2. Not Allocating Funds Correctly

  • Just like buying shoes, an apartment or a pair of jeans, when it comes to financing a wedding, you should figure out how much you need to spend to get what you want. Set your expectations accordingly, and use our budget breakdown above as a guide. (FYI, the average wedding cost is $33,931.) To avoid stress, also allot 5% of your budget for a "just-in-case" fund. If you're paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.

  • If you're asking yourself how you can possibly save up for something as expensive as a wedding, don't worry—it's doable. As soon as you're engaged, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. Saving 20% of your monthly income is a good—though lofty—goal. The longer your engagement, the more you'll be able to put away. You can also save up by limiting your spending on small stuff (watching Netflix instead of going out, curbing your Starbucks habits and so on). These changes will hardly affect your quality of life, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some wedding essentials.

3. Forgetting to Keep Track of How Much You've Spent

  • You've established your budget, but you have to spend the next few months keeping track and allocating your funds. Follow these four points to make sure your spending is where it should be.

  • Knowing all the costs up front will guarantee that your budget can actually cover it all. Research potential hidden fees that can add up over time. If you account for budget overages, then you never actually blow your budget. Try to earmark 5% of your budget for unforeseen costs. Here are three areas where you might go over: flowers (a last-minute realization that something previously unconsidered needs to be decorated, or a request that an additional family member wear a boutonniere or corsage); weather-related expenses (umbrellas for a rainy day, space heaters for an unseasonably cool day or additional shade for a particularly hot or humid one); and small accidents (gown needs last-minute spot removal, something breaks in the days before the ceremony or menus get damp and need to get reprinted).

  • Take advantage of budgeting and money management tricks along the way. Put all your wedding money in one separate account, so you can easily track additions and withdrawals without getting it confused with the rest of your day-to-day funds. Pay for as many of your expenses as possible on a credit card that gives you benefits like mileage, rewards or cash back. Make sure everyone making purchases (your partner, mom and so on) is all on the same card system, allowing you to benefit from the rewards and also from the easy tracking of your purchases. To avoid credit card fees, pay the bill off in full each month.

4. Not Saving Where You Can

  • Whatever your budget, you don't have to resort to DIY bouquets to come in on target. Follow these 11 tips to having a chic wedding without sacrificing one iota of style.

  • Pick your top three priorities and allocate a little extra money for them (like your gown, catering and band). Next, pick the three things that come lowest on your priority list (maybe flowers, cake and invitations), and budget accordingly.

  • We know it's tough, but one of the fastest and most effective ways to lower your wedding cost is to pare down the invitees. Get out that red pen! At $100 a head, taking 10 guests off the guest list saves $1,000. Also consider the size of your wedding party: Gifts and transportation are cheaper for two than for ten.

  • Glamorous details on items you're indifferent about spike costs without adding any fun to your day. Free yourself of the pressure to upgrade and instead make honest choices based on what you want. As a general rule, before you sign a contract, look through the itemized list of what you're buying and ask yourself, "Will anyone notice if we don't do this?"

  • Reduce the number of overall dinner courses (making three courses fabulous costs less than serving five individual courses) and keep your menu simple. Stick with the specialties of the season and region.

  • Have the caterers bring out the fancy Dom Perignon for the toast, but pour a less expensive champagne the rest of the night—no one will know the difference.

  • Order a small, fabulous wedding cake that's exactly what you want and, in the kitchen, have several sheet cakes of the same flavor cut for your guests. And stay away from tiers and (time-consuming) handmade sugar flowers, fancy fillings and special molded shapes. Have your caterer decorate each plate with a flavored sauce instead. Buttercream frosting is also tastier and less expensive than fondant.

  • As mentioned above, it's easy to oversimplify some of the financial aspects of a wedding. To stay on top of your wedding budget, you have to be realistic about what each element generally costs. Once you know this, it's easier to allocate funds from your budget. 

  • There's a lot to keep track of when it comes to wedding budget planning, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Follow our tips above and you will be more equipped to stay within your means. 

The Biggest Wedding Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

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Whether you have $100,000, $10,000 or $1,000 to spend, here's how to budget for your wedding the right way.

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"Expensive" and "stressful" might be two things that come to mind when you think of wedding budget planning, but they don't have to be. Below, we share the biggest budgeting mistakes you should avoid in order to make your wedding planning process as fun and cost-efficient as possible. We also break down exactly how much each wedding element generally costs to help you determine how much to allocate for each item and service. Once you have an idea of how to properly divide funds, you'll be able to avoid potential budgeting mistakes. 

1. Not Determining Who's Paying for What

  • Ask both of your folks if they're planning to contribute to the cost of the wedding. If so, have them commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget. Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding (such as the ceremony, honeymoon or catering) instead of just committing to a dollar amount. Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding.