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8 Reasons Your Wedding Budget Isn’t Working

So, you've set your budget, but you're having trouble sticking to it. Learn some common reasons why you may be finding that your wedding budget isn't working for you.

Whether it’s asking for advice about how to decide on a wedding budget or attempting to navigate how to stay within the wedding budget you and your partner have set, we cannot count the number of questions we see and are asked about budgets. We never tire of talking about budgets because it’s such an important piece of your wedding planning process. Plus, we’re also of the opinion that the more we talk about money together as a community–or with our partners– the less “taboo” this topic will be.

Why Your Wedding Budget Isn’t Working for You

Rather than diving into wedding budgets in general or even how to create a wedding budget, we thought we would delve further into a different topic– why your wedding budget isn’t working for you and your partner. Below we’re sharing eight reasons why your wedding budget doesn’t feel like the right fit and how to fix that problem. Keep reading!

You Didn’t Set a Wedding Budget:

When you first start planning your wedding, one of the most important steps to take is to set a wedding budget. This involves chatting with everyone who will be contributing financially to your wedding day, whether that’s just you and your partner or both of you and parents, family members, and even friends. This should be an honest (and, we mean honest!) conversation about money that ends with everyone sharing how much they’re realistically comfortable spending. From there, you’ll find a number that will be your wedding budget to guide you every step of the way.

If you started planning the details before setting a wedding budget, you will likely reach a point where you feel lost and overwhelmed. It’s not too late to fix those feelings! Set up a meeting now with your finance crew and talk through the details. Edit the items that are causing you to go over your preferred total.

You Didn’t Rank Your Must-Haves:

Another helpful step to take while planning your wedding is to rank your top three (or five!) must-haves. This could be things like photography, entertainment (think: playlist vs. DJ vs. band), flowers, venue, food, etc. This is a great exercise because it will show you where you might like to potentially allocate more of your budget versus where you can choose to save.

If you don’t rank your must-haves, you may feel frustrated by the potential cost of your wedding. Press pause on your planning, take a moment to rank your priorities, edit, and start again. You won’t be able to splurge in every area– very few people can! But you will be able to make sure your favorite items have a shining moment on your day.

You’re Comparing:

While you’re planning your wedding, you will likely attend other events for friends or family members. While you’re watching your favorite people tie the knot, all the choices they made for their wedding day will be on full display. And, you might start comparing their day to your future soiree. Allow us to stop you in your tracks!

In general, one of the worst things we all do is compare our lives and circumstances to someone else’s reality. Most often, this practice leaves us feeling frustrated and hallow. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s day and find yourself gathering new ideas. That’s great! But, where the problems arise is when you allow someone else’s choices to overshadow the ones you have already made. Lean into the choices you have made and remember they felt (and likely still feel!) right to you. Plan your day. That’s what your guests want to see and experience anyway!

You’re Still on Pinterest:

Pinterest is a wonderful tool for gathering visual inspiration for your day. On it, you can find color palettes, seasonal ideas, DIY tutorials, resources on where to purchase items, attire, flowers, and so much more. Pinterest is the place to be when you’re starting to plan your wedding day, but be careful not to overdo it. It’s not somewhere you should spend a ton of time once your planning is well underway and decisions have been made.

Wedding planning can be endless if you don’t stick to the choices you have made and place your trust in the wedding professionals (or friends and family!) who will bring your vision to life. Plus, you will spend far more than you intended. If you’re on Pinterest right now, here’s your sign to close that tab!

You’re Not Planning Your Wedding:

The two most important people who are involved in planning your wedding are you and your partner. You'll want to make sure the choices you make feel right for your relationship and the experience you wish to share. But, we know all too well that your family and friends will offer their own opinion. That’s great! Make sure your voices are heard amongst the noise.

It’s when your opinions feel as though they’re being drowned out by others who likely mean well that your carefully laid plans may start to unravel. That can also cause your wedding budget to inflate in ways you had hoped to avoid. So, while you’re planning, never shy away from voicing your opinion, especially when it pertains to spending what feels most comfortable to you and your love.

You’re Not Tracking Your Spending:

If it feels like your wedding budget isn't working, it may be because you're not thoroughly tracking your expenses. From the moment you start planning your wedding, decide how you want to track your spending. It might look like a list that’s handwritten, it could involve an accounting program, or it could be a shared document in Google Drive that allows you to continuously update. The key thing is to choose a method…and update it!

If you don’t track every single thing from your total wedding budget, that's when problems arise. So, to be clear: track your spending diligently! It may feel tedious, but the attention to detail can and will save you later.

You Didn’t Budget for the Unexpected:

Whether you’re planning a vacation or going to the grocery store, working on a DIY project or planning a wedding, there are always unexpected costs. Some costs you should anticipate while planning your wedding are postage for invitations, pickup and delivery fees, permit fees, travel expenses, cleaning fees, and more.

When you’re allocating your wedding budget, shy away from “spending” every dollar, even on a spreadsheet. Leave a percentage set aside to cover any surprise costs. Allowing wiggle room means you’ll still spend within the total you set even if a new line item pops up.

You Didn’t Marry Your Wedding Budget:

Before you marry your partner, you need to first marry your wedding budget. While that may sound and feel corny, it’s one of the best things you can do! Sticking with the wedding budget that you set is crucial in avoiding overages or feeling like it isn't working.

As we mentioned, there are a variety of reasons you may feel pressured to overspend. Pinterest will always offer new ideas, friends and family will have opinions, there will be new details you fall for and unexpected costs. One way to view your budget is to think of it as something that can grow and change. The savvy way to view it is as a fixed number.

Viewing your budget as a number that’s set in stone will help avoid surpassing it. When you see your budget as concrete, it will help you keep from going into debt. We're here to offer support of all kinds, but our best advice surrounding wedding budgets is this: Do not start your marriage by going into debt. Your marriage is a years-long journey together; your wedding, though fun, is a wonderful party that lasts one day. Play the long game, friends.

How did you set your wedding budget? How are you working to stay within your number? Let’s keep the wedding budget conversation going – join us in our community to talk about all things wedding budgets!


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The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!