely, others will seek the help from their friends & families.

Our advice is this: A marriage is forever and if it’s meant to be it will be. Why rush the wedding if you have your entire lives to save and plan? Saving some money up, any amount, that way you can truly budget when it comes to the big day!

Who Are the Most Important Wedding Vendors?

There are three areas that make the biggest impact on your day. Your chair covers, table runners, and monogram napkins look great but your dollar goes a longer distance with these three vendors for your wedding:

Your venue: What is a nice wedding without a superb venue to host your guests for an evening full of love and laughter? Every bride and groom are different and your superb venue will be vastly different from someone else’s; however, your venue should take about 50% of your entire wedding budget. If you’re close to the 50% of your budget – they better be feeding you, too!

Your photographer & videographer: Anyone can use a camera and take a picture. Almost everyone has a cell phone that can take okay pictures, too. Contrary to popular belief there is a HUGE difference between taking a photo and artistically capturing your wedding day. Make your pictures as beautiful as you are, the bride-to-be, on your wedding day. Your wedding photographer is also someone who will be with you ALL. DAY. LONG. Make sure you get someone with a fun and outgoing approach so the day is full of fun – just as it should be. 10 – 12% of your budget should be spent on your photographer/videographer.

Your entertainment: Some people may say we are biased but that just isn’t the case. The truth is: a band or DJ can make or break your wedding day. Fun, professional, engaging, while also acting as your day of coordinator and MC. A good entertainer wears multiple hats. There is a lot riding on the shoulders of your entertainer to make sure the day goes according to plan… And, of course, that they can pack your dance floor at the end of the night! 8-10% is a healthy range to make sure you are getting the best wedding entertainment you can get in your budget.

As you can see, at the highest percentile, you can spend 72% of your budget on the top 3 MOST IMPACTFUL areas of your wedding day.

What About All the Other Stuff?

The Top Three are not the only things you really need to consider. Our top three wedding vendors are the areas where your money is BEST spent. Start there and if that was all you had…. your wedding would be one to remember forever.

We all know there are other things to spend money on…. Let’s get to it.

Ceremony: If the location isn’t included with your venue, it should be. If you have to rent an additional space from your venue this would have to incorporated into your 50% from the top three. Your justice of the peace, pastor, or friend getting ordained shouldn’t cost you more than 2-3% of your budget… and this is aggressive.

Flowers: These beautiful decorations are expensive. Remember that they are beautiful…. and the right florist can really set your wedding apart. If you’re looking to make REAL flowers the focus of your decorations you can expect to pay 8-10% of your entire budget on flowers.

Your Wedding Rings: Hard to put a price on these… The never-ending symbol of your love. They have no beginning and no end just like your love story and how it will forever grow. Experts say 2-3% of your entire budget. For both of you this isn’t too far off from our real life experiences.


Maine DJs88% of your budget ends here. You’re left with 12% to personalize your wedding: Stationery, gifts, extras like a photobooth, parking, attire, and if you’re really trying to stay within budget you’re going to want a “just in case” buffer zone. This just-in-case-buffer-zone takes away from your 12%. If you’re really focused on your budget and plan accordingly… plan for the unexpected!


Budgeting is hard… Knowing where to spend your money is harder. Not everything about your wedding is of equal value or importance. To talk out the other side of my mouth… Not everything that is important to one person will be important to the next. Just remember that your venue, entertainment, and photographer are the three things you’ll walk away and said “That was truly amazing”. Everything else – is just that, everything else.

Nicholas Bowie Haskell: No Umbrella Media
Jennifer & Michael Moore Photo: Jennifer & Michael Moore Photography