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As owner and lead florist of Lang Floral Designs, a wedding floral studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I see a very wide variety of wedding budget breakdown percentages. Each bride or client who reaches out to us about their wedding flowers receives a questionnaire from us which includes a few questions about their wedding and floral needs so we can review it and make sure we’re a good fit. Within that list of questions is “Overall Wedding Budget” and “Floral Budget”, and I can’t tell you how often we get an answers like “I really have no idea what I should be spending on flower (or what wedding flowers cost), so right now I’m just looking for some pricing.”
However, before we schedule our first meeting, I require some kind of answer about the budget breakdown from them. Here’s why: What if the floral budget is a huge question mark and after we meet I give them a quote for their DREAM WEDDING floral package of $5,000+? But if they were actually hoping for a quote of under $2,000, then the bride is going to be so shocked by the quote that she’ll probably just move on to the next florist in town. So now we’ve both waisted a bunch of time.
I would so much rather get a sense of what the client feels would be reasonable for their wedding. It’s not that we can’t work within a smaller budget. But with a rough budget of about $1,800, I would have never spend an hour+ in a meeting talking about the DREAM wedding package. We would have looked at her inspiration pictures and said “Okay, so if you LOVE this extravagant centerpiece, but you’re on a tight budget, maybe we could do 4 centerpieces similar to that (slightly scaled down), and 10 smaller and more affordable centerpieces on the remaining tables to balance out the cost.”
So how much should you be spending in each category of your wedding budget? Read more to see our suggested percentages and download your own customizable wedding budget Excel spreadsheet!
What Percentage Should I Spend In Each Category of My Wedding Budget?
So, when a client comes to me with a giant question mark for the wedding budget breakdown percentages, I always like to refer them to some resources that could help. However, I’ve never felt like any of those resource gave a quick and easy example of what the budget breakdown could be (i.e. food, dress, flowers, cake, etc). There aren’t many out there that give a starting point with percentages. I’ve been in the wedding industry for almost a decade, and we’ve done over 100 weddings. So I decided to just do it myself!
We’re in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, and cost-of-living here is really reasonable for cities in the United States. So in the example below I’m going to start with a $20,000 overall wedding budget, just as a starting point.
Please note that if you’re in an area where cost-of-living is high (New York City, LA, Chicago, etc.), or even in another country, you might feel that a $20,000 wedding budget is unreasonably low. Or, your wedding budget might be much lower than $20,000. You can still work with what you have. This is just an example.
SAMPLE $20,000 Wedding Budget Breakdown With Percentages
|WEDDING BUDGET CATEGORY||APPROX. %||IF YOUR BUDGET IS $20K|
|Attire (Bride & Groom)||10%||$2,000|
|Venue(s) & Rentals||18%||$3600|
|Photographer & Videographer||15%||$3,000|
|Flowers & Decor||15%||$3,000|
|Food & Drink||15%||$3,000|
|Cake (and/or other desserts)||5%||$1,000|
|Planning or Coordination||5%||$1,000|
|All Music & Audiovisual (DJ &/or Band)||4%||$800|
|Invitations (& other paper goods)||4%||$800|
|Favors & Other Guest Amenities||3%||$600|
|Officiant Fee or Donation||2%||$400|
|Other Misc. Expenses||4%||$800|
You can download your own customizable Excel version below:
There are a few random categories I didn’t include in the above wedding budget breakdown. In my experience, these are the types of items that usually come out of the couple’s pocket or from another source outside of the main wedding budget. Be sure to account for these necessities and decide where the funds will come from to cover them: Gifts for Bridal Party and/or Parents, Tips for Certain Vendors, Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Rings, Honeymoon, Post-Wedding Thank You Cards.
Flexibility Within Your Wedding Budget Breakdowns & Percentages
Keep in mind that these numbers are just a starting point. Often, there might be a category or two where you feel like you just HAVE to spend more. Did you fall in LOVE with a venue that was a little higher than you originally budgeted, but offers a TON of amenities? Are you and your guests big drinkers who will probably consume more alcohol than the average wedding? Are you a visual person whose priority is that your wedding include gorgeous flowers and decor?
All these things are fine. But you need to be prepared to scale back in another area if you go “over budget” in one. Or, you’ll just have to increase your overall wedding budget. For some couples, they have a firm/set amount of money from their parents, maybe a little bit they’re contributing, and that’s it! Going over budget isn’t an option, because they literally don’t have any other source. But for others, the wedding budget is just a guess, and it’s flexible and ever-evolving. Only you (or the person responsible for your wedding budget), can make that decision.
A Little Pep Talk About Your Wedding Budget
Unless you are a couple who has been living together for a while before the engagement, chances are, the wedding is the first big thing you’ve had to plan together with a budget. I firmly encourage you to put your big girl (or boy) panties on, and FORCE yourself to stay within your overall budget, or very close to it. Even if your parents are paying for the wedding and you know they could come up with more if they had to, this is an excise in self control.
Your entire marriage will consist of money-related decisions like purchasing cars, purchasing your first home, and managing debt. At some point, as a couple, you will have to get on the same page budget-wise and learn to say NO to some things you truly want, in order to compromise on something more affordable. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. There will always be a “next best” option that is just out of reach. The sooner you opt for maturity and self control, and decide to be thankful for what you do have and can afford, the more peaceful and unified your marriage will be.
Your Perfect Day…on any Wedding Budget!
Ultimately, your wedding budget breakdown and percentages are not as important as the union happening between the two of you. Of course, when you have a higher wedding budget you can hire more help to make the day go by more smoothly. However, even if you’re on a tight budget, please know that you can still accomplish the wedding of your dreams. I recommend spending a little time between the two of you discussing what elements of your wedding are most important, and then let the other items be decided by your remaining budget.
If you can, delegate some of those lesser important tasks to your bridal party and close family who are willing to lend a helping hand. Good luck with all your planning, and don’t forget that even though wedding planning can be stressful, you are in a very special season of your life that is like none other. Being engaged and planning your future with the one you want to be with forever is a such a blessing. So when the stress of wedding planning and budgeting becomes too much, put the planning to-do list aside, take a deep breath, and spend some quality time with your fiance, being thankful for what your future holds with the one you love.
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Lang Floral Designs is a premier wedding florist in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We do wedding and event flowers in the surrounding areas of East Tennessee and North Georgia, and we also love providing brides everywhere with useful ideas and information for their wedding day. For a better idea of all we can do at your wedding, click here. Contact us today if you’re interested in hiring us for your wedding or event.