Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget Planning for a Scottish theme wedding:
  • What can you afford
  • Who’s Paying for the wedding and how
  • Why budget
  • Budget Breakdown by categories

Each of us has a budget, whether it’s vast or meager, whether we acknowledge it or not. Either you control the budget or it controls you.

In 2005, the average cost for
a wedding in the US was $26,327

What if you didn’t figure out your wedding budget and bought an $8,000 wedding gown? What if the money you have to spend on your wedding is $9,000. Are you going to forego a cake, or flowers, or invitations? Everything you and the groom are going to wear usually figures 10% of the expense. So are you going to have an $80,000 wedding or a naked groom?

If you don’t figure a wedding budget as you plan your Scottish theme wedding, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, your groom, and all parents involved. If you won’t budget now, you won’t budget within your marriage either. And the number one cause for divorce is financial problems and stress.

Start out on the right foot. Set your marriage on a good, firm, foundation. Plan a wedding budget together…then make it work.

If you take the time to learn how to make a wedding budget, you can accomplish more and have a nicer wedding, with a lot less stress.

  • If you understand your options and resources then you’ll feel confident and comfortable with your decisions, as you develop a plan for your Scottish wedding theme.
  • You can squeeze the best wedding possible into your wedding budget.
  • And there’s always those last minute surprises that creep in and play havoc with your plans…unless you’ve budgeted for them.

Who's Paying For All This?

Even if one or both sets of parents are willing to foot the bill, there are questions to be answered before you accept their offer. Can they really afford it? Are they dipping into their life savings to give you everything you’ve always wanted?

In the last few years, the retirement funds of many couples have disappeared. There are couples working into their late 60’s and even their 70’s, in hopes of recouping their losses and re-building their ‘nest egg’.

Find out the exact sources for any money they are offering. Ask where that money fits into their retirement plans. Then, as part of your Scottish wedding plan, step back and do some thinking.

  • How Much Interest Will Be Lost?Let’s say your parents take $20,000 from their retirement fund or savings for your wedding budget. Over the next 20 years, with compound interest of 10%, they will have given up $32,891 in interest. Added to the principal, that’s $52,891 that would have been in their retirement fund.

    About the time they’re retiring, you’ll have children heading to college, or planning weddings of their own. What if your parents are short the amount they spent on your wedding budget and can't retire?

    Do you want to also be helping Mom and Dad just get by? At today’s prices, $52,000 would pay for 13 months in a nursing home for one parent, figured at $4,000 per month.

  • Don’t Even Consider a Home Equity LoanYou also need to apply the same type of thinking to a home equity loan to pay for your wedding budget. Many lenders have no scruples about lending more money than the selling price for a home.

    That’s called being ‘upside down’ on your mortgage. I’ve seen too many people have to forfeit on their mortgage and lose their home, or bring $10,000 plus to the closing when they sell their home.

    You simply must weigh your options. Parents are parents, and they’ll give you just about anything you ask for.

    Which is more important, a big posh wedding budget at your parents’ expense or financial responsibility? Do you really have the right to hit them up for a typical American wedding, if they can’t afford it?

  • Thinking About a Credit Card Wedding?If you’re thinking of running your credit cards up to the max to pay for your wedding, again, stop…and think it through. How long would it take you to pay off even $10,000, making minimum payments? How much interest would accrue? How much could you be putting toward your own retirement fund, or a college fund for your children ~ if you didn’t have those monthly payments?

    Or bringing it closer to today, how much sooner could you buy your first home, if you didn’t have those monthly credit card bills?

  • Add the Experience to Your Resume

    Another advantage to planning a wedding budget is that you can add the experience to your resume skill sheet.

    Any employer will be impressed if they see that you planned a wedding budget and carried it through successfully. If you come in below budget, state exactly how much. Don’t say 5 to 10% - be specific. State 7.6%.

    Emphasize how you still had your important extras and fulfilled your wedding dreams, while entering into marriage with minimal debt, or none.

    Point out that you are now able to work toward a home, retirement, savings for yourselves, or a college fund for your children ~ not just servicing credit card debt. That’s impressive!

A wedding budget is sometimes hard to divide into categories. Here is an average breakdown to use as a guide in planning your budget.

A Scottish wedding is going to cost more in some areas and less in others. The groom’s formal wear may be a higher percentage, especially if he opts to purchase his kilt and accessories. Just the purchase of the few needed accessories is going to increase his percentage.

Your printed program may cost quite a bit more. If you hire a graphic designer to create a personal Celtic knot for your new family, you’ve increased your program cost.

But this design can be used throughout your wedding theme with printing, stenciling, or embroidery work. You might embellish your invitations, napkins, altar cloth, banners or pennants, reception table runners, the wedding cake, your wedding website, even your wedding dress with this same Celtic knot.

As the Bride’s pages are built, you’ll find information about doing your own make-up and hair styling tips.

How you select and negotiate with your photographer can greatly reduce this percentage. This is one of the points detailed in Stephi Stewart’s Fire Your Wedding Planner.

A video of your wedding has become a standard item. This cost can be reduced if a friend or family member does the filming. If you can select someone who has some artistic talent, your video can be as good as one produced professionally.

The wedding reception cost can vary greatly between a formal wedding with lots of guests and a small family affair.

If you chose to have a Scottish influence in your reception, it will probably be more of a family affair, with friends, aunts, and cousins helping to prepare and serve the food and beverages. This could eliminate the bartending and bar set-up fee, corkage fee, fee to pour coffee, service providers’ meals, and their gratuities.

The sight you select for your wedding reception venue will determine the valet and parking fees.

Fresh flowers vs. silk flowers is another option that will affect your over-all budget. You can combine the two, adding dried flowers as well, to help control your budget.

To have a sprig of white heather for you and the groom will increase your cost. But this is an important tradition. To offset this expense, there are beautiful silk thistles in varying sizes that will add a ‘special’ touch while reducing your fresh flower expense.

Preserved rose petals, that you allow to freshen when needed, can decrease your flower expense.

Adding ribbon, bows, and tulle to any arrangement will fluff it out, give a bigger bang, and decrease your cost.

How many floral arrangements you have for the reception tables can quickly add to your budget. Using the same arrangements for the ceremony and the reception can decrease what you spend on flowers.

An outdoor wedding might be more expensive, if you have to allow for bad weather, or provide lighting for an evening celebration.

Remember, anything you can do for yourself greatly reduces the cost. You can take short courses in many crafts at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. The cost of the course may well offset what you would pay for someone else to complete the project for you. Some courses they offer are Donna Dewberry’s One-Step Painting, stenciling, scrapbooking, and stamping.

Use the guideline below while working out your wedding budget. Remember each division is flexible. You control where your money will be spent. When one area goes up due to finding something that’s just the ‘right touch’, find another area where you can cut your expenses.

Total Wedding Budget

Site Fee
Officiant Fee
Guest Book, pen, penholder
Ring Bearer pillow
Flower Girl basket

Wedding Attire10%
Bridal Gown
Groom’s Formal Wear

Bride & Groom album
Parents’ albums
Extra prints
Engagement photo
Formal bridal portrait

Master video
Extra hours
Photo montage
Extra copies

Paper Goods4%
Response cards
Reception Cards
Pew Cards
Rain Cards
Ceremony programs
Reception seating place cards
Thank you cards

Site fee
Hors d’oeuvres
Main meal and caterer
Liquor and beverages
Bartending and bar set-up fee
Corkage fee
Fee to pour beverages
Service providers’ meals
Party favors
Rose petals, rice, confetti
Parking fee and valet service


Wedding cake
Groom’s Cake
Cake delivery and set-up fee
Cake cutting fee
Cake top, knife, server
Toasting glasses

Maid of Honor
Floral Headpieces
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl
Bride’s going away
Other family members
Other family members
Ceremony site flowers
Main altar
Altar candelabra
Aisle pews
Reception site flowers
Head table
Guest tables
Buffet table
Beverage table
Cake table
Cake decoration
Cake knife
Toasting glasses
Floral delivery and set up fee

Table centerpieces
Wedding Card Box
Wishing Well
Dove release


Bride’s slip
Ceremony accessories
Tent or canopy
Dance floor
Tables and chairs
Linens and tableware
Heaters, lanterns, generator

Bride and groom gifts
Attendant gifts

Bridesmaids luncheon
Rehearsal dinner

Newspaper announcements
Marriage license
Prenuptial agreement
Gown and bouquet preservation
Wedding consultant
Wedding planning software
Wedding website

It may sound boring, but planning a wedding budget can be challenging. It’s an opportunity to work together. More importantly, it’s a shard skill you can carry over into your marriage. So get a wedding budget mindset, set a time, and get it done!

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