Budgeting for a $15,000 Wedding

Dear Tinka,

I am having some trouble managing my budget for my May wedding. My fiance and I are always fighting about how much money I spend. Our budget of $15,000 is quickly drying up, and I am beginning to panic! I am almost ready to reschedule the date so we’ll have more time and more money. Any tips?

Stressed-out Bride named Olivia



First of all, take a breath. This is a very common problem that brides have when planning their big day. I suggest that you and your fiance sit down and focus on the things that are most important to you on your wedding day– what you will remember for years to come. It could be having great pictures and an amazing DJ. Then, you need to think about what is not so important. Is it THAT important that you get expensive centerpieces? Then, write down a budget and STICK TO IT! Write down what you have already and what you still need. Remember– you don’t want to start your life together fighting and broke! If you need more tips, visit our article Money-Smart Wedding Planning.


  1. The very first step to wedding planning is sitting down together and make a list of all the elements of a typical wedding. Then decide what things are priorities – and list them in order of importance — and agree on them. For instance, it might be (1) photographer (there are no do-overs in wedding photos!) (2) venue (3) flowers (4) liquor (5) food (6) music/entertainment.. Now, do some research and find out how much these things will realistically cost . Then, take your $15,000 budget and see how far it will go given what each item will cost. If you don’t have enough to pay for things that are critical to you, decide what things you can do yourself. For example, preparing your own floral arrangements is very doable if you’re determined. Preparing some or all of the food is doable, too. You might want to check my book “How to Have a $30,000 Wedding for Less Than $10,000, available at http://www.budgetweddingsite.com, for details how to do these things. I hosted my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding at the best venue in town – and it was elegant and lovely – for $9,400. It can be done — and you can do it! You just need a guide to tell you how.

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