The part couples dread and usually wish to skip.

No matter how you twist and turn trying to sneak around it, this is the inevitable task that needs to be done, and it is probably the most important too. To be fair though, setting a budget does nothing unless it is followed...

In all honesty I like budgeting as it sets a clear frame, gives you an idea of what can be done and allows for some fun. 

No matter what kind of money you have there are some general guidelines that can help you decide what you can spend, and what you will want to save or splurge on. 

Photo by Karolina Wahlman

Photo by Karolina Wahlman


A good first step in calculating your overall budget is figuring out who is actually paying. Perhaps it's just you and your partner, or maybe your parents or other family members want to contribute. Try to find out how much each party is willing to spend, or what particular aspect of the wedding they'd like to take care of. It could be a grandma wants to help out with the dress or suit, or a father with the cost of pre-drinks.
Never assume your parents or other loved ones are willing and able to help cover the cost of a wedding, and exclude gifts from this post.

Once you have an idea of how much financial assistance you'll receive, focus on your own contribution.

  • How much can you and your partner realistically—and comfortably— afford to spend given all the real-life expenses you have to cover? 

  • Based on your monthly income, how much can you both reasonably save between now and the wedding? After you've made payments for existing debts and paid your monthly bills, set aside up to 10 percent of your earnings each month. I would suggest you to establish direct deposits into a separate account for wedding expenses so it isn't just leftovers that get saved. 

  • How much, if any, can you responsibly pull from an existing savings account? 

When calculating your finances please remember that it's not about how much money you spend, it's how much joy you feel on the day that counts!


You and your partner will probably have differing opinions as to which items are worth spending money on.
Make a list each consisting of three things that are your top priorities for the day. Once you have decided on your priorities, note down other items within each sector of the event and number them from most to least important. The things valued most important will be allotted a bigger percentage of the budget. 

The cost of a wedding is pretty much based on guest count. Your guest count will generate the number of items you'll need to pay for; invitations, food, beverage and favours. It also determines choice of venue, means of transportation and accommodation.

Being strategic about who you invite is the best way to cut down on wedding costs from the beginning. For help with tackling your wedding guest list, you can always give me a call. A blog post about the subject is on its way. 


The important thing is to actually write everything down. Create a spreadsheet with columns for each item as well as Estimated and Actual costs. Update the budget as you go and feel free to move posts or amounts around as things change. 

Focus on the feeling of the event rather than the price tag.
If you want you can also create a dream budget where money is not an issue as this may open your way of thinking and generate some new ideas. Be creative and align the two budgets as much as possible. 

Photo by Karolina Wahlman

Photo by Karolina Wahlman


There are a lot of costs, both obvious and hidden, that you'll have to consider before nailing down where your wedding budget will ultimately land. Read the fine-print and do your research about hidden costs like corkage fees, overtime for staff and set-up/breakdown prices.

If you are unsure about hiring a wedding planner for the full process consider having just an initial consultation to make sure you are on the right track and then on-the-day coordination for a smooth execution of your wedding. 

I always advise my couples to allot 10% of the budget for unexpected fees. Whether it is for dry-cleaning, last-minute cab trips or having to buy tons of umbrellas it will come in handy. And if not, it will be money you can spend on something else afterwards. 

Obviously the type of wedding you decide to have will determine what it is gonna cost, but there are many ways to be smart about it. Can you change the season of your wedding? Perhaps go for a weekday instead of weekend? Look for a full-service venue with beautiful decor in line with your theme instead of having to create it all yourselves?
Be honest as to whether or not the wedding of your dreams fits into your budget, and adjust your plan accordingly. 

You should know that the most common things to overspend on is the venue, bar tab, the bridal dress and stationery. 


  • Buy insurance so you are covered for any unexpected situations. 

  • Negotiate over the phone or in person with vendors for better prices. 

  • Hire as few vendors and suppliers as possible. 

  • Keep decorations to a minimum and focus only on the places where it matters.

  • Host the ceremony and reception in the same place. 

  • Be smart in the choice of venue as some places requires you to hire a caterer, kitchen equipment, furniture, linens, china, glassware, silverware or even lights, restrooms and heating systems. 

  • Get help from a professional wedding planner as it will save you money, time and energy.

xx Karolina



I have years of experience from budgeting for weddings and can help you put together a realistic budget.