Tips for Keeping Your Wedding Budget Under Control

Financial experts give you advice on how to fight the battle between want and wallet.

Wedding fund photo via Shutterstock

Wedding fund photo via Shutterstock

Don’t want your wedding budget to become your ball and chain? Then you should probably show it some respect.

We asked Jon Lal, Boston-based founder/CEO of, and Marion Colombo, president of retail for TD Bank’s Boston market, for their tips on keeping your wedding bill from becoming the most annoying guest at the reception.

Make a Budget Together: You agreed to get married. So now you should agree on a budget that makes that day happen. Once you find a number for each item, you each should have a copy of the budget easily accessible.

Plan in Advance: The easiest way to get in trouble with a wedding budget is to plan at the last minute (or not plan at all!). Weddings can have a seemingly infinite number of financial components, and there’s no way you’ll account for all of them if you don’t plan far in advance and prioritize what’s most important to you and your SO.

Give Yourself Some Leeway: Things happen, so add in a cushion to your budget—shoot for 10 percent—to account for unexpected expenses. However, if new expenses do arise, try to shave off that amount elsewhere in your budget.

Look for Bargains: Consider a nontraditional day or time to save money. You’ll pay big bucks for a Saturday ceremony in the summer or fall, so consider a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon. Or plan your wedding during the “off-season.” A winter or spring wedding in New England makes for an easy theme and décor because it’’s already unique and unexpected.

Prioritize: Choose two or three features of the wedding as your highest priorities—food, cocktails, or venue, for example. Apply more of your spending toward these, and find frugal alternatives for lower-priority items—or skip them altogether. Ask yourself: Do you really need those monogrammed favors?

Try a Reloadable Prepaid Card: It might sound a bit strange, but using a prepaid card can be a great way to keep yourself honest and stick to a budget when planning for a big event like a wedding. By loading set amounts of money onto the card and only using it for all wedding-related purchases, you can constantly and easily be aware of how much you’ve spent—and how much you have left in your budget.

Take Advantage of Your Network: Chances are, you’re not the first person you know to plan a wedding. So don’t be shy! Ask your network about the biggest financial challenges they faced in the process and the tips and tricks they discovered.


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