Image by Quince & Mulberry Studios via Miriam and Luke’s Brisbane Sunset Engagement Photos

So your big day is coming up but you realise this also means big money. With everything from the dress to the venue to the honeymoon, your expenses definitely start to add up.

Drawing up your wedding budget can seem like a big task, but with a little bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be difficult. So how can you set yourself a realistic wedding budget that will help you manage your wedding costs so you can enjoy your big day?

Determine all your different expenses

Setting up your wedding budget starts with determining what your priorities are. Have a look at other wedding budgets to see examples of what a wedding might involve – there might be some items you have not considered. To get the best idea of what each expense will cost, you can start shopping around for quotes.

To get the best prices, try not to mention the word “wedding” at first since this is the cue for suppliers to bump up their prices. This way, you’ll get a realistic idea of what things should cost. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle to see where you can get the best deal. In your draft wedding budget, take note of different suppliers and options.

Image by Quince & Mulberry Studios via Andrea and Nathan’s Urban Engagement Photos

Prioritise, cut down and cut out

The next step might be the toughest but it’s the most important. It’s time to sit down with your partner, go through your list of expenses and decide where to cut down or what to cut out entirely. This could mean having an out-of-season wedding to save on venue costs, taking people off your guest list (it may seem harsh, but do you really need your third cousin there?) or settling for a cheaper wine option.

Your final budget will come after a lot of tweaking. It’s crucial that both you and your partner are comfortable with how much you’ll spend on the wedding. More often than not, you’ll have to sacrifice your dream of a perfect wedding but in return, you’ll save yourself from starting married life in debt.

Consider your financing options

With 35% of people blowing their wedding budget (according to MoneySmart), sticking to it has shown to be difficult. To make it easier on yourself, determine in advance how you intend to pay for everything.

What do you already have saved and how much more can you save in the lead-up to the wedding? You might also need to find other ways to finance your wedding. With 41% of couples having wedding-related debt according to, it’s not uncommon to make your “something borrowed” a loan for wedding expenses.

Spread out your wedding bills

Another way to make sticking to your wedding budget easier on yourself is to spread out your wedding bills. You might be able to ask suppliers if you can pay for costs over multiple monthly payments. You could even determine which expenses you don’t have to pay for until closer to the wedding. This way, the expenses won’t hit you all at once, making it easier to manage your cash flow.

Keep yourself accountable

Over the course of your wedding planning, it’s easy to lose motivation. By setting up different systems to keep yourself accountable early on, you can minimise the risk of falling off the bandwagon as far as your budget goes.

If you’re tech savvy, you can draw up a simple spreadsheet to keep track of all the different costs. There is also a variety of apps available such as Wedding Happy and Wedding Countdown to help you stay on top of your finances.

Image by Alan Hughes Photography 

Ta-dah! And you’re ready! Well, as ready as a soon-to-be bride or groom can be. Remember that a wedding budget doesn’t have to be something that makes wedding planning more difficult. By taking the right steps, a wedding budget can be a helpful tool to keep your big day organised and manageable.

Ms Zigzag says: So, you got engaged over the Christmas and New Years holidays? CONGRATS! Now, you’re probably just starting to think about making plans. Stop right there and read these budgeting tips before you book anything in. 

About Bessie Hassan: Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at, the site that compares virtually everything. Bessie is an experienced commentator who often appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and advice. Bessie is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances, particularly during milestones throughout their life, such as their wedding day.