Wedding Budget 101

By Nadia S. Anderson, CPA, CWEP, Lavender Hill 

“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 recent 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 to 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, it’s recommended 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 who can advise you of the things that your detailed budget may be missing.  It’s important to 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, the Owner of Virginia Grace, an Event Management company focused on planning luxury weddings and coordinating events at Lavender Hill an intimate garden venue in the heart of Richmond. To learn more about how her team can help you create stress-free wedding memories, please visit To learn more about the venue, visit