Let’s face it. Planning a wedding can be challenging. Before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, there are a lot of decisions to be made. When our couples reach out to us, many of them pose the same questions about how to successfully budget for entertainment.
With many options, ranging from string ensembles and wedding bands to DJs and photo booths, there’s certainly a wide range when it comes to pricing. To make things even more confusing, the answer to each question posed can differ for each couple. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help provide yourself with some valuable insight. One of the more important tasks is setting an overall wedding budget. Once you’ve done this, you can break it down even further by splitting the budget into different categories.
Determining what you need for your wedding will help you determine your categories. Below, you’ll find the ones that are most common. Keep in mind, that yours may differ. However, it’s easiest to start with a general idea of what you think you’ll need and then revise your list as you gather more information. Here is a good place to start:
- Venue (room rental fees, chairs, tables, linens, staff, etc.)
- Entertainment (live music, DJs, photo booths, etc.)
- Decor (centerpieces, flowers, lighting, etc.)
You can choose to allocate funds in two different ways. You can designate a specific dollar amount for each category or you can designate a specific percentage of your budget. Designating a dollar amount is easiest when you have quotes from prospective vendors. If you don’t have them yet, that’s okay! Estimating that you don’t want to spend more than, say…a quarter of your budget on catering can still help you determine a tentative dollar amount.
Let’s say your entire wedding budget is $30,000. Think about which categories are most important to you and organize your list from most to least important. Let’s say this is what you’ve decided:
Now you’re ready to break it down into percentages. Perhaps your list looks a little like this:
- Venue – 30%
- Catering – 25%
- Entertainment – 20%
- Photography/Videography – 10%
- Decor – 10%
- Alcohol/Beverages – 5%
Again, this doesn’t have to be perfect! If you don’t yet have vendor quotes, you’re bound to need to make adjustments. Just don’t let it keep you from moving forward. Remember that this exercise is meant to be a starting point for those who are seeking a bit of guidance. You can always add or remove categories and make additional changes.
Now that you know your budget and how much of it you’d like to spend on each category, you can convert your percentages into dollar amounts.
- Venue – $9,000.00
- Catering – $7,500.00
- Entertainment – $6,000.00
- Photography/Videography – $3,000
- Decor – $3,000.00
- Alcohol/Beverages – $1,500.00
And just like that, you now have an estimated budget for each category of your wedding and you’re ready to look for vendors that are within or close to your desired price range! Even better, if you notice that you’ve got more money than needed in certain categories, you can move the extra funds into different categories where they may be more useful. We’d also strongly recommend allocating funds to a “miscellaneous” category. This way, you can account for unexpected expenses that are likely to pop up.
Hopefully, this is a helpful starting point when it comes to budgeting. The biggest thing to remember is not to let it overwhelm you. Yes, there are a lot of decisions to be made, but breaking things down will always help. You’ll find the rest will flow more easily and you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time!