By Nadia Anderson

“What’s your budget?” It’s one of the first questions your vendors will ask as you set up consultations.

Why It’s Important

According to a 2015 poll, only 9% of couples didn’t pay for any part of their wedding.  The remaining 91% need a financial plan to help govern decision making when choosing the best fit for wedding vendors. Creating a spending plan at the start of the wedding planning process saves you time because it helps narrow your focus to the vendors whose prices fall within your spending range.  It also saves you the heartache of falling in love with a product or service provider that you really cannot afford. Now, let’s get to the math.

The Perfect Formula

FC + CC = MS x 75% = WB!

Step 1: Determine your family contribution (FC).

Sometimes, parents or other family members offer to pay for a specific service like the cake, photography, or music.  It is certainly helpful to have loved ones make a financial commitment to assist with your big day; however, they may not have a current idea of the cost of the service.  Therefore, I recommend that you ask them to tell you the specific dollar amount that they would like to contribute and when you can expect to receive it.

Step 2. Calculate the couple’s contribution (CC).

What you and your fiancé have saved specifically for the wedding is the basis for the “couple’s contribution.”  If you don’t have a dedicated savings, you can still have the wedding of your dreams – you just need more time to realize that dream.  Take your after tax income and subtract all the bills and personal expenses that you have in a month.  The cash that you have left can be added to wedding savings. Add this amount for the number of months that remain before your target wedding date, and now you have your couple’s contribution.

Step 3. Add the family contribution to the couple contribution to determine the maximum spend (FC + CC = MS).

This is the maximum amount that you will have available to spend on your wedding.  There are always unexpected items that come up, especially if you don’t partner with a professional wedding planner that can advise you of the things that your detailed budget may be missing.  Therefore, I suggest that you take one more step to determine your wedding budget.

Step 4. Reduce the maximum spend by 25%  (MS x .75 = WB!).

Reducing the maximum spend amount ensures that you will not overspend even when you pick up last minute items just days before your wedding.  Now you have your wedding budget!

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner, and the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management. To learn more about how she can design and manage your event, please visit