T H E C O S T E F F E C T I V E B R I D E
Vol 2, No. 2 May 7, 2001
Kelly Kons, Editor, email@example.com
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The Cost-Effective Bride \ Kós-te-'fek-tiv Brid \ n.
(2001): The about-to-be-married woman that desires the
tangible, emotional, and memorable benefits of her
wedding to outweigh the money and time spent on
producing those benefits. She is both elegant and fun,
emotional and sensible. She understands that more
expensive does not necessarily equal better. She is
HOW TO MAKE A WEDDING BUDGET
(I can't guarantee your sanity)
Okay, so let's be completely honest - making a wedding
budget is difficult. As far as wedding stress goes, I
would rank it right up there with making your guest
list (for those of you who have not experienced this
joy yet, don't worry, you'll soon understand). Now, I
am not trying to get you down, and I certainly would
not want you to go into this with a bad attitude - I
just want to warn you that creating a budget is not
what I would call fun. But as I said in the last
newsletter, it is very important.
What is going to make this a little more difficult for
you is that I am going to share with you one way to
create your wedding budget, but you are going to need
to change and adapt this to your situation. I mean,
let's face it, none of us are in the exact same
situation. Some of us have parents who say they are
going to pay for everything. Some of us have divorced
parents where the mother wants to pay for the dress,
the father wants to pay for the dinner, his mother
wants to pay for the flowers, and his father wants to
pay for rehearsal dinner - and they all want to pay for
cake. Each of you is going to need to figure out what
is best for you. But here is a place to start. (By
the way, no matter how frustrated you may get, don't
give up! It truly is important, you will survive, and
you can accomplish this!)
First, and possibly the hardest part, decide the total
amount you would like to spend on your wedding. The
national average is around $20,000. But, if you are
having 75 guests this is probably an obnoxious number.
If you are inviting around 200 guests, it is not out of
the realm of possibilities, however you may want to
challenge yourself and say "Then I am going to try to
only spend $14,000," - or less! Many of you know right
off the bat that you only have $7,000 to spend on your
wedding - and that could really be to your benefit to
have that cut-off point! But, for those of you who
have been given free reign, I would suggest to try and
go easy on your wallet and your parent's. It may seem
like your wedding is the most important thing now, but
someday you may find yourself wishing you hadn't spent
quite so much money so you could afford the house you
Would you do me a favor? I need to know what you think
of our wedding websites. Would you please sign up for
a free trial site, enter your stories, take a look at
your site, and tell me what you think? Sign up at:
and then write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank You!
Once you have picked the total amount you want to spend
on your wedding, I would recommend taking $2,000 off
that total. If you said $9,000, change it to $7,000.
If you said $15,000, change it to $13,000. Of course,
if you said $2,000 this is going to be difficult -
instead, take off $200 or so. The reason I recommend
doing this is because of all of the last minute
expenses that you aren't going to think of right now.
For example, are you going to remember to budget in
money for fancy nylons? How about new makeup? Or, a
rehearsal dinner dress? There are things that you may
not think you are going to want or need now, but once
you throw so much money around, it becomes very easy to
throw more around, and you will need to be careful.
So, if you take off $2,000 now, all those little
expenses that add up quickly will still fit into your
Next, communication, as always. Sit down with your
fiance and decide what the most important parts of the
day are. Do this by first making a list of all of your
expenses. Here is a list of the major expenses to help
- Wedding and Engagement Rings (15%)
- Wedding Dress and Veil (5%)
- Reception (Site and Catering) (35%)
- Photographer/Videographer (10%)
- DJ/Band/Entertainment (4%)
- Invitations/Stationery (4%)
- Flowers (10%)
- Cake (3%)
- Wedding Party Gifts (2%)
- Rehearsal Dinner (2%)
- Officiant/Ceremony Fees (1%)
- Decorations (3%)
- Limo/Bus/Car (2%)
- Tuexedos (1%)
- Pre-Wedding Parties (3%)
Now decide, of these things, which are the most
important to you - pick 2-3. When my fiance and I did
this, for us the flowers and musicians were very
important. We really wanted a beautiful ceremony and
to us that meant flowers and music. And for you, it
may be the dress or the photographer that is really
important. But, make sure to decide this together and
to talk about why it is important to you.
Once you have picked the 2-3 really important things to
the two of you, decide a percentage to assign to them.
In parenthesis after each of the major expenses there
is a percentage that is national average*. Please
understand that just because something is the national
average, does not mean that it is the right amount for
you - you need to decide this for yourself. And, this
is why I had you choose 2-3 very important things for
you. If you feel that they are so important that they
merit a slightly higher percentage, go ahead and change
that. But, for every percentage point you raise, you
will need to lower something else by the same amount.
In the end, your percentages should add up to 100.
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But, before you get too into that, I would like to
point out a couple of things that the national average
did not take into consideration, but that you
- Marriage License
- Dress Alterations
- Stamps for Invitations and Thank You Notes
- Hair/Nail Appointment
- Gift for Bride/Groom
- Dry Cleaning of Wedding Gown and/or Preservation
- Keep thinking, I'm sure there's more!
With all this in mind, begin forming your budget - and
make sure to write it down or type it! At the top of
your budget write the total amount of your budget
(minus $2,000). Make three columns: 1) The Expense
Item, 2) The Percentage, and 3) The Amount (multiply
your total budget by the percent to get this number).
Make adjustments where you feel necessary, until you
have your finished wedding budget.
Congratulations! You will have completed a major
hurdle for most brides and you should be very proud of
yourself! In two weeks, I will give you some advice on
what you should now do with this budget - and you
thought all you had to do was write it down!
I hope this article is a source of help to you and your
wedding planning and I wish you much happiness always!
Kelly Kons, Editor
* These percentages were taken from the book "The
Complete Wedding Planner" by Suzanne Kresse, 1991 Avon
Books - which I totally recommend as a great source to
help you plan your big day!
** Do you have questions about this or past articles?
Please drop me a line. I would love to hear from you
and help you out in any way I can! **
- Kelly Kons, Editor
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