Elevated Wedding Planning Meets Unrivaled Design

Realistic Expectations for Your Wedding Budget

Matthew Moore Photography

I think most newly engaged couples have an inkling of what they should do before they begin wedding planning. Aside from announcing the engagement and posting the cute ring selfies, of course.

But it’s not the most fun or glamorous part, so it often gets pushed aside or only talked about here and there.

We’re talking about setting the budget. And not just any budget. A wedding budget tethered by realistic expectations. Because it’s all too easy to hitch your numbers to a hot air balloon and let them float above the clouds. 

And we get it. We really do! It’s so much fun to get inspired and dream up the perfect wedding day. And we’re certainly here to help you make that happen. 

But we also want to help you make it happen in a realistic way. That means knowing your budget, setting realistic expectations, respecting the numbers, and being transparent.  

So today we’re giving you some tips for setting those expectations while having your wedding cake and eating it too. 

Prioritize What’s Important 

First and foremost, you need to know where you’re going before you can figure out how to get there. If you don’t know what you value or what’s important to you in terms of wedding style/theme/details/etc., you aren’t going to know where to invest your time and money.

Think about your big vision. What kind of wedding do you want? Formal? Casual? Is décor more important than entertainment? What kind of experience do you want guests to have? What are your absolute must-haves? And what could you care less about?

Take some time to think about these questions, your overall vision, and what you value. The more you understand your priorities and what’s important to you, the more I can help you create a budget that fits your vision. 

Have a Rough Guest Count 

Wedding budgets depend on a lot of things: style, rental costs, catering, venue choice, among many others. But perhaps one of the most underrated factors related to budgeting is the guest count.

Lots of couples come to us thinking that their guest numbers don’t matter. That they can spend $80-$125k, no matter the number of guests, and receive a fully designed wedding. This is not realistic. You cannot expect to invite many people and spend very little.

The truth is, guest count plays a huge role in wedding planning. And it will dictate nearly everything else, from what venue you choose to how much catering will cost to entertainment and beyond.   

During our meetings, we’ll talk about guest count and crunch numbers. If the price seems too high, we can discuss alternatives and ways we can manipulate the design to fit your budget. We can move things around, like floral and rental costs. And we can give you choices, like a band vs. a DJ.  

In the end, you may realize you need or want to trim your guest count to cut down on costs. And that’s okay too.

Decide What You’re Comfortable Spending 

Wedding budgets come in two categories:

1 | What the wedding you want will cost
2 | The amount of money you are able and willing to spend

Having realistic expectations means focusing on the latter. This also means being transparent about your budget – with yourself and us. 

Hone in on those priorities and never feel obligated to spend more than you are comfortable with spending. If you realize that your dream wedding will cost more than anticipated, let’s talk about it honestly and openly. 

Don’t ever feel like you have to fudge the numbers to achieve your vision. All we have to do is rework some details and talk about how we can still make your wedding dream the real deal. 

So go ahead and sit down with your partner and discuss what you both feel comfortable spending. Keep in mind that the amount is what you’re able (and willing) to spend without taking on debt. 

Include Wiggle Room 

Remember to include wiggle room in your budget for unexpected costs. For example, if a vendor no longer wants to take on a task (like handling candles), it falls on us last minute. This means we’ll most likely split the cost of staffing/labor.

There are also costs you may not initially think about, like emergency kits, travel time, and gratuities. These little overlooked things can add up quickly and result in overspending if you don’t already have some flexibility built into your budget.  

Hire a Wedding Planner 

Wedding planners may seem like a luxury vendor, but we can actually save you money. And time! And let’s face it, money is time. Not only that, but we can also save you a lot of unnecessary stress, especially when it comes to budgeting. 

Weddings are not a one-size-fits-all situation. And just as your vision won’t look like someone else’s, neither will your budget. We take time to understand your unique wants and needs to create realistic expectations and a budget to build your dream wedding. Along with a dream team! 


Having realistic expectations for your wedding budget doesn’t have to be a downer. In fact, having a healthy, solid budget in place can make the process much more manageable and fun. 

Get in touch, and we’ll help you crunch some numbers!

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.