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How to Determine a Realistic Wedding Budget

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

While the average wedding in Minnesota is about $29,000... You can absolutely plan your wedding for more or less! Use these steps to help you figure out what your wedding budget should be.

One of the hardest parts when we were planning our weddings was figuring out how much it would cost and how the heck we were going to pay for it! Both of us were one of the first in our friend groups to get married, so we didn’t have a lot of people to lean on when trying to figure this out. This is how we were able to break it down and figure out what our realistic budget was:

Step One:

Sit down with your partner and figure out what each of your wedding priorities are. Compare both of your top three priorities on your list. Is there overlap? If so, this is a great place to decide where you may want to splurge or spend a little more.

Step Two:

Figure out if anyone else (outside of you and your partner) will be contributing financially to the wedding, and if so how much / what for.

Step Three:

Take a look at your income and bills. How much is leftover after all of your monthly bills are paid? From that number, what is feasible and realistic for you to set aside each month to go towards the wedding? That amount is your monthly contribution number (MCN). Once you have that number figured out, multiply that by the amount of paychecks between now and your wedding date. (MCN x "#" of months = "Personal Budget").

Step Four:

  • If you don't have anyone else contributing, use the total from step three as your "Baseline Budget" and continue to Step Five.

  • If you do have someone else contributing, add the additional contribution amount to your "Minimum Budget". ("Personal Budget" + "Additional Contribution(s)" = "Baseline Budget".)

  • Your "Baseline Budget" is your realistic budget, based on what you can afford out of pocket. You can choose to increase or decrease your budget depending on your situation and quotes received (more on that in step five).

Step Five:

Identify a list of types of vendors you will need for your big day. Do your research and reach out to various vendors for quotes. This will help you get an understanding of the average cost by type of vendor. Once you know the average cost for each type of vendor you will need, add that up. (Average Venue Quote + Average Catering quote + Average Photographer Quote + Average Attire Quote + Average Bar Quote + Average Videography Quote + Any Other Vendor Type Quote = "Total Estimated Average".)

Step Six:

Compare your baseline budget from step three to your total estimated average from step five. ("Baseline Budget" - "Total Estimated Average" = "Total Difference")

  • If the number is positive - that means you have extra money to spend (or save)!

  • If the number is negative - that means you would be spending more than your realistic baseline budget on your big day.


What is your total difference amount? Is there a large discrepancy either way? If there is a big difference, you can decide what would be best for your situation.

  • If you have a positive difference, you could increase your budget if you wanted to one of your top 3 priorities that you identified at the beginning (add that wedding painter or upgrade your chairs!). Otherwise you could consider putting that extra away for vendor tips or any surprise expenses that arise.

  • If there is a negative difference

  • Consider pushing your wedding date out another year to give yourself more time to save up for your big day.

  • Look at cutting your guest list back

  • There are also many financial options like taking out a personal/wedding loan to make up for the difference.

  • Otherwise, there are definitely ways for you to save additional money or cut back on your big day. Check out our other budget blog posts, 12 ways to cut costs on your wedding day and ideas to save money and savings tracker.

Ultimately, the decision is yours and your partner's to make. The two of you will be able to work together to figure out what is best for you guys and your beautiful day!

#SotaBride #Wedding #WeddingPlanning #WeddingBudget #Budget #Finances #MNBride #MNWedding


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