Wedding Budget Basics

Wedding Budget Basics by Becca Hatlestad of Jubilee Weddings & Events

You said yes, and now you are engaged! You have the ring you have always dreamed of, but wait… what comes next?!


Family and friends are showering you with congratulations, and then the endless questions come flocking… Date, colors, venue, and the list goes on. Your mind becomes engulfed in thinking about your wedding dress, who to select as your wedding part attendants, outdoor or indoor, buffet or plated etc. This is where we take it back to the basics.

First things first– you should not start planning a wedding without establishing a budget.

But I don’t need a wedding budget you may say.

Think about it this way, would you go out and sign an apartment lease or buy a house without first checking over the monthly rent, utilities, parking fees, etc. to ensure your monthly income is sufficient to cover all your expenses? Your answer should be NO!

The same goes for a wedding budget. Without a well-defined plan, even with the largest most grandiose amount of money you will almost always overspend. Who wants to start their new life together as husband and wife with additional debt or added anxiety because of monetary complications? Not you I hope.


Ok, you say. You convinced me, but I have no idea where to start. I do not even know what an average wedding costs.

Let’s start by going over wedding averages here in Minnesota.


$20,732 to $34,553

Guest Count: 160 – 180

Price per Guest: $146 – $179

This might make you think twice before adding everyone you know to your guest list.



NOTE: These averages do NOT include the honeymoon expenses.

Check out the COST OF WEDDING to see averages if you are outside of Hennepin County

Averages aside, do not focus on what everyone else is doing. Your wedding is about you and your relationship alone. The amount you are willing and able to spend is completely up to you. Just use this as a general guideline to understand how wedding expenses can truly add up.

Ok so now we know the averages, but how much am I suppose to allocate for each wedding expense?

Budget breakdown based on United States average of $25,656


Now these percentages are not hard or fast rules, use them more as guidelines. With that said, isn’t it easy to see how fast everything adds up?!

Then as the final step before finalizing the budget I always have couples use my budget prioritization tool.

My prioritization tool is fabulous because it accounts for specific areas of the wedding that may be especially important to you. The couple individually ranks their top 3-5 items when it comes to the wedding day. Together we compare lists, and use these priorities to modify wedding budget percentages.

For example, if wedding photography was extremely important to the couple, and their ideal photographer is over their allotted amount, we will move additional money into this category and take money away from another category of less significance.

Do remember that the MONEY ON RESERVE is not for these priorities. Money on reserve is solely meant for the additional expenses that come up throughout the planning process. And trust me, this happens to everyone! Check out my article on 13 Hidden Wedding Costs.

Once the overall budget is established and each category is allocated you are able to better select vendors that fit within your budget. As a wedding planner I have various vendors in each category to meet your style and price point. So once the wedding budget is established, I am able to give you the proper referrals.


Now you may be saying… why would I spend money on a planner? I could just use that extra money to put towards any other areas in my budget to stretch it further. Unfortunately this is not always true. My main job as a wedding planner is to keep you on budget. Many couples need someone to be their guide and prevent them from starting to overspend.

Further, as a planner I have established relationships with fabulous vendors in the industry. Due to these relationships, I am actually able to get discounts for my clients on many of their wedding day services. Not to mention I have access to many amazing vendors you may have trouble finding on your own. The common truth is that with a planner you will not only save time and stress, but often the money you pay towards a planner is covered by the savings you receive from the vendors they refer. Further, planners know tons of tricks to help you save money without your guests even noticing.

You may also be saying… Um I do NOT have $25,000 to put towards my wedding. And this is totally ok if you are in that place. Please keep in mind that this is the average and not a standard. Many couples plan fabulous weddings for far less. Stay true to who you are and your wedding will be amazing no matter what you spend!

After reading this you may be thinking… This is such great information! I’m getting married and I could use some help! If that is you then please give me a CALL or send me an EMAIL.

My favorite thing about being a wedding planner is using my skills to help others through this exciting and important time in their life, and keeping it stress free!

Cheers! Becca


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Wedding Budget Basics